Chisel bevel thickness - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 06-18-2019, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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Chisel bevel thickness

On most chisels I've seen, the bevel gets thicker the further back on the blade you go. (There are a few chisels I've seen where the bevel does not.)
1. Why is this?
2. Does this create any sort of issue down the road, as the chisel is worn back?


EDIT: I guess what I'm actually concerned about is called the "side land" (the vertical side edge), rather than the side bevel. Seems like it would eventually get in the way of paring dovetails.

Last edited by AwesomeOpossum74; 06-18-2019 at 03:42 PM. Reason: Change in wording/additional info
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post #2 of 17 Old 06-18-2019, 11:10 PM
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Yes, this can affect how it cleans up dovetails. Chisels specifically designed for dovetails maintain the fine edge much further. If you use a chisel enough for this to be a concern, you may want to look into buying chisels specifically for dovetails. I don't see why you couldn't modify a bench chisel by filing to extend the bevel to remove the flat vertical face. You don't want to use a grinder because you could destroy the temper of the steel. You might decide to buy a set of dovetail chisels about half way through though.

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post #3 of 17 Old 06-19-2019, 06:20 AM
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Unless they are in a production shop, how many people are ever going to sharpen a chisel so much that this becomes a problem?


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post #4 of 17 Old 06-19-2019, 06:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AwesomeOpossum74 View Post
1. Why is this?
2. Does this create any sort of issue down the road, as the chisel is worn back?
1. Less material taken off means less waste and less processing, as well as less consumables needed for processing. Thicker at the edges also means less chance of warping.
2. Not until you sharpen off 1" from the factory edge, and lets be honest, youve probably lost it by then. Besides, the thickness of the chisel increasing the further up you go will create more of an issue

Bout the only thing it really matters for is dovetails, as has already been mentioned. For a set of general-use bench chisels, personally i could care less what the side bevels look like, and i dont cut much in the way of dovetails, but i can see why people would pay attention to it. If you think it might be worth paying attention to, either look for a dovetail chisels or a manufacturer that makes "classic" bevel edge chisels like Narex. Or grind your own, whichever you prefer
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post #5 of 17 Old 06-19-2019, 09:19 AM Thread Starter
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JohnTC and epicfail48,


I think I'll be looking into dovetail chisels, then. Much of the woodworking I've done has involved dovetails, and my 1/2" bench chisel is already 1/2 shorter than its siblings. I'm already noticing that it can't get into the inner corners.
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post #6 of 17 Old 06-19-2019, 09:34 AM
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Why are you grinding your chisels down so much? You shouldn't lose 1/2" on a chisel in 100 years!! Maybe if you explained your sharpening technique?


Side bevel heights (SBH) vary among brands. You don't think you need to look for a "dovetail" chisel (whatever that is) -- any good quality chisel with a low SBH will fit the bill. I'm sure there are others but I recall only two: Lie Nielsen & Ashley Iles. On the more economical side, I have a set of Narex premium which have relatively low SBH's and do well with DT's. Be aware Narex has two lines of bench chisels. Be sure to specify "premium".


[EDIT] The Narex chisels you show in your intro post are not the premiums. The premiums to not have hoops on the handles. Here's a link to mine. The only issue I have with them is edge retention. Had to do over, I'd bite the bullet and get a set of LN's.



Fine Woodworking had an excellent review article on chisels several years ago which is very useful.

Last edited by DrRobert; 06-19-2019 at 09:48 AM.
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post #7 of 17 Old 06-19-2019, 06:57 PM
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Why are you grinding your chisels down so much? You shouldn't lose 1/2" on a chisel in 100 years!! Maybe if you explained your sharpening technique?
I agree with this statement, proper sharpening should only take off the barest hint of metal, so to take off a half an inch, it sounds like either your chisels are frequently getting chipped and have to br ground back, or something is wonky in your technique. Are you taking the chisels over to a grinder every time the edge needs a touch-up? That could be the issue

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post #8 of 17 Old 06-20-2019, 08:19 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by epicfail48 View Post
I agree with this statement, proper sharpening should only take off the barest hint of metal, so to take off a half an inch, it sounds like either your chisels are frequently getting chipped and have to br ground back, or something is wonky in your technique. Are you taking the chisels over to a grinder every time the edge needs a touch-up? That could be the issue
This is a good question.


- These are my first ever chisels. So there was some learning involved in sharpening. I started out using a honing guide, then learned freehand sharpening. When freehand sharpening, I would accidentally skew the chisel over a few sharpenings, and thought I needed to straighten it out, so out would come the guide and enough metal was removed to get rid of the skew. I'm now much better at sharpening overall, and generally only ever use the fine stone, and strop; a quick process. I still don't have perfect technique. My angle gets steeper with every sharpening, but I try to remain within the 25-30 degree zone. If it gets too steep, I feel like I need to "reset".



- They are Narex 8101 bench chisels. According to the Internet, Narex chisels are known for having soft/brittle tip for about the first 1/8" before you get to the good metal.
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post #9 of 17 Old 06-20-2019, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by AwesomeOpossum74 View Post
This is a good question.

- They are Narex 8101 bench chisels. According to the Internet, Narex chisels are known for having soft/brittle tip for about the first 1/8" before you get to the good metal.
I wouldn't be so sure about this. Its more typical the hardened part of the chisel may only extend back an inch or two. So if you've ground off a lot of metal, and you find the edge isn't holding, you have gone past the hardened edge and need to re-temper.


Like I said in the other post, the biggest negative for me with Narex is edge retention. That has to do with the steel and/or the degree of hardening. This is probably what they are referring to.




The only time I take a chisel to a grinder is to hollow grind the bevel, or correct damage.



I hear you on getting the edge out of square. This is usually the result of misaligning the chisel in the jig. But, I encourage you to try freehand sharpening. It is a worthwhile skill and not that hard to master.
Hope this helps.
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post #10 of 17 Old 06-20-2019, 10:28 AM
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Some people are just not as careful with chisels. The tool is used where ever needed. They hit nails with them or scrape a gasket off car parts with them. Then it's off to the grinder. If they don't mind resharpening them it's their choice.
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post #11 of 17 Old 06-20-2019, 10:41 AM Thread Starter
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I wouldn't be so sure about this. Its more typical the hardened part of the chisel may only extend back an inch or two. So if you've ground off a lot of metal, and you find the edge isn't holding, you have gone past the hardened edge and need to re-temper.

Like I said in the other post, the biggest negative for me with Narex is edge retention. That has to do with the steel and/or the degree of hardening. This is probably what they are referring to.

The only time I take a chisel to a grinder is to hollow grind the bevel, or correct damage.

I hear you on getting the edge out of square. This is usually the result of misaligning the chisel in the jig. But, I encourage you to try freehand sharpening. It is a worthwhile skill and not that hard to master.
Hope this helps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
Some people are just not as careful with chisels. The tool is used where ever needed. They hit nails with them or scrape a gasket off car parts with them. Then it's off to the grinder. If they don't mind resharpening them it's their choice.

I'm not grinding. I'm freehand sharpening on a flat stone. These chisels only touch wood. They don't get abused; no nails, no opening paint cans, no picking my teeth.


Maybe it does have something to do with temper, but that would be a manufacture issue, not one caused by my putting it to a grinder. When the chisel was new, I did have problems with chips in the edge when working with harder wood. But that hasn't been a problem lately.
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post #12 of 17 Old 06-20-2019, 01:37 PM
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I have had good luck with the Veritas Mk.II Deluxe Honing Guide Set. The set comes with holders for narrow (chisels) and standard (hand planes) blades, straight and camber rollers, and a setting guide (angle registration jig).

The parts are precision-made from metal. It makes setting the bevel angle very easy, consistent, and repeatable. I am not knocking freehand sharpening, but this set was the solution for me.

http://www.veritastools.com/Products/Page.aspx?p=144
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post #13 of 17 Old 06-20-2019, 03:48 PM
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We’re trying to help not criticize. We both assumed it was grinding because you said 1/2” shorter. That’s an awful lot of steel misssing for hand sharpening! It would be logical to assume the edge was damaged.

Back to the original question yes on most chisels the side bevel height gets thicker as you go up the shaft, but this should not normally be an issue because normally you wouldn’t be grinding a chisel back that much.

As already mentioned check into those Narex premiums and the other two brands I mentioned I’d you want a good dovetail chisel. The set you have now are usable not the best especially for narrow pins slots.
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post #14 of 17 Old 06-21-2019, 08:31 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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We’re trying to help not criticize. We both assumed it was grinding because you said 1/2” shorter. That’s an awful lot of steel misssing for hand sharpening! It would be logical to assume the edge was damaged.

Back to the original question yes on most chisels the side bevel height gets thicker as you go up the shaft, but this should not normally be an issue because normally you wouldn’t be grinding a chisel back that much.

As already mentioned check into those Narex premiums and the other two brands I mentioned I’d you want a good dovetail chisel. The set you have now are usable not the best especially for narrow pins slots.
Appreciated. Yeah, I'm not sure why so much steel may be missing, other than what I've already posted.


I'll look into the Narex premiums. Thank you.
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post #15 of 17 Old 06-22-2019, 08:58 AM
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I have been perfectly happy with the chisels sold occasionally at Aldi for around $7.00 for the set of four. Although the are in metric, the steel has proven to be quite good and holds an edge. Aldi only sells them about 3 times a year.

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post #16 of 17 Old 06-22-2019, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by gmercer_48083 View Post
I have been perfectly happy with the chisels sold occasionally at Aldi for around $7.00 for the set of four. Although the are in metric, the steel has proven to be quite good and holds an edge. Aldi only sells them about 3 times a year.
The last sale (around September 2018), I arrived early and stood in line, waiting for Aldi to open so I could get my own set of those legendary chisels. I bought several sets, donating one to our woodworking club auction, giving another to a friend, kept one for myself, kept another as a spare or thank-you gift, etc.

Unlike @gmercer_48083, I am NOT impressed with these chisels. The round grinding marks were all over them. They are not even or symmetrical, with one side bevel not as thick as the other side, for example. They were useful when I had to learn and demonstrate with an unfamiliar sharpening tool (the Sorby ProEdge). I didn't mind risking that $6.95 chisel set.

They are useful as "knock about" chisels where I might risk running into a nail, or want to bang too hard on them with a real steel hammer.

For real chisel work (whatever that means), I have two sets of Crown chisels - an older set in real imperial sizes and a new set in metric sizes.
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post #17 of 17 Old 06-22-2019, 09:57 AM
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types of chisels .....

Quote:
Originally Posted by AwesomeOpossum74 View Post
On most chisels I've seen, the bevel gets thicker the further back on the blade you go. (There are a few chisels I've seen where the bevel does not.)
1. Why is this?
2. Does this create any sort of issue down the road, as the chisel is worn back?


EDIT: I guess what I'm actually concerned about is called the "side land" (the vertical side edge), rather than the side bevel. Seems like it would eventually get in the way of paring dovetails.

As you probably know by now, there are bench chisels and mortising chisels and dovetail chisels..... they are slightly different.



This is a bench chisel and it has beveled edges up the sides:



This is a mortising chisel and it has square edges up the sides:




This is a dovetail chisel:




The answer to your question depends on the type of chisel you have. Mortising chisels are thicker and more robust because they are subject to prying forces. Dovetails chisels or thinner and lighter and used with more finness. Bench chisels are sorta in between for general purpose work. If your chisel is not suited for the task, it's better to get the correct type, than grind it excessively and possibly ruin it.
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The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 06-22-2019 at 10:03 AM.
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