Author Topic: How to flatten a chisel back  (Read 7461 times)

Offline jspill

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How to flatten a chisel back
« on: June 27, 2017, 04:06:22 pm »
I recently purchased a used T7 machine. I have never used a Tormek. Previously I have sharpened chisels and plane blades using waterstones, sandpaper, and a Worksharp. It is now time to enter the wonderful world of Tormek that I have read so much about.
I need to sharpen set of chisels for a Record #44 plow plane. First I want to flatten the back of each chisel. I'd like to know the proper procedure for flattening the back of a chisel or plane blade. Is the grit on the side of the wheel the only grit I need to use? Roughly how long does the blade need to be held against the wheel? Since I am brand new to this I would appreciate any advice I can be given. Thanks.

Offline Ken S

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Re: How to flatten a chisel back
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2017, 08:30:04 pm »
Welcome to the forum, James. I'm a believer in having a shop reference library. I would highly recommend two books to you. Woodcraft Supply had a vintage book by the Record Company reprinted. I bought my copy in 1972 at their original store in Woburn, Mass. They still list it. It is a fine reference book.

The second book is Chris Schwarz' Handplane Book. Chris mentions flattening the irons for a Rocord#44. He was delighted to find that they all bowed slightly inward (concave), thus requiring little work. I have encountered the same thing with Blue Chip chisels inspired by Marples. If you run one of the blades over a piece of glass with 320 grit wet or dry sandpaper and both ends are rubbed, you are home free. If you rub only the middle, called "belly", you are in for some work.

Time to pick up my grandchildren. I will return and continue this post.

Ken


Offline SharpenADullWitt

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Re: How to flatten a chisel back
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2017, 09:32:06 pm »
There is no how long, as the chisel itself will determine that.  I like the marker on the back side method, but a few Youtube video's, they just put the chisels to the side, and go for a consistent scratch pattern.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eavazeeF8tA
Most things I have seen or read, typically recommend flattening one inch. (but if it is way off where it hits adjustment devices, it might require more, don't know that plow plane)

Ken, what is the NAME of the first book.
Favorite line, from a post here:
8)

Yeah you know Tormek have reached sharpening nirvana when you get a prosthetic hand as part of the standard package :/)

Offline Herman Trivilino

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Re: How to flatten a chisel back
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2017, 11:42:13 pm »
I recently purchased a used T7 machine. I have never used a Tormek. Previously I have sharpened chisels and plane blades using waterstones, sandpaper, and a Worksharp. It is now time to enter the wonderful world of Tormek that I have read so much about.
I need to sharpen set of chisels for a Record #44 plow plane. First I want to flatten the back of each chisel. I'd like to know the proper procedure for flattening the back of a chisel or plane blade. Is the grit on the side of the wheel the only grit I need to use? Roughly how long does the blade need to be held against the wheel? Since I am brand new to this I would appreciate any advice I can be given. Thanks.

Flattening the backs is a one-time procedure and lasts the life of the chisel or plane iron. You can do it using your previous methods or using the side of the Tormek grindstone. How long? Long enough to remove the ridges left from the manufacturing process.

As to the grit of the Tormek grindstone, it's not a constant. As you fracture the crystals embedded in the grindstone you make the grit finer and you also embed steel fragments. So you have to refresh the Tormek grindstone by applying the coarse side of the stone grader. Once you get the back of your plane iron or chisel flat you can switch to the fine side of the stone grader and then polish the back to a mirror finish, if you want. I would say it all depends on what you're doing with the chisel or plane iron. If you're building pianos you want the mirror finish, but if you're mortising hinges for a barn door a mirror finish would be overkill.
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Offline Ken S

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Re: How to flatten a chisel back
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2017, 01:21:30 am »
SADW,
The name of the book is Planecraft. It was written by C J Hampton back in the heyday of hand planes. I think it was written for Record Tools, as it features them exclusively. It was reprinted by Woodcraft Supply, although I did not find it during my online search today. It was a Woodcraft staple for decades. It would be sad if it is discontinued. Here is a link to a copy on ebay:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Planecraft-Hand-Planing-Book-by-C-J-Hampton-1974-/132236080055?hash=item1ec9e273b7:g:A3cAAOSwOgdYvgdQ

It should be readily available used. IMHO, it would be worth the search.

Thinking about the function of a plow plane, I question the need for much flattening. Polishing, yes, but why much flattening. Unlike a bench chisel, the back is not placed flat in a groove or against the side of a deep mortise. I think I would try buffing the back of the blade you plan to use first with the leather honing wheel (if it does not have deep manufacturing grooves) and sharpen the bevel. At that point, try using the plane. That might be all you need.

Do keep us posted.

Ken

Offline RobinW

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Re: How to flatten a chisel back
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2017, 10:59:36 am »
There are websites:-

abebooks.com

abebooks.co.uk

who list secondhand books from various dealers (UK and USA and possibly other countries). There are various copies/editions/dates of:-

'Planecraft - Hand planing by modern methods'
by C & J Hampton

Thanks very much Ken - I have just spent this week's pocket money on a copy!

With regard to the original subject of flattening the back of a chisel, (or plane blade); I would recommend that it is undertaken on an oilstone; waterstone or float glass with abrasive paper, and work up to fine grades. I found it tricky to control a blade on the side of the Tormek stone and had a greater probability of applying a squint back, which in turn makes it more difficult when trying to get a square edge on the blade (induced angular offset - i.e. the back is not at 90 degrees to the blade edge). There are plenty of posts on this subject under SE-76 square edge jig. Also I do not know what the grit is on the side of the stone, and to get a really sharp edge the back should be polished up  - see the posts by Herman and others using magnifiers to examine the cutting edge and size of striations.

Offline Ken S

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Re: How to flatten a chisel back
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2017, 11:59:19 am »
Always glad to help relieve you of your week's pocket change, Robin. :)

Good post. My favorite sharpening book, by Leonard Lee, the late founder of Lee Valley, has a passage about the author's "great gathering" of wobegone chisels reserved for the rough work where refined chisels fear to tread. Not all chisel work is haute furniture. The knife guys would call these chisels "bangers". I am quite comfortable flattening banger chisels on the side of the wheel, and am not particularly worried about the grit. I polish with the leather honing wheel. It makes a very usable sharp chisel in short order. I have even removed a pronounced belly from a chusel with the face of the grinding wheel, checking frequently with a straight edge.

For my "Sunday, go to meetin'" best chisels, once I know they are reasonably flat, I am more traditional, prefering to use flat to make flat. Caution: the flat abrasive surface must be flat. It is good practice to flatten the stone just before using it. I generally use abrasive paper on thick glass. I believe the Tormek is capable of this task; I am just more comfortable doing this one time task the way I learned a long time ago.

As an aside, the pain in my hands from flattening a set of chisels was what convinced me to purchase a Tormek. I consumed a good part of my Norton 1000 grit water stone doing this. For anyone doing much of this, I would start with a coarser stone, around 600 grit. I would also only do this in short sessions. The real solution for this problem is to start with premium chisels, like Lie-Nielsen or Veritas, which leave the factory flat and requires only final polishing.

[Note to Rem: I actually do recommend products made in Canada by Canadians. I have often posted my belief that Leonard Lee's sharpening book should be part of every sharpener's library. His accompanying DVD has some delightful dry humor. I recommend both.]

Like all tools, the Tormek has strong areas and areas of less strength. It is absolutely my go to first choice for the bevels of chisels. I do use it for chisel backs, however, I feel it is not quite in its area of greatest strength for that.

Ken

ps When using the side of the wheel for flattening, use the universal support, setting it very close to the wheel. Keep the chisel close to the wheel. Work carefully. With the older switches, using a foot switch and beginning and ending with the chisel in full contact with the wheel helps. Sadly, this does not work with the new, improved safety switches. Having a helper man the switch solves this problem

Offline jspill

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Re: How to flatten a chisel back
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2017, 04:24:27 pm »
Thank you for the replies. I learned a lot from watching the video on how to sharpen a chisel. Since I have a lot of practice flattening backs on water stones I think I will continue to use that method.
Ken, thank you for recommending Leonard Lee's book. I bought it several years ago and it is excellent. Recently, I met Robin Lee at the opening of the new Lee Valley store in Niagara Falls Ontario. I told him I learned sharpening from reading his dad's book. Robin went on to explain how working with and learning from his father has made Lee Valley the successful company they are today. In my experience I have never heard a single complaint about Lee Valley's customer service.

Offline Ken S

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Re: How to flatten a chisel back
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2017, 04:49:38 pm »
I have been a satisfied Lee Valley for many years. I ordered a hanging dust removal unit from Lee Valley. The unit arrived damaged in shipping. The LV rep gave me three options: A full refund; another unit; or a fifty dollar credit. That qualifies as superb service in my book.

In a podcast, Robin Lee was asked to compare his tools with Lie-Nielsen tools. I found his answer both professional and astute. He said that Lie-Nielsen tools are classical music; ours are jazz! I was

impressed.

One of the great lines from the Leonard Lee DVD is when he describes a simple sharpening set up. When a tool merchant says he wants to keep the listeners "out of the clutches of the tool mongers", Sgain, I am impressed.

Among other things, Lee Valley is a Tormek dealer. A nice place to do business with.

Ken

Offline Herman Trivilino

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Re: How to flatten a chisel back
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2017, 02:18:16 am »
Since I have a lot of practice flattening backs on water stones I think I will continue to use that method.

Probably a good idea. I would add, though, that if you have a chisel with visible machine marks on the back it may save you a lot of time and effort if you start out using the side of the Tormek grindstone and then finish up with your water stones if desired.
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Offline Ken S

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Re: How to flatten a chisel back
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2017, 03:57:17 am »
Point well taken, Herman.

Ken

Offline Scott B.

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Re: How to flatten a chisel back
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2017, 06:29:05 pm »
I just used my T-8 (new) to flatten the back of a drawknife.

I have to say that in the future I will probably continue to use a modified version of the "scary sharp" idea to flatten the backs of tools.  I think it it is a faster method, especially for really long tools.


Offline Ken S

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Re: How to flatten a chisel back
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2017, 11:01:05 pm »
I would agree, Scott. The Tormek can do this, however, it may not be the ideal choice.

Ken

Offline Avenida

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Re: How to flatten a chisel back
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2020, 06:13:27 pm »
Necro posting here.

Hoping for answer rather than starting a new thread.

I have using the side of the stone to flatten the chisel, I can say that I am
Not a fan. My stone now lost some of parallelism and it has a slight bow on the side, only noticeable when it is on.

I dont think I can true the side, can I?

Once I am done with flattenning the back, I might go back to a diamond stone in the future