26 March 2010

Should I stay...or should I go?

How often do you feel like changing things in the 'shop? I often get this odd niggle that sometimes 'this' could be changed or 'that' might be altered, simply to improve my way of working or indeed to produce better work. Recently, I've had a nagging itch lurking right at the back of my mind about chisels..more specifically, Jap chisels.

Severial years ago I bought a complete set from Axminster, which were decent enough, taking and holding a razor edge. However, being the 24 carat, gold plated numpty that I am, I managed to decimate them by not paying enough attention to the surface of the the waterstones (don't get me started on them!!) I was using at the time. The consequence was that I managed to round the corners off on the backs by flattening them on a concave stone.

Yes...I know, you've been banging your forehead repeatedly on the keyboard 'cos you've been thinking "how stupid can this boy get!"...

The offending chisels were off loaded to some fool on fleabay and replaced with a set of A2 LN's which I have been, and still am, very happy with...and there's the rub!

However...I still have this itch and it simply won't go away.

I can get a really quite wicked edge on the LN's using the 'scary sharp' 3M papers and the KellIII jig, but I wonder how much better (if at all) a Jap chisel would be?

One of the things that I detested with Jap chisels is that they're supplied with a bloody great lump of iron on the end of the handle, which is great for belting with a hammer, but next to useless for hand work. Use one for any length of time for horizontal pairing and you'll end up with huge red weal in the palm of your hand. Conversely, vertical paring means the thing will dig into your thumb, particluarly at the crinkly folds of skin where your thumb bends.

Which means that you need two sets of the things, a hooped set for chopping and some long handled parers for hand work and if you really want to push the bateau out...a few specials for dovetails, whereas the LN's will do all of those functions on their own.

I still have that bloody niggle though...

Matthew at Workshop Heaven has a set of white paper steel Fujikawa hooped and long handled paring chisels, which on the face of it look fabulous (hardened to R68) and I'm sorely tempted to give them another shot.

So...the buring question is...

Should I stay or should I go?


The Village Carpenter said...

Chisels are like clamps—you can never have too many! ; )

Mitchell said...

Just so I understand all of this, you trashed a perfectly good set of £170 ($260 CAN) chisels.

You replaced those with an even better set of £230 ($350 CAN) Lie-Nielsen's.

Now you want to add two more sets worth£485 ($740 CAN).

What this means is that scratching this itch of yours is going to cost you a total of £885 ($1350 CAN).

Might I suggest a bottle of calamine lotion available at your local Boots for £0.99?

Anonymous said...

Blimey, Rob, what happened to that minimalist I used to know??? You know they won't make the slightest bit of difference.......

Cheers ;-)

Paul Chapman

Chris Knight said...

Don't bugger about with middle of the road Japanese chisels. If you are changing from LN, it ought to be a real step up!

Try these for size..


Chris Knight said...
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