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I use sweet gum for framing.  With it, I've never encountered a problem fairing a hull's interior with a rasp.    The cut/coarseness of a rasp, coupled with the characteristics of other types of wood may conspire to cause chip-out. 

 

The ends of the Auriou chair maker's rasp are shaped differently but both are stiched the same.  One end of the Corradi sculptor's rasp has wood-file teeth on it.  The file teeth will not contribute to chip-out.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I would mention to anyone making the plunge to buy chisels, there are two learning curves: one, to learn to weld the chisel and ideally carve and two, to sharpen the chisel itself. The first Is dependent on the latter. Most, if not all of the best qualities of a chisel are lost if it isn’t sharp. (To be useful, lathes and mills also require some learning as well, in my opinion.)
 

If you are model shipbuilder and can tie your shoes, then you have the patience and the dexterity to master sharpening. Part of that challenge, in my opinion, is knowing how a sharp tool behaves! So, if you are new to this, find someone to sharpen your tool for you to start with! Once mastered, excellent performance can come from even middling tools.
 

Like everyone else, I vote for buying nice tools. More so for carving tools in particular, since a chisel will last decades if used correctly (or close to correctly). I still have my chisels bought in the late eighties. I will also mention that it is easy to recondition old carving tools and the like, and that can be a very cost-effective path. 

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30 minutes ago, EricWilliamMarshall said:

Part of that challenge, in my opinion, is knowing how a sharp tool behaves!

Very true Eric

I recently spend time to hone my chisels. I especially focused on the strop until both surfaces were like mirrors. They are now so sharp that any casual contact with fingers will draw blood. However, I now see how a chisel should work, it should effortlessly cut the wood in any direction, with or across the grain. If it does not, it is not sharp enough. 

 

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I take great pride in sharpening all my shop tools, plane irons, chisels, and knifes.  Some years ago my wife bought me a book written by Leonard Lee of Lee Valley Tools.  This is an excellent book that covers all aspects of sharpening, metallurgy, and and stone construction.  The ISBN # for the book is

ISBN 1-56158-125-9.  It is listed on the Lee Valley Tool web site.  Hope this is helpful to some.

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Anent the chair makers' rasp Charles Green mentioned, Alec Tiranti is a good source of artists' tools. The Milani rasps, while not as fine as Auriou, are - fine. I note a reference to Narex; they are a Czech company and make good full-size tools. Also, have a look at Robert Sorby's Micro tools. Not as micro as Model Dockyard's but high quality. druxey is on the money about careful use of rasps - great ply wreckers. My day job is woodcarving...

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I'm late to this discussion, so it might not be helpful anymore, but....

 

I would recommend an inexpensive set of good chisels.  These can be easy to find actually.  No need to spend a lot of money of chisels.  A selection of MHG Bench Chisels would work (about $14 each size,) or a set of Stanley Sweetheart Chisels would also work.   I assume you have a way to sharpen them. If not you do need sharpening stones and a bit of practice.  All the more reason to get an inexpensive set.  I would spend a bit more on a good rasp, and look out for one that has hand cut teeth.  A good chair maker's rasp will probably cost you about $75-100, but it will be worth it in the long run.  And a set of needle files will be necessary in my opinion.

 

I use a small bandsaw to re-saw lumber, and then hand plane the board, then sand to final thickness.  A thickness planner will also work well.  There are a million ways to get the job done.  I hope my few comments were helpful.

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I know others dismiss these as toys but I have used them to great effect. Used them in the last couple of days to clean up a badly cut rabbet and other issues. Remarkably sharp and easy to control for miniature work. I also use their miniature block plane to  spile planks, remarkably suited to that job. If there is any interest I will take photos of my process.

 https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop/tools/hand-tools/miniature-tools/chisels/72391-veritas-miniature-chisels?item=05P8501

https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop/tools/hand-tools/miniature-tools/planes/70138-veritas-miniature-block-plane?item=05P8220

 

Edited by turangi
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To add my tuppenceworth to the debate, stones - water or oil - are the gold standard and yield the best results on balance. However, if you can find glaziers who replace broken shop (store) windows, they will, in the UK anyway, sell you small pieces of float glass. Spoken to persuasively, they will cut them and fire the edges. Automotive wet-and-dry abrasive sheet in varying grades can then be glued on and used to refine your edges. Easy to replace when worn and you can use them while you save up for the Japanese water stone you really want. BTW, lubricate with 3-in-1 oil, diluted with white spirit.

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On 1/16/2021 at 6:57 PM, Gyber said:

I would recommend an inexpensive set of good chisels.

I also have had success buying used chisels. Sometimes a superior tool is had for cheap!

When examining a chisel of interest, I want to see symmetry in profile; if it isn't there, then I have to put in time to correct it.
The tougher item to correct is in gouges. Cheap gouges don't aways have the flute (or 'trench') in the center of the blade/shank. It is a lot of work to fix that. 
The last tough one is symmetry in a couple axises for back bent or spoon bent gouges (generally a rare purchase for most folks).  Even these issues can be over come but it's easier to see if the chisel next to it is in better shape and grab that.

When I was younger, before the turn of the century, I was taught to go to the shop with the carving tools and ask to see 3 or 4 the same chisel or gouge and compare the shape and pick the best.

To @Gyber's point of buying inexpensive, the act of sharpening the tool to your own needs is the same skills needed to make good use of a used or poorly shaped tool (barring adding new handle or similar).

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There was a third book I wanted to mention regarding sharpening. No one needs to own all three since they overlap in many respects. (Well, um, yes, I do own all three.)

Taunton's Complete Illustrated Guide to Sharpening by Thomas Lie-Nielsen (yes, that Thomas Lie-Nielsen, the famed tool maker). It starts with kinds of tool steel, heat treatment and abrasives. Then machines and jig and then chapters on sharpening various tools. https://www.amazon.com/Tauntons-Complete-Illustrated-Sharpening-Taunton/dp/1631860860/

I also mentioned The Perfect Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Sharpening for Woodworkers by Ron Hock (yes, he is that Ron Hock, yet another famous tool maker). It has a similar range: tool steel metallurgy, heat treatment, abrasives and chapters on sharpening various tools. https://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Edge-Ultimate-Sharpening-Woodworkers/dp/1440329958/

And the previously mentioned The Complete Guide to Sharpening by Leonard Lee. Again similar topics. And again a similarly famous tool maker. 
https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Guide-Sharpening-Leonard-Lee/dp/1561581259/
I honestly don't have a fav; I find they complement each other. 


Any one is great but just like reading the build logs here, you might enjoy reading more than one...

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4 hours ago, EricWilliamMarshall said:

There was a third book I wanted to mention regarding sharpening

Thanks for the recommendations Eric. I think I'll treat myself to at least one of these.

 

For those who learn better from direct demonstrations, you can't do much better than Paul Sellers' excellent Youtube videos on woodworking. He has about 18 on sharpening all manner of hand tools, including the following two on chisels. Interestingly, in the first he uses diamond stones, and in the other he uses wet n' dry paper stuck to plate glass:

 

 

 

 

Derek

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54 minutes ago, allanyed said:

Derek,  Thank you very much for posting the videos.  I learned more about sharpening chisels in 30 minutes than I had ever learned before in all my years.   

Allan

 

Surely, you jest! You must be a young man. :D  Seriously, though, they are excellent videos. It's not rocket science and he keeps it simple. It's amazing how much ink and pixels have been consumed on the subject of sharpening edge tools in recent times. IMHO, this seems to be the consequence of our educational system's abandonment of manual arts training as part of the core curriculum in middle and high schools. Mention "wood shop" or "metal shop" these days and the kids give you a blank stare. Time was, learning to sharpen an edge was a skill every boy learned by age eight or ten and no more remarkable than learning to tie their shoes. To make matters worse, today's parents are so overprotective, a ten year old is lucky to have had much of any real experience at all with an edged tool, let alone been taught to care for it. I casually gave my ten year old grandson one of those tiny Victorinox Swiss Army pocket knives with a two inch blade that are made to put on a key chain and his mother went apoplectic, taking it from him and saying, "We'll have to use this under strict supervision!"  Sheesh!  (I should have known better... My giving him a store-bought Daisy sling shot and a bag of dried beans for ammo precipitated a family crisis a few months previously.) I suppose he'll probably join the rest of his generation and buy cheap knives which he'll throw away when they dull, unless, of course, I can instill in him enough appreciation for working with his hands and he acquires the need to learn how to sharpen a blade on a stone from some old YouTube video!

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I watched the Paul Sellers video and started sharpening my chisels free hand. It did not work for me or to be honest, it worked a bit.

 

The problem is that using diamond stones free hand, the bevel ends up very convex and this reduces the accuracy when using the chisel. Also it is very easy to hone one side too much and the edge ends up angled. I now use a guide for the diamond stones and the initial polish on the strop but from then on do the frequent touch ups on the strop fee hand. It takes a very long time for the bevel to end up concave on the strop.

 

I tried sand paper on glass but it eats the metal very slowly compared to diamond stones and is too fiddly and expensive. One wrong move and the chisel will tear the paper but also the paper gets soaked end disintegrates. Good sand paper is also expensive.

 

Really, the strop with the green compound makes all the difference. If someone is patient enough to give it 200 passes each side, the result will be a scary sharp chisel with a mirror finish.

 

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'Surely, you jest!'

 

I'm 65 now. As a 12 year old I was taught the basics about tools at school.

Last year I came across a box of tool/drill steel assortments. Not one to throw stuff away if it has the remotest useful potential, I remembered the old shop talks and exercises and made a bunch of 1/8, 3/16 chisels and gouges, hardened and tempered them and they worked just fine. Not only do they cut wood, they are up to decorating aluminium and copper too.

Making a tool is just as satisfying as using it.

Bob's correct, kids today aren't shown these kind of things these days.

But all of these kids know what youtube is; and some of these kids will get their learning that way.

If they manage to survive the inevitable blood letting.

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3 hours ago, vaddoc said:

Really, the strop with the green compound makes all the difference. If someone is patient enough to give it 200 passes each side, the result will be a scary sharp chisel with a mirror finish.

 

Absolutely! The "green stuff" really does the trick better than anything else. 

 

If one takes a piece of 3/4" MDF, cuts a disk to fit on their bench grinder, and charges the edge with polishing compound, those 200 passes on each side can be replaced by ten or twenty seconds on the edge of the spinning MDF disk. No need for leather on the disk. The smooth edge of the MDF disk with the polishing compound is fine. 

 

If one wishes to get fancy and has money to spare, there are also many different store-bought options, such as ready-made leather or cardboard stropping disks for bench grinders and leather stropping belts for stationary belt sanders. YouTube is full of videos on making your own stropping disks for mounting on bench grinders, wood turning lathes, or drill motors. 

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11 hours ago, vaddoc said:

The problem is that using diamond stones free hand, the bevel ends up very convex

I cheat and use a guide. All the advice Paul gives in his videos is still valid, whether or not you go freehand like he does. The best guides I know are made by Richard Kell (here). His No.1 guide is especially useful for miniature or very narrow chisels.

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I can't remember whether this has been mentioned before, but there is a nice jig for making your own sharpening guide for very small chisels (1mm, 2mm etc.) which you can download at Patrick Sullivan's site. His video is on YouTube. It's done for round stock, but can easily be re-drawn for rectangular blades.

 

Tony

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This morning I spent a bit of time honing my new chisel and I thought it would be useful to record and post the process, essentially my way of doing it. I am no expert but the chisels do get sharp. Maybe it will be of help to others.

 

https://modelshipworld.com/topic/27422-sharpening-chisels-my-relatively-simple-way/?tab=comments#comment-788347

 

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16 hours ago, JohnLea said:

I recently read where some carvers are now using thin cardboard (cereal Box) charged with compound and backed by a hard surface as a strop.  

 

Sure, any relatively firm material can make a good strop.  I've used a scrap of wood with fine slurry from a waterstone in the past, worked well, as I'm sure the type of cardboard you mention would.

 

One reason that there are sooooo many different ways of sharpening and so much ink, pixels, and video MB expended in discussing them and describing them is that they all basically work (even the wet/dry sandpaper on glass that I often deride works).  It all comes down to preference, probably preference informed by background and history, but still preference.  The main thing is to try it, keep after it, try different methods if one isn't to your taste, and even mix and match steps if appropriate.

 

The latest I've heard of was from a woodworking forum where some guys borrowed a final buffing step from the knife world (basically power stropping) and found that it made for a very keen edge that was very resistant to damage from chopping dovetails and the like.  There's an article in a recent magazine about it (I forget which, I don't subscribe to any of them).  The main advantage is that it's fast - and that is perhaps less of an advantage in modeling, where I would imagine opportunities to chop through hardwood all day are somewhat limited :D

Edited by jdowney
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