Hand Tools Archive

Friction and surface finish *PIC*
Response To:
Re: Bill - Friction ()

David Weaver
this isn't really a question I need to answer - but the difference in slickness through the cut for the japanese chisel and the V11 chisel is noticeable. I was surprised by that.

I saw a study from japan (where stamping is concerned) that discussed sliding friction and said they found no difference between similar stainless and non-stainless steels (similar hardness, etc), but that surface finish could generate a large difference. That's not a surprise, but i don't know the context there.

If it is surface finish instead of alloy that creates the difference, it's true that both the japanese chisel and the V11 chisel sharpen more slowly (even on diamonds) than the other two chisels and the perception of edge fineness from them may be due to the fact that the surface finish is finer with the same abrasive.

It's less important why what "is, is", and from the perspective of mine as a tester, more important how stark the difference is after very careful setup of each chisel to count strokes on the diamond hone and check bevel size, etc for the microbevel. I went so far as to hollow grind the japanese chisel instead of leaving the bevel flat to make sure that the part of the chisel in the cut was the same.

This answers a question that I don't think is that important and if you're just focused on edge holding, you wouldn't care about. That is, if cheap chisels perform nearly the same as expensive ones on a test like this, is it worth it for the cost-no-object individual to buy a $113 with tax 1 inch chisel, or do something strange, like troll japan's version of ebay looking for just the right japanese chisel (this can be done on a much lower budget, but it takes time and there's some risk of getting junk).

The answer using one chisel right after another is that even with this neutralizing method, the sweetness in the cut of the V11 and japanese chisels is better. If you're just knocking out dovetails and listening to MLB or something, then this kind of sweetness may be of little interest.

Just for the purpose of this test, too, the LV and japanese chisels create those large leaves of maple more easily, and then the tendency to produce this:

is less. this is the remnants left on the board when a chisel either starts too steep or gets damaged. They fly, and they will literally hit every part of you, including the face. With the leaves, the chisel just stays in.

With ash, beech and good cherry, I think the leaves are always nicer, but with maple, they're not.

When you work only with hand tools, one of the things that you chase is getting the chisels to work just right, the same way that a double iron plane neatly ejects its payload while a single iron plane will clog and hopefully unclog on the next shaving - it's an issue of dominance for someone who may plane a few ten thousand feet in a given day.

I'll explain a conclusion of all of this in the article in far less detail, but it's simply this. The proportion of strikes probably tells about half the story. If one method, netural of edge damage, takes 20% more strikes, the trouble to do a set amount of work is probably double that more and not 20% because of all of the little nuances that occur when a tool isn't working quite as well.

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