Schaaf carving chisels - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 11-26-2019, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
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Schaaf carving chisels

Received my set today. Not sure I'm impressed. They have good reviews, some people even comparing them positively to brands like Pfeil, etc. $90 for the set of 12. I knew they'd need fettling to get going, which I don't mind. This is my first set of carving chisels, so the rules may be different.

The big thing bothering me here is how rough the back sides (opposite the bevels) is. Very rough ground (see picture). As with other tools, I assumed it is necessary for the back side to be smooth to obtain a good cutting edge.

Am I incorrect?

Also, how would I go about smoothing the back side (inside curve) of a curved gouge?
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-01-2019, 09:16 PM
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Hi Awesome,

Congratulations on finding a great set of tools on your first try. All too often beginners will buy their first set and end up with some really terrible tools. I actually have several sets of the Schaaf tools and love them. It is a relatively simple matter to smooth the edge area of the internal surface with curved edge slip stones and/or abrasive paper on a rounded stick. Many carvers advocate putting a small shallow internal bevel at the edge anyway. The whole internal surface need not be polished, just near the edge. I have restored many an old carving tool along with commissioning many new ones (over 250 total) and they all require some shaping and sharpening to perform their best. I have bought several other brands for much higher dollars and still had to work on them to get them ready for work. It is par for the course. Just watch a few videos on the subject, don't go crazy with the grinder, and have some fun with it. Don't forget to strop or buff them well to get that super sharp edge. After that it is only a matter stropping to keep that perfect edge. Schaaf does carry some professionally sharpened tools on their web page but I have found that you are the best judge of what works best for you, a great way to get to know your tools, and practice your sharpening skills. Have fun.
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Last edited by YME; 12-01-2019 at 09:20 PM.
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post #3 of 6 Old 12-01-2019, 10:11 PM
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Do not over heat the cutting edge, if it changes color it is shot. When sharpening with an electrical sharpener I will hold my finger really close to the cutting edge I am sharpening, if it gets too hot to hold my finger on it, I pull the tool away and let it cool.
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post #4 of 6 Old 12-02-2019, 09:26 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YME View Post
Hi Awesome,

Congratulations on finding a great set of tools on your first try. All too often beginners will buy their first set and end up with some really terrible tools. I actually have several sets of the Schaaf tools and love them. It is a relatively simple matter to smooth the edge area of the internal surface with curved edge slip stones and/or abrasive paper on a rounded stick. Many carvers advocate putting a small shallow internal bevel at the edge anyway. The whole internal surface need not be polished, just near the edge. I have restored many an old carving tool along with commissioning many new ones (over 250 total) and they all require some shaping and sharpening to perform their best. I have bought several other brands for much higher dollars and still had to work on them to get them ready for work. It is par for the course. Just watch a few videos on the subject, don't go crazy with the grinder, and have some fun with it. Don't forget to strop or buff them well to get that super sharp edge. After that it is only a matter stropping to keep that perfect edge. Schaaf does carry some professionally sharpened tools on their web page but I have found that you are the best judge of what works best for you, a great way to get to know your tools, and practice your sharpening skills. Have fun.
This assuages my fears a bit. Thank you. I will research proper stones for sharpening inside curves.

As with all my other hand tools, I much prefer to hand sharpen. My intention with all of my fine woodworking is to go without power, and that includes tool maintenance; so no grinders. I'm sure it'll take hours on each, but I'll just fettle them as I get to using them.
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post #5 of 6 Old 12-07-2019, 07:57 PM
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Hey again,
I found this YouTube video that will help you out. Having a professional carver like Alexander explain these tools and how to get them ready to work says a lot more than I ever could, Have fun.

]

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post #6 of 6 Old 12-11-2019, 11:49 AM Thread Starter
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Continuation: As I looked down the handles to the metal, I found that 3 of the 12 in my package were inserted crooked, left/right, to an uncomfortable degree. I didn't worry about the ones that were crooked up/down. I contacted the company with pictures and sizes and they sent me replacements for all 3. Great customer service!

As so many new hobbies go, I ended up buying a DMT 8000 grit sharpening stone, a pack of slipstones and a Flexcut slipstrop that supports a bunch of shapes. Of course it all cost more than the chisels themselves.

For my first tool, I sharpened what is probably the hardest chisel to sharpen in the pack, a large curved U gouge (7L 20mm). I like a challenge. I found it difficult to verify if the factory bevel is around 22.5deg, due to the fact the chisel is curved. I didn't concern myself much with the degrees, and just honed to the default bevel, and made sure that the edge is paper-cutting sharp on 1200 grit. (I don't have my 8000 stone yet, as I bought it while visiting family, and couldn't bring it back with me for now.)

Got it cutting through poplar without much difficulty, seeing as I have no experience relief carving. I know some of you are about to say "poplar isn't the best wood for carving; you should use basswood", but as I intend to take on carving as decorative addition to my furniture making, I need to learn to use the tools in woods that I will build with. That means poplar, oak, walnut, cherry, etc.

The steel feels good, and I didn't find any rolling or crumbling of the cutting edge in my short stint trying it out.
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