Stanley 750 Chisel Usage - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 40 Old 01-31-2013, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
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Stanley 750 Chisel Usage

Hello,

I'm self taught and making my first workbench.

I bought the 8 piece set of Stanley 750s this past week. They arrived yesterday, and I went to work sharpening. I figured these chisels are very similar to Lie Nielsen chisels, so I watched their sharpening video and used it as a guide:

Let's see... I have three water stones. A 1000/6000 combination stone, and some blue stone I bought at a hardware store. Not sure what the grit is on that stone, but probably pretty rough, like 400 or 200. I also have a diamond plate that I use to flatten my stones. I don't have slabs of granite laying around, or sheets of glass I can spare, so I just make do with these three.

I also have the honing guide they use in the video and a protractor.

I started on my 1" chisel, but I found it was too big for the benchdog holes I'm cutting in my 2x4s for my new workbench, so I switched to the 3/4" chisel.

I spent about 2 hours alternating between the rough blue stone, and my 1000/6000 stone. I tried to flatten the back:



Eventually I gave up and called it "done" because it was taking so long. As you can see, the scratch pattern isn't even, and I'm not sure I would call the blade polished. You can see the machining marks all along the blade still.

Then I put a secondary bevel on the tip of the chisel:



The weird thing about this is the near corner. Clearly it had a good bit less material there. Or else I screwed up it's orientation in the roller jig. I ground it down enough on the blue stone so that there was at least some polish in that corner, but I didn't take the time to make it even.

Here's my first couple of attempts removing the waste from my benchdog holes:





Definitely not as flat as a plane or hand router. You can see a large chunk removed by accident in the second photo. Maybe that had something to do with the chisel angle. I'm not sure.

This is my first time using chisels like this for woodworking. Is this good work? These cuts are across the grain, so I doubt I should expect too much.

If not good work, what should I be seeing? Finally, if not good work, is this a problem with my technique, or with the half ass sharpening job I did on the chisel?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 40 Old 01-31-2013, 02:16 PM
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re flatness of the back. only the last 1/2 inch or so (near the bevel) should be flat. the rest can be flattened if and when the chisel gets short enough for that part of the back to come into play.

re the cleanliness of the groove floor. with pine, it is so soft and the fibers as loosely enough bound that tear out is very easy. the sharper the chisel the better in that case.

when cleaning like that, i try to have the chisel as parallel as possible to the surface i'm trying to clean up, with the flat part of the chisel basically riding on the surface. if that is not possible, you can flip the chisel over and ride the beveled edge on the surface and use the angle of the the handle to control the cut as you slide it back and forth across the wood.

so, i would say to really learn how to get your chisels as sharp as possible, and then play with both techniques on a few scrap pieces to get a feel for how they behave and which would better on your case.

i just got a honing guide for $11 from amazon, and in the first night, i was able to make my chisels and plane irone so much sharper than before that i cannot believe i waited so long to get one.

Last edited by Chris Curl; 01-31-2013 at 02:20 PM.
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post #3 of 40 Old 01-31-2013, 02:19 PM
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oh, and if you are doing it with the flat side down, if it is not parallel to the surface, it can easily go in too far and result in taking out chunks like you have in your 2nd pic. especially with something soft like pine
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post #4 of 40 Old 01-31-2013, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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Are you saying that after all of that wet stone work, my chisel isn't sharp?
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post #5 of 40 Old 01-31-2013, 05:22 PM
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i was not accusing you of anything. i was merely saying that the chisels being sharp is the single most important factor.

you said yourself, "The weird thing about this is the near corner. Clearly it had a good bit less material there. Or else I screwed up it's orientation in the roller jig. I ground it down enough on the blue stone so that there was at least some polish in that corner, but I didn't take the time to make it even."

there is also the question of if there was a burr, did you remove it?

so, maybe it is not as sharp as it could be ... ?

in your estimation, how sharp did you get the chisel?
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post #6 of 40 Old 01-31-2013, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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So, you don't see anything obvious from the photos, except that the chip that came out was probably due to incorrect chisel angle. I'll keep that in mind.
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post #7 of 40 Old 01-31-2013, 09:29 PM
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No need to be snide. If you bought Stanley thinking you would get lie-nielsen, no one else is to blame.
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post #8 of 40 Old 01-31-2013, 09:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trevarthan View Post
So, you don't see anything obvious from the photos, except that the chip that came out was probably due to incorrect chisel angle. I'll keep that in mind.
no, nothing else.

try this experiment: after sharpening a chisel (or plane iron), see if you can use it to shave a little of the hair off your arm. if you can, then it is sharp enough.

if not, then keep working on it.

sean, don't knock the stanley 750 chisels .. they are regarded as some of the best vintage chisels you can get.

that said, they do often require a good bit of work to get them ready to use.

the ready to use aspect of the lie-nielsens is what makes them cost more, not how sharp you can get them

Last edited by Chris Curl; 01-31-2013 at 09:49 PM. Reason: typos
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post #9 of 40 Old 01-31-2013, 10:18 PM
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I'm not knocking them. I've never used them. I think he is talking about new chisels, and I got the impression that the whole point of the thread was to knock the Stanley 750s and not really to get any help with sharpening them.

I am probably wrong and will just keep myself to myself for now.
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post #10 of 40 Old 01-31-2013, 10:26 PM
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Trevarthan, Ideally you want the secondary bevel even across the chisel. What matters most is that it is sharp. I personally use a guide but I know people who sharpen freehand and get their chisels as sharp as any. More critical is practice. Do not expect your first cuts you ever made to be perfect. It's all about technique and practicing proper technique. You will improve with practice. Look into a local woodworking club and perhaps you can find someone willing to spend some time with you to hone your skills (pardon the pun).
Aside from all that, take your time and remove small amounts of wood and sneak up on your cut when working with a chisel.

Those who say it cannot be done should stay out of the way of the people doing it.
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post #11 of 40 Old 01-31-2013, 10:33 PM
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Sean, What did good woodworkers use before Lie Nielsen was born? As long as the steel can hold an edge and is sharp enough I doubt you could tell what kind of tools a craftsman owns looking at his work. So what I'm trying to say is it doesn't matter. Lie Nielsen puts more effort in finish than mass produced tools. So if you buy a set of Stanley 750's or Narex or Marples etc. you may spend a little more time flattening the back and grinding and honing but in the end it's the result that counts. Not everyone can afford the "better" brands so please don't dismiss what can be a very serviceable tool based esoteric criteria. We've all fallen into that trap at one time or another, myself included.

Those who say it cannot be done should stay out of the way of the people doing it.
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post #12 of 40 Old 01-31-2013, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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SeanStuart, you have the wrong impression. I own Lie Nielsen planes. I didn't buy them because I think they're the best. I bought them because I wanted something that mostly worked out of the box. I did the same thing with my first motorcycle. I bought a new machine so I could focus on learning to ride. It's a pretty good policy, I think, when going into new territory. Limit the variables. For my next motorcycle, I plan to buy a beater and fix it up.

I bought the Stanley 750s because they got good reviews. I already own Lie Nielsen planes and I figure a chisel is just a big fat plane iron you hit with a hammer. I don't wish I bought Lie Nielsen chisels instead. If I wanted Lie Nielsens I would have just bought them. I figure the Stanleys are good tools and should do the job nicely for a long time to come.

Frankly, if Stanley made their planes with the same quality as the 750 chisels these days, I would have bought Stanley planes instead of the Lie Nielsen planes. I think the Lie Nielsens are overpriced. They're excellent, but they're unnecessarily excellent. Still, you'll have to pry the LN planes from my cold dead fingers, yo. I paid for them and they're mine and I'll use 'em as long as I can.

Anyway... this thread is about not knowing what a properly cut chisel line should look like. If it should look better than mine... is it my technique, or is it my sharpening? I can always do both better. I know that. They question is ... do I need to?

Chris, thanks for the shaving a hair trick. That's a good tip. I'm listening, I promise. I just get frustrated when people ask questions without making statements. It makes me wonder if I should trust them, because they're not really giving me any evidence that they know what they're talking about first.

For the record, I went back and resharpened the chisel. It was a little dull after cutting four or five bench dogs. It did not cut noticeably better after I sharpened it. Also, despite my best efforts, I still ripped chunks out here and there. Maybe that's technique. Maybe it's because the chisel isn't as flat as it needs to be. Maybe that's just how chisels work. This is what I'm trying to determine.

BTW, Sharp is different from Flat. Everyone is telling me to sharpen. Nobody has told me to flatten. It has me wondering if flatness really matters as much as everyone says it does in these sharpening videos.

I finished off the rest of the bench dog holes on that sharpening. The chisel needs sharpening again, but I don't have any more chiseling to do, so I just put it back in the pouch.

Anyway... if anyone can look at those photos and tell me, "Jesse, I know you're cutting pine cross grain, but those cuts look like crap and when I do it they look like this:"

(Except maybe include a real photo of chiseled wood)

THEN I'll happily try to figure out what I'm doing wrong. But nobody has said that yet, so I'm thinking these cuts are pretty standard and that's just as good as it gets with a chisel. Amirite?
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post #13 of 40 Old 02-01-2013, 12:01 AM
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Wood cut with a chisel should be smooth even when cut across the grain. If I have some time tomorrow I'll try to duplicate your cut and post a photo.

Those who say it cannot be done should stay out of the way of the people doing it.
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post #14 of 40 Old 02-01-2013, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
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Arg. Ok. I guess I'm doing something wrong then. :-/
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post #15 of 40 Old 02-01-2013, 12:58 AM
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Trevarthan, you didn't really say exactly how you were removing the waste from the dog holes (or I didn't see it). When removing a lot of material, you can start by really hogging the material out, but when you get close to your final depth, you want the back of the chisel almost flat on the surface and remove very thin shavings, almost like you would with a smoothing plane. The pictures look to me like you were taking a thick cut and you got some chunks with it.

As to sharpening and your micro-bevel -you really want to focus on keeping that consistent across the width of the blade. Some tips - Check and recheck that the chisel is square in the guide, many guides are great for plane blades but don't all hold a chisel as well. Keep pressure even on the blade when sharpening. Work the blade over the whole surface of the stone from side to side when sharpening to prevent uneven wearing of your water stones. It's possible that if you spent a lot of time sharpening the chisels that you could have worn some unevenness into the water stone causing the uneven bevel. Do a quick check and re-flatten your water stone if necessary. Finally, put away that course stone. It really shouldn't be needed unless you need to remove chips in the blade or need to re-establish/change the bevel of a blade.

Hope some of this is helpful.

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post #16 of 40 Old 02-01-2013, 01:13 AM
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Another thought that will help you when removing large amounts of wood like you are doing for your bench dog holes. Rather than just making a cut on both outside edges of the dado, make as many saw cuts through the waste area as you can. This will not only make it much easier to chisel out, it will also lessen the chances of "chunking" out pieces when removing all that waste.

"Good Behavior is the last refuge of mediocrity" -- Henry S. Haskins
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post #17 of 40 Old 02-01-2013, 01:31 AM
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you are right: sharp is different than flat. the reason why the back needs to be flat is that if it is not, then the cutting edge will not be uniform; some spots will be duller than other spots.

but again, the only part of the back that needs to be flat is that part near the cutting edge.
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post #18 of 40 Old 02-01-2013, 08:29 AM Thread Starter
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Tim, it's possible the sharpening jig I'm using is putting the chisel at an angle. It looks like it is cast. Maybe the tolerances aren't great. When I insert it, the chisel seats well on one jaw, but poorly on the other. I can tell because there is a lot of air gap on one side but not the other. I DID check to make sure the chisel was firmly seated in the jaws though. There is some overhang on each jaw and it grabs the chisel on both sides.

I did sharpen one other chisel with this jig and I don't think the edge was as crooked. I'll re-check and see if it's the jig or the chisel. My money is on the chisel. I actually had the same thing happen (a corner being low, not the jig fitment issue) with a (gasp) Lie Nielsen plane blade right out of the box. Apparently it's more difficult to make precision metal parts than people would have you believe.

BTW, I can make very fine shavings when trimming the walls that I originally cut with the saw. However, when I try to make fine shavings on the bottom where I'm removing material, the fibers just sort of flake off in chunks.

My technique was to remove the material in thirds. I started with the bevel toward the bottom of the dog hole. Then, on the third cut (the thinnest, maybe a quarter of an inch thick) I flipped the chisel to have the bevel up, away from the bottom. I found pretty quickly that I had to be careful of the angle of the chisel. Too far to one side and I would dig into the bottom of the dog hole. Too far the other way and I wouldn't remove much material. Still, fine cutting usually just loosened fibers, rather than shaving off material.
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post #19 of 40 Old 02-01-2013, 09:39 AM
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i still think that is pretty much par for the course with the soft woods like pine. hopefully woodenhorse will chime in some more and tell us how he does it.
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post #20 of 40 Old 02-01-2013, 10:19 AM Thread Starter
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Fair enough. I'm interested in photos too.
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