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  • Bevel re-grinding on new chisels.

    On Chris Pye's site he does what he calls "commissioning" of his new chisels, that is he regrinds the bevel to one that suits him. Does anyone else do this?

  • #2
    If by chisels, you mean wood carving gouges, yeah, I do.

    1. Farrier hoof knives all come 25 - 30 degree edges. I change them all to approx 12 degrees for carving. I have Mora, Diamond, Hall and Ukal.
    2. Narex 1/2" skews are 25 degrees. That's quite a fat angle to push through wood by hand. I scrub them back to 20, like a Pfeil gouge.
    3. The big Stubai carving adze is a 7/75. Owner #1 thought that the bevel was on the back/outside. Wrong. I'm still filing metal off to flatten it.
    Brian T

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    • #3
      Some do, I never have.

      Dave

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      • #4
        Yes, but... it depends on the brand and how different the tool comes opposed to how I want it, and I didn't do it in the beginning of my carving - I didn't know enough

        I English tools I have bought have bevels that are too steep for my taste, so I make them shallower. Generally the German, Austrian, Swiss tools I have are a lot closer to what I want bevel wise and little to no bevel angle modifications are needed.


        Most carving tools other than Pfeil do not come delivered sharp enough to carve so some honing is needed at the very least on the others. I do use an inside bevel on most of the sweeps so those are added to each tool.

        You've got some Pfeil ordered if I recall correctly. They will be sharp. I would advise you to use them as is and get a feel for them before you go changing them. Yes many carvers commission their tools, but they didn't know how they wanted them commissioned until they carved awhile to figure it out..

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        • #5
          My first act with any new edge tool is to measure the factory bevel angle.
          I'll keep it unless I have a very good understanding of why it would/should be changed.
          My spoke shaves all arrived at 28 degrees, total included bevel angle. They sing in the wood.

          Chris Pye. There's another thing that he might be doing and rather poorly explained, as usual.

          Suppose that you have made a row of vertical stop cuts.
          Suppose that the next act is to carve horizontally back to the stop cut.
          Your gouge has a bevel angle of, say, 20 degrees.
          That means that you must lift the handle/axis of the gouge at least 20 degrees to get the tool to bite into the wood.
          As your tool approaches the vertical stop cut, the top two corners are "leading" the bottom.
          So the top two corners will bang into the vertical stop cut before the bottom of the gouge arrives.

          CP is very fond of grinding back the corners (still at 20 degrees) so he can work straight against a stop cut without shredding the face
          and finish the bottom of the cuts without tearing/prying the last of the cuts.
          Brian T

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          • #6
            Interesting answers. I don't plan to do anything other than hone my stuff until I learn what I can and cannot do with it, just curious.

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            • #7
              I usually don't change the bevels on most of my new tools as they generally don't need it. However, I often reshape the edge to a "thumbnail" grind. I do this so that the corners of some gouges don't dig in, especially when under cutting. Learned the value of this shape from my first instructor and have used it ever since.
              'If it wasn't for caffeine, I wouldn't have any personality at all!"

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              • #8
                Chris Pye has been woodcarving long enough to know how various gouges should perform in wood. He has achieved a base of experience that enables him to "commission" new tools he intends to use. Most of us will never get to that level. We may learn the response of a few gouges to a few different woods, but probably no where close to being qualified to make basic changes.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by pallin View Post
                  Chris Pye has been woodcarving long enough to know how various gouges should perform in wood. He has achieved a base of experience that enables him to "commission" new tools he intends to use. Most of us will never get to that level. We may learn the response of a few gouges to a few different woods, but probably no where close to being qualified to make basic changes.
                  Interestingly it is something he recommends everyone does and even "walks" you through it on his videos. Horses for courses I guess. I'm not trying to overthink this thing but by the same token after a few months I'm still struggling with a gouge and someone asks "why didn't you regrind the bevel from the beginning........."

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                  • #10
                    I change all the primary bevels on my carpentry chisels to the same angle. mainly so I can quickly and easily restore or touch up the secondary bevel. The angle I prefer is 25 degrees.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lol999 View Post

                      someone asks "why didn't you regrind the bevel from the beginning........."
                      Chris Pye classes and books are for the master carvers and the very advance. If you note the people in his classes are all both. He quotes often that his number one issue with his students is that they always want to do things that are too hard for them. Chris,... I recommend his classes and books for advance carver, meaning you been carving for a long time and understand in depth what he is saying....I believe that comes from experience.

                      Pheif chisels are ready to go when you buy them.... I would not be messing with them until you learn how to use the chisel and how to sharpen and hone them. You learn what the chisel will do and will not do. When you get those chisels so they slice through the wood with ease.....and you understand the basics of each chisel....perhaps later you will want to reshape them to the wood you are using. I will not recommend any one reshape a new Pheif until they are experienced. Why because until you know what you will be carving and what kind of wood you love to carve.....the chisel may need a different bevel then you put on it. Believe me grinding down a bevel on a new Pheif (when you never done it before),... does not look like a Chris video.....unless you are very experienced.

                      As a beginner you are going to struggle,....you ask for advice....at times you will get lots of answers. If I was you keep it simple and keep it manageable. I have run into people who advice worked for me and others that was a complete train wreak.

                      Just one opinion....but if I was teaching you .....last thing in the world, I would have you do is regrind a brand new top of line chisel.
                      Last edited by Dileon; 08-22-2016, 04:47 PM.

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                      • #12
                        @ Dileon - best piece of advice I've had yet. I wasn't planning to re-grind anything because sharpening, which I am practising, is something I need to learn and master along with carving. Thank you.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Robson Valley View Post
                          My first act with any new edge tool is to measure the factory bevel angle.
                          I'll keep it unless I have a very good understanding of why it would/should be changed.
                          My spoke shaves all arrived at 28 degrees, total included bevel angle. They sing in the wood.

                          Chris Pye. There's another thing that he might be doing and rather poorly explained, as usual.

                          Suppose that you have made a row of vertical stop cuts.
                          Suppose that the next act is to carve horizontally back to the stop cut.
                          Your gouge has a bevel angle of, say, 20 degrees.
                          That means that you must lift the handle/axis of the gouge at least 20 degrees to get the tool to bite into the wood.
                          As your tool approaches the vertical stop cut, the top two corners are "leading" the bottom.
                          So the top two corners will bang into the vertical stop cut before the bottom of the gouge arrives.

                          CP is very fond of grinding back the corners (still at 20 degrees) so he can work straight against a stop cut without shredding the face
                          and finish the bottom of the cuts without tearing/prying the last of the cuts.
                          This is also one reason to have some duplicate size and sweeps. Different cuts can benefit from different shaped tools as you say. V tools are another you can change the wings on to suit your needs.

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                          • #14
                            It used to be the case that tool makers assumed that the new owner was going to re-grind a tool to their preference so they would not bother to put any effort into initial bevel angles. This has changed and most quality manufacturers now ship "carving sharp" tools. This seemed to be particularly the case with English manufacturers and older English carving books will reflect that.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Steev View Post
                              It used to be the case that tool makers assumed that the new owner was going to re-grind a tool to their preference so they would not bother to put any effort into initial bevel angles. This has changed and most quality manufacturers now ship "carving sharp" tools. This seemed to be particularly the case with English manufacturers and older English carving books will reflect that.
                              Correct, and the problem with the manufacturers sticking to the practice of the past is that today the beginning woodcarvers don't have any preferences as they have no experience and for the most part can't grind and sharpen anyway. There is an opportunity for a company that delivers "carving sharp" tools and I see Pfeil recommended a lot for that very reason. Most others need anything from a little honing to a lot of work to get to "carving sharp". I know of at least one English manufacturer today that ships the factory grind, leaving the rest up to the carver and I see no one recommending them to beginners. In fact Lee Valley recognizes this issue as well and now has a package deal with Charles Marshall Sayers "The Book of Wood Carving: Technique, Designs and Projects" bundled with the very tools recommended in the book. If you go look at the notes they have about the item, Lee Valley tells you they took the tools and sharpened them to be "carving sharp" as they don't normally come that way.

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