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Unusual chisel for letter carving?

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Andy Kev.

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I saw a picture of a bloke doing letter carving and it looked like his chisel was bevelled on both sides (like an axe, effectively).

Were my eyes deceiving me? If they are used for letter carving, what are the advantages of that design?
 

AndyT

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Normal for lots of carving tools, though the bevels aren't always the same size.
 

Argus

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There are all sorts of orthodoxies and otherwise when it comes to carvers’ chisels.

In the Sheffield List system, straight chisels are No: 1, skewed straight chisels are No: 2. Both will come from the makers with an equal bevel and (usually) a shank that is a bit thicker than the commensurate carpenter’s chisel. (I think that they are both lumped together as No:1 in the ‘Continental’ system)

Then, carvers customise them to suit their own style of work: sometimes straight chisels develop a rounded edge, sometimes the tips are rounded over, occasionally the bevel shape is modified.

Personally, I was taught letter-carving using a straight No:1 chisel for the straight elements. First the position of the root of the letter is defined with a vertical strike, then the sides are pared down; all with a chisel that is beveled both sides.

Nowadays I do more carved lettering than I used to and I tend to use my ordinary bevel-edge woodworkers chisels, with a single cutting bevel for the straight elements………. I use the flat back to give a straight slice, from the edge to the root. No obvious advantages, other than to me it’s the way I do it.

Other folk work differently…..

Consequently, I have a quantity of straight carvers’ chisels that are ‘at rest’ in the tool-box!
You learn the rules in order to break ‘em.
 

Lons

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I have several Andy though never thought of them as being specifically for letter carving which I do little of these days. Having a bevel on both sides of a skew chisel is useful as you can just turn it over to get into opposite corners, saves having 2 chisels.
 
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