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Flat chisels.

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Phil Pascoe

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I've just put an unused paring chisel on a piece of fine wet and dry on a length of plate glass to see whether it was flat or not, out of curiousity. Surprisingly it was absolutely perfect. The brand-------------Stormont- which ceased to trade in 1950! I wonder how many modern brands could say that?
 

Cheshirechappie

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It could be that a previous owner has done the job for you!

That said, I often hear that Ashley Isles bevel-edged chisels need very little work to flatten the back (face, whatever). They are ground by hand and eye at the factory to this day, so the 'old skills' are not totally forgotten....
 

Phil Pascoe

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Cheshirechappie":20uyzrt3 said:
It could be that a previous owner has done the job for you!

That said, I often hear that Ashley Isles bevel-edged chisels need very little work to flatten the back (face, whatever). They are ground by hand and eye at the factory to this day, so the 'old skills' are not totally forgotten....
No, it was put away new, for some reason; it hadn't even been honed!
 

Cheshirechappie

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phil.p":aek77hva said:
Sorry, I'm I.T. illiterate - I wouldn't know how to take a photo, let alone post it. I haven't a camera or even one on a 'phone.
Thank goodness - I'm not the only one!

I do have a camera, but it's an old fashioned steam driven one that doesn't produce pixels, and I'm damned if I'm going to shell out several hundred pounds for a digital camera and all the add-ons when in all probability it'll be obsolete in about a fortnight.
 

Jacob

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phil.p":amjnlm82 said:
I've just put an unused paring chisel on a piece of fine wet and dry on a length of plate glass to see whether it was flat or not, out of curiousity. Surprisingly it was absolutely perfect. The brand-------------Stormont- which ceased to trade in 1950! I wonder how many modern brands could say that?
I'd say most of them could say that.
I've never had this non-flat face problem on chisels old or new, except 2nd hand where the seller has polished them up crudely and rounded off the edges of the face, or otherwise wrecked them. No problem though, you just have to apply a back bevel like a carving chisel, which would make them less than ideal in some situations
I bought a set of cheapos from axminster and they were all perfectly flat.
It's not rocket science and even cheap chisels have flat faces as a rule.
This flat face polishing thing is just another modern myth - unnecessary to be polished or flat for more than say 30mm for most purposes, as long as any deviation is in the direction of convex.
 

Jacob

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Greengrass":80bsbfgf said:
50 quid would get a perfectly decent digital camera, no add ons.
And they don't go obsolescent that quickly, except in that they are endlessly being "improved", but from a very high non-obsolescent base. And free to use - new battery every few years and thats it.
 

Cheshirechappie

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I dare say you can buy a digital camera for £50, but I'll bet the instructions are in Chinese....
 

Derek Cohen (Perth Oz)

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This flat face polishing thing is just another modern myth - unnecessary to be polished or flat for more than say 30mm for most purposes, as long as any deviation is in the direction of convex.
Hi Jacob

I can only partially support this. True that the rear of the blade - immediately behind the bevel - must be as polished as the bevel itself to be "sharp". However "flat" - better defined as "coplanar" - is necessary for when he chisel is run against a guide/fence. The amount of flatness depends on the height of he fence.

If you do not work this way it would not be be seen to be important. Frankly, if all we were doing with chisels was excavation, then a couple of carving chisels would be good enough.

Regards from Perth

Derek
 

Jacob

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This flat face polishing thing is just another modern myth - unnecessary to be polished or flat for more than say 30mm for most purposes, as long as any deviation is in the direction of convex.
Hi Jacob

I can only partially support this. True that the rear of the blade - immediately behind the bevel - must be as polished as the bevel itself to be "sharp". However "flat" - better defined as "coplanar" - is necessary for when he chisel is run against a guide/fence. The amount of flatness depends on the height of he fence.
That's a new one for me. When would one want to use a chisel against a guide or fence? I can see there could be special circumstances where you might want to do something like that, but not as a rule, and certainly unnecessary to flatten all your chisels on the off chance of this special once in a lifetime application.
If you do not work this way it would not be be seen to be important. Frankly, if all we were doing with chisels was excavation, then a couple of carving chisels would be good enough.

Regards from Perth

Derek
So it's either "guide/ fence" or "excavation"? Stranger and stranger!

As I've said before - when the flat and polished chisel face myth is challenged, nobody can give a good reason for it.
It doesn't stop thousands of amateur woodworkers mindlessly following "the rules" and even discarding perfectly good chisels.
 

Jacob

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Well I've done that job many times, and others like it, but never with a fence or a guide. Wouldn't it be difficult with a jap hollow back chisel not sitting flat on the guide?
Come to think - it's at the final fitting stage as above where one finally dispenses with fences, guides, marks, and relies instead on hand & eye, offering up, dry fits, etc.
 

Phil Pascoe

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Jacob- the last set of new chisels I was tempted to buy were Marples. Not only were they not flat, two of them were actually twisted. The Jacks and Irwins have actually had ribbed backs, so they had to be polished(flat or not) as they couldn't be sharpened properly. The only flat one I've picked up lately is a Sorby with a translucent yellow handle, which I don't think is anything like new.

Phil
 

Jacob

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phil.p":38yqtil9 said:
Jacob- the last set of new chisels I was tempted to buy were Marples. Not only were they not flat, two of them were actually twisted. The Jacks and Irwins have actually had ribbed backs, so they had to be polished(flat or not) as they couldn't be sharpened properly. The only flat one I've picked up lately is a Sorby with a translucent yellow handle, which I don't think is anything like new.

Phil
Well if they are that bad you have to send them back.
The Axi ones I bought had machine marks on the flat side but honed up nicely at the edge and the sides leaving machine marks still visible in the middle, i.e. very slightly hollow, but otherwise "coplanar". Perhaps I was lucky!
OK as chisels but horrible to look at and the bevel edges too chunky to be meaningful.
 

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I've got a Jack chisel somewhere that came in a mixed bag of tools I purchased, the back is in a similar unfinished state - hung over monkeys with angle grinders would of done a better job, thankfully I dont need it so in a cupboard it stays.
 
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