Hand Tools Archive

Re: I don't understand the experiment

David Weaver
hard maple 1 3/8 wide, 13/16" thick and then chopping a cross section 1" long.

In volume, I'd figure it's about equivalent to three half blinds, so the chopping numbers are not out of the realm of expectation.

I would normally hit chisels a little bit harder, but not too much harder.

The reasoning for the test is simple - if you are doing lots of hand work with chisels, chopping the waste out of half blinds will probably be one of the most intensive things that you'd do (mortises, of course, but we're not addressing mortise chisels because the sash mortise size chisels benefit from having steeper bevel to be able to rotate in shallow mortises).

One of the things that's often said is that people cannot efficiently waste half blinds. If you can do two things:
1) lower the effort that it takes to waste out a half blind in strikes
2) improve the behavior of the chisel so these strikes remain uniform and in this case, don't involve bouncing out of the end grain cuts (so that is no reason to pause cuts), then you may find that it's no faster to rout these out than it is to chop them out.

I'll explain this briefly in the article, but good behavior across the grain in any cut is a good thing, even if it's just things like pushing the marked line back less or making the small number of cuts that one would make trimming the remaining bits off of sawn dovetails.

I have no idea what warren will attest to, but one of the things that brings a hand tooler to not explore faster ways to remove waste is the ability to keep tool in hand working evenly and at rhythm.

Finally, if I propose a method of modifying edges that improves perceived sharpness, but increases effort to do a similar volume of work, that's a trade off. we don't want a trade off if we don't have to have one. If this method improves edge holding, shortens sharpening cycle time, makes good results easier to get and then results in less effort chiseling, then we have a unicorn instead of a different colored horse.

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