Cheap Chisels - Worth the Effort? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-18-2012, 07:33 AM Thread Starter
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Cheap Chisels - Worth the Effort?

Today is sharpening day at the workshop and all the table saw/radial-arm saw/cut-off saw blades go for sharpening. On my way back I noticed a new store that sells salvaged tools and such, mostly Chinese not-so-great quality.

Inside I found a set of cheap chisels which I bought. I figured my young apprentice could make use of them rather than my loved set. But these are really awful, but I figured maybe this could be a learning opportunity for me as well since I know nothing about metal working.

I'm pretty sure I could clean them up, and sharpen them, but don't know if they would hold their edge. Would they need to be heat treated somehow? Would appreciate any advice at all.





Apologies for the slightly blurred pictures, used my Nokia cell phone.
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post #2 of 7 Old 07-18-2012, 11:10 AM
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Why not wait to ask this question after you have tried the chisels? You may find that they hold an edge better than you think they will.

George
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post #3 of 7 Old 07-18-2012, 11:38 AM
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I think you've answered a lot of your own question since you bought them. I say give them a try. If your apprentice has to sharpen them a lot that just means he's (or she's) going to get good at sharpening and knowing a sharp or dull chisel. Good info for a young padwan.
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post #4 of 7 Old 07-18-2012, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACP View Post
I think you've answered a lot of your own question since you bought them. I say give them a try. If your apprentice has to sharpen them a lot that just means he's (or she's) going to get good at sharpening and knowing a sharp or dull chisel. Good info for a young padwan.
I agree! This is a win-win for you and your appr. Have him/her hone the chisels (good 1st step) and use them. If they don't hold their edge so what? Your appr will learn to hone those chisels quickley and touch them up often and (drum roll please) learn to appreciate a fine hand tool.
You will have saved some $$$ and will have fulfilled your function as a mentor by teaching a very valuable skill and a most needed life lesson. Congrats to you!
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post #5 of 7 Old 07-20-2012, 09:43 AM
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You can forget about trying to harden them. I've tried that before and it doesn't work. It has to do with the carbon content and matrix in the steel. Cheap tools tend to have low carbon and a very poor matrix.
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-21-2012, 05:25 AM Thread Starter
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thanks for the advice firemedic, on Friday we were going to try heat treat ourselves just to see if we could, but got distracted by other work. So far my apprentice has taken this project very seriously, he's ground, sanded, cleaned... the smallest chisel honestly looks as good as any chisel I've ever seen. Once he's done I'll post pics. Incidentally he also found some green timber he'd like to use as handles, and is planning a nice box to keep them in. Will post pics when he's done.
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post #7 of 7 Old 07-23-2012, 05:01 PM
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Speaking as a newbie myself id say any tools are useable tools of you are willing to work with em. I think your apprentice if very lucky to have you snag these for him, they may not last forever but he seems to appreciate them and is learning how to care and treat classic hand tools.

Bravo I say,
Andrew
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