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Bevel re-grinding on new chisels.

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  • #16
    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 description of making gouge cuts to line up with a stop cut assumes that the cut is made at a constant angle equal to the bevel. While it is true that the gouge must be at 20 degrees or more to engage the wood, the cut can curve to meet the stop cut nearly (or exactly) perpendicular. Later leveling cuts eliminate the curve. So it is not necessary to grind back the corners.


    • #17
      I think it's a practical thing to do. IF, , , ,, I did enough in that style to warrant it.
      What little I do, I can clean it up with some dragging cuts with a PacNW style crooked knife.
      Brian T


      • #18
        Most of my full size tools are Pfeil, and they're nearly always ready to carve, but I have several other brands that weren't ready to carve, some not even close. I had to regrind the bevel on some Henry Taylor tools that were sharp and had good shape, but were just to blunt (more than 25 degrees). I've reshaped a bunch of tools to create some special edges, mostly thumbnail. I like sharp ears on my gouges, and I want the edges straight and square to the tool axis. And I've had to regrind quite a few tools, for myself and friends, that were damaged, even some that were badly rounded by years of stropping. Dileon made a good point; it's not a good idea for a new carver to start regrinding gouges and chisels. Without the right equipment and experience, you could make a bad tool worse, even irreparable (think V-tools). But how do you gain experience? At some point, you have to learn how to sharpen your tools. Some of us were blessed with good instructors, and many of us have taken classes on sharpening, and probably even more of us have read good books. But you still have to jump in the water and start swimming. I suggest newer carvers do that sooner than later, particularly if you're carving alone and have no one to help you keep your tools stropped.

        If you're carving alone and need some help, the best source would be a local carving club. Not only do their members know something about sharpening, a lot of them have the right equipment. Woodcraft is another good bet since they have classes and they're eager to sell you the stuff you need. Carving shows are helpful as well, as many organize demonstrations and have vendors showing how to use sharpening materials and equipment. So learn to sharpen, and understand that sharpening means everything from basic tool grinding and shaping to everyday stropping.

        I do disagree with one of Dileon's comments about Chris Pye's classes. One of his one-week sessions in Maine is basic relief carving, and he's had beginners in that class most of the time. His advanced classes are not for beginners, but I'm not a master carver and I was as good as most of the others in the class. He does take part of a day to teach sharpening and his favorite subject, the secondary bevel. He told us the first day he expected each of us to have that secondary bevel on our gouges by the end of the first week, and that took a little after-school time to get it done. But he was right; it makes a huge difference in tool control, particularly for relief carving. Mike