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Micro Chisels


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My reaction to Flexcut tools is "meh". They're not horrible but neither are they (IMO) very good. I have one Flexcut knife and wasn't happy with how sharp I could get it, so I mostly use it for opening boxes. For micro tools available from retailers, I'd recommend the ones carried by Lee Valley over Flexcut any day, but the Lee Valley versions are considerably more expensive and that's usually a big factor also.

 

If the Lee Valley tools are out of budget, try Ebay, if you know how to recognize them there are sellers of less expensive Japanese sets that really aren't bad at all. And here's a used Robert Sorby set for $185 that's quite good. Here's a Narex set that is reasonably good for $200, they're from the Czech Republic.

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A couple of issues to consider

1. There can be a massive difference between cheap and expensive in how the chisels are constructed, as microchisels have complex shapes (V, U) eg uneven thicknesses etc

2. They are much more difficult to sharpen than plain chisels and more easy to ruin

 

My very cheap (non micro) chisels perform as well as my Narex one, but I can sharpen to a reasonable degree. I would invest more to the sharpening than to the chisel itself (although the chisel should be made of some reasonable steel)

 

There is also that Russian chap that makes those wonderful microchisels, very reasonably priced. There are discussions with info somewhere in the Forum

 

Regards

Vaddoc

Edited by vaddoc
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22 hours ago, vaddoc said:

Very nice videos

However, I looked for 01 steel blanks in the UK, cheapest 3x3 mm x 500 mm is £10 when a high end chisel is less than £20. Not worth the effort

 

 

I forgot to mention that spade (paddle) drill bits  are a convenient and good source for the tool steel.  You may already have a few spares, or could find them at a boot sale or the local home center.

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I have a set of micro-chisels made by DockYard tools that were, but no longer, sold by Lee Valley.  However, I see that they are available from other suppliers.  These are the smallest chisels and knives I have seen as the blanks are more of a wire than a bar or rod.  Definitely, not tools for roughing.   However, the steel is good in that I can get a razor edge on them.  

 

I also have a set of small chisels that Lee Valley sells (part 81D40.01 ).  I thought they would be just good for scraping, but the steel is remarkably good so I got very sharp edges.  The set included two fish-tails, which are difficult to find in such a small size.

 

I've made a few small knives/chisels from broken (or sacrificed) drill bits.  This is probably the cheapest source of tool steel available.

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As EG has stated there is a Russian who is producing micro chisels in various sizes and profiles. They are by far the sharpest and best quality micro chisels I've come across and I highly recommend them. A set is pricey but it's likely the last set you'll ever need. His address is (or was)

mihail.kirsanov@mail.ru

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I have some of the Dockyard chisels.  Nice tools.  I don't believe the Dockyard is still in business.  I read somewhere that Lee's bought up most of their stock before they went under.   I hope I'm wrong. 

 

But, my wish list for chisels is the set Greg mentions.  A reports say they are top of the line.

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Mikhail's sets are the best choice but also the most expensive of the options discussed. My set was ~$500, which is even more than the Lee Valley set I mentioned above. Yes, it's the best option and honestly a steal for the number of tools you get, but it's a premium expenditure. And then there's the problem of getting in Mikhail's queue, and also sometimes he decides he's not going to make anything for a while, so I wouldn't hold my breath for quick shipping if you go that route.

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On 12/25/2018 at 2:50 PM, mtaylor said:

I have some of the Dockyard chisels.  Nice tools.  I don't believe the Dockyard is still in business.  I read somewhere that Lee's bought up most of their stock before they went under.   I hope I'm wrong.

From what I can see they are still available from several sources.  These are a few that I found quite quickly. 

https://mdiwoodcarvers.com/t/dockyard-micro-tools

https://www.treelineusa.com/micro-gouge-carving-set.html

http://www.chippingaway.com/cat/hand-woodcarving-tools-accessories/dockyard-micro-carving-tools/

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