Hand Tools

Re: baseball and dovetails

Wiley Horne
Hi Eliot,

Sellers is doing fine. No anti-Sellers agenda here.

My hope is that you come out of this first-dovetails episode with solid progress under your belt. One piece of this progress will be a usable shooting board—this is going to happen, because you are determined enough to see it through. And a good thing.

The second thing you can achieve is chisel preparation. Your chisels are sharp enough to get the job done in oak. I suggest check the cutting angle, which will take about 10 seconds.

Why check cutting angle? In a word—penetration. A chisel can be sharp, but blunt enough that it resists penetration, leading the user to think ‘wow, oak is really hard work’. Sellers method will work, if your final angle is in the 30-33 degree range. Which is readily tested, by running the chisel bevel-down along your bench, and gradually raising the handle until it bites—what is that angle? If it’s 35 or more, you’ll be happier if you reduce that angle on your coarsest stone until it’s in the low 30’s. Then hone, taking care not to increase the angle.

Of course, the angle may test good as is!


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