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Grinding Chisels & Plane irons

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I am 82 years old,served my apprenticeship in a Leeds firm that did mainly Bank work,I worked with a five star tradesman who taught me a lot of what I still know about the trade,however I read several forums on woodworking and to be frank I think the bunkum I read about "angles" for grinding is simply just that (bunkum)...I have never seen a tradesman in my whole working career that has had a set angle for grinding his chisels or Plane irons,they simply do it freehand and make sure they keep dipping it into cold water so as not to "burn" or soften tthe steel cutter,to be quite frank all this talk about "grinding angles" is enough to frighten a lot of would-be woodworkers, to be honest the angle hardly matters provided it isn't too steep. :roll: :roll:

JUST GET ON WITH IT FELLAS.
 

woodbloke

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What an interesting first post :roll: Usually newcomer's introduce themselves with friendly 'howdy', this is what I do, long time lurker etc etc and observe the pleasantries which we associate with this forum. Can't see the pics at the moment btw - Rob
 

Jacob

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Wiljoy":33y8d0ia said:
I am 82 years old,served my apprenticeship in a Leeds firm that did mainly Bank work,I worked with a five star tradesman who taught me a lot of what I still know about the trade,however I read several forums on woodworking and to be frank I think the bunkum I read about "angles" for grinding is simply just that (bunkum)...I have never seen a tradesman in my whole working career that has had a set angle for grinding his chisels or Plane irons,they simply do it freehand and make sure they keep dipping it into cold water so as not to "burn" or soften tthe steel cutter,to be quite frank all this talk about "grinding angles" is enough to frighten a lot of would-be woodworkers, to be honest the angle hardly matters provided it isn't too steep. :roll: :roll:

JUST GET ON WITH IT FELLAS.
:lol: Absolutely agree. Welcome aboard Wiljoy.

I take it you haven't got one of these then? http://www.fine-tools.com/G307971.htm
You could have three gross bevel-angle range configurations: a high-angle range (25° to 54° in seven increments), a standard-angle range (15° to 40° in six increments), and a third range for back bevels. for only £56! :shock: :lol:
It also tells you the time in Tokyo, Sydney, Rio and Hartlepool, and works under water to 500m.
You'd need some new stones too, and you'd have to keep them perfectly flat or it wouldn't work too well - it's difficult enough as it is.
 

Tom K

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Welcome to the forum Wiljoy. Are you Jacobs dad? Thanks for the pearl of wisdom you obviously thought long and hard before sharing.
 

Jacob

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flounder":3qdwjin2 said:
Jacob, you forgot the optional camber roller and the skew registration jig!
Optional? Very good of them - they could have made it compulsory! Not sure if I want to register my skew at my age.

I just had a peek at another page http://www.fine-tools.com/hilf.htm#ziel303540 for some sharpening "essentials"
My favourite is the Veritas Jointer Blade Sharpener. It's not very good; totally inferior to Steve Maskery's DIY jig posted up some time ago, but it has the most brass knobs per square inch. £60! :shock:
 

adidat

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Tom K":16mqq3sh said:
Welcome to the forum Wiljoy. Are you Jacobs dad?
:lol: :lol:

thought the very same thing.

i think you have it the wrong way around wiljoy. by using a jig such as the fantastic veritas mk 2 a keen amateur can get a very sharp edge, sharper than free hand sharpening.

adidat
 

bugbear

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adidat":7lod0unk said:
Tom K":7lod0unk said:
Welcome to the forum Wiljoy. Are you Jacobs dad?
:lol: :lol:

thought the very same thing.
Nah. "Wiljoy" says grinding's easy, Grim says it always burns/softens the steel.

BugBear
 

jimi43

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Tom K":324togek said:
Welcome to the forum Wiljoy. Are you Jacobs dad? Thanks for the pearl of wisdom you obviously thought long and hard before sharing.
Spawn of Grim more like..... :roll:

Cripes...I can only manage one at any one time....

(homer)

Mind you...I do have an axe to grind.... #-o

Jim
 

markturner

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This should be interesting.......

Personally, I think its all horses for courses, you work however it feels best for you and use whatever tools / methods fit you best. There is no "right" way........Plus, always be open to new suggestions, you never know, it may work for you!
 

Jacob

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markturner":zkre4b2i said:
... There is no "right" way...........
Absolutely.
So if you were a high class joiner doing bank work nobody would be surprised if you turned up in the morning with a wheelbarrow full of jigs, granite plates, plate glass, paving slabs, reams of emery paper, waterstones (in a pond :lol: ), a tormek, a worksharp, a little ruler etc (and that's just the short list!). Not to forget Pedder's 3 bricks of course.*

*PS can't remember what you do with the thee bricks, perhaps juggle while you sharpen a chisel between your knees?
 

powertools

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If only Thomas Chippendale had a video on youtube about the tools he used and how he looked after them we would all learn so much.
 

Allylearm

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I got a tormek at work, bloody good it is too. Do I still hand sharpen, yip when I need an edge as I do not carry a tormek about with me. I do not decry modern methods if they gave me a good result. I just like to keep my options open, I still do not see a need for me to buy a honing guide, yet.

Side note, I wonder how much furniture Chipendale made himself or was it some poor underpaid sod who had to live under his work bench.
 

bosshogg

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Wiljoy":1bo77e14 said:
I am 82 years old,served my apprenticeship in a Leeds firm that did mainly Bank work,I worked with a five star tradesman who taught me a lot of what I still know about the trade,however I read several forums on woodworking and to be frank I think the bunkum I read about "angles" for grinding is simply just that (bunkum)...I have never seen a tradesman in my whole working career that has had a set angle for grinding his chisels or Plane irons,they simply do it freehand and make sure they keep dipping it into cold water so as not to "burn" or soften tthe steel cutter,to be quite frank all this talk about "grinding angles" is enough to frighten a lot of would-be woodworkers, to be honest the angle hardly matters provided it isn't too steep. :roll: :roll:

JUST GET ON WITH IT FELLAS.
Plus 1 to that me old chocker...and welcome to the banter room...bosshogg :)
 

woodbloke

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powertools":p65yn2df said:
If only Thomas Chippendale had a video on youtube about the tools he used and how he looked after them we would all learn so much.
To be picci, which I usually am, Chippendale was a designer who produced the first book of furniture intended for the gentry of the 18c and not a maker of the stuff (as far as we know) He had lesser minions to do the making stuff for him...but I know what you mean :wink: - Rob
 

powertools

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woodbloke":25ftwle4 said:
powertools":25ftwle4 said:
If only Thomas Chippendale had a video on youtube about the tools he used and how he looked after them we would all learn so much.
To be picci, which I usually am, Chippendale was a designer who produced the first book of furniture intended for the gentry of the 18c and not a maker of the stuff (as far as we know) He had lesser minions to do the making stuff for him...but I know what you mean :wink: - Rob
So your point is that minions in those days could produce high quality items with basic tools?
 

woodbrains

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powertools":3swd0u5w said:
If only Thomas Chippendale had a video on youtube about the tools he used and how he looked after them we would all learn so much.
Guess what, Thomas got his apprentices to do it! This is why we have labour saving devices to help us.

Incidentally, you can only compare like with like. It is pointless saying you don't need that grinding jig or this honing guide without qualifying the statement by proving that the end result is the same. I know from experience that most people cannot sharpen their planes of chisels and just bury their heads by saying they didn't have those aids and jigs or fancy stones in the good old days. Well surprise surprise; they did. All joinery shops and cabinetmakers had large diameter sandstone wheels running in water baths, hand cranked or treadled, to grind their primary bevels (Tormek substitute). Hard and translucent Arkansas oilstones, washita, Belgian clay on shist, mica slate, Japanese waterstones etc have been quarried for centuries and used for sharpening to progressively fine grits to get razor sharp, polished edges. None of this is new. If you can do it freehand, then fine. but you mustbe able to say that it is just as sharp as doing it with the jigs, before you rail at people using them. You also need to understand why the jigs are available. Easy to say that they are aids for the unskilled, because Thomas Chippendale got by without. Could it be we are missing something crucial when we perpetuate these old chestnuts. Well consider this. Did honing guides appear on the scene at about the same time plane irons became considerably thinner and less easy to balance on the stones? Goddam right. If Chippendale used the Baily style planes we have now, he would be finding ways of jigging up to make honing easier (or at least his apprentices would). So you can't call on the traditions of history as some sort of datum of truth, unless all things are equal and they certainly are not. The only bunkum I have heard lately is someone banging on about honing; rounding under not over, or some such TRIPE. A rounded edge is to be avoided at all costs however you fool yourself into thinking about it. A sharp edge is the intersection ot 2 planes with the smallest transition as possible. This is, in effect, a tiny radius, which is made smaller with the finer grits being used when honing. If the bevel is just some arbitary round over there is no transition between the intersecting planes and it is not possible to hone the sharpest possible edge, it just becomes some mushy volute or something with an indistinct edge. If I remember correctly, the perpetrator of this nonsense actually changed the laws of physics to try and prove his point by suggesting that a curve is actually the shortest distance between two points, so doesn't require any more effort in honing than a straight line. Amazing! I knew an old timer once who used to freehand hone his tools with an oilstone as dished out as a sandstone front doorstep and then strop the wire edge away with the leathery palm of his hand. It brought a warmth to the cockles of the heart to see such time honoured skill and wonderful simplicty. His tools were bloody dull, too.

Mike.
 

Jacob

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powertools":2pp3wxiq said:
woodbloke":2pp3wxiq said:
powertools":2pp3wxiq said:
If only Thomas Chippendale had a video on youtube about the tools he used and how he looked after them we would all learn so much.
To be picci, which I usually am, Chippendale was a designer who produced the first book of furniture intended for the gentry of the 18c and not a maker of the stuff (as far as we know) He had lesser minions to do the making stuff for him...but I know what you mean :wink: - Rob
So your point is that minions in those days could produce high quality items with basic tools?
Well yes they would have been organised like any other craft business with work being delegated etc.
Chippo himself was a maker. He'd have to be - you are handicapped as a designer if you can't make.
Interesting that he, Sheraton, Hepplewhite, Macintosh were all from oop narth, contradicting the popular view that design advanced in the cities and diffused out to the provinces. The opposite is true. They went citywards for the money and brought modern design with them
 

Jacob

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woodbrains":10y227su said:
..........If the bevel is just some arbitary round over there is no transition between the intersecting planes and it is not possible to hone the sharpest possible edge, it just becomes some mushy volute or something with an indistinct edge. If I remember correctly, the perpetrator of this nonsense actually changed the laws of physics to try and prove his point by suggesting that a curve is actually the shortest distance between two points, so doesn't require any more effort in honing than a straight line. Amazing! ......
There is a thing called a tangent. You can have a precise 30º (or any other angle) tangential edge even if the bevel is curved. AOTBE this will be no different from a straight bevel (at the edge) and will cut just as well. Many people don't understand this I realise. Still true though. Nothing wrong with flat bevel BTW its just that rounded is easier if you are freehanding on a stone.

PS This might help (though I doubt it :roll: ).
We all know that rounding over increases the edge angle, which we all agree is OK up to a point, but eventually will need correcting. Agree?
So suppose your edge started at 25º and you round it over until it is 30º. Think about it.
PPS
..you rail at people using them...
No it's the other way round. If freehand gets mentioned there is always a hostile blast from the usual suspects. I think it's changing though, but gradually.
 

xy mosian

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Anyone who has handled plane irons and chisels for a while will get a feel for bevel angles. This will mean they can be formed, without jigs, by sight. But for a complete novice this can be difficult, especially if faced with a second hand blade which may have seen better days.

In an attempt to help those new to this craft. When the ground bevel length is 2.5 times the thickness of the of the blade at the thick end of the bevel, the angle is very nearly 24 degrees. Which for most purposes is near enough!

xy
 
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