Dovetail chisels DIY (skewed, fishtail and left, right dovetail versions) blog #3: *Honing the chisel blades to new shapes *

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Blog entry by mafe posted 01-12-2011 03:23 PM 16863 reads 4 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: *Chisel handles on the lathe * Part 3 of Dovetail chisels DIY (skewed, fishtail and left, right dovetail versions) blog series Part 4: *Fitting handles on the chisels * »

Honing the chisel blades to new shapes
no cut, no pain

This first part will be how to make the new bevels, and hone the blades.

Where we ended last, with the old chisels and five brand new home made handles.

One of the old blades, as you can see some of them needed a helping hand…

With a marker I draw my layout on the blade, this one for the fish tail.

Time for that Dremmel tool to get running again. I use this because they are quite fast, and do not produce too much heat (relatively).

I said relatively much heat, since I was nervous to lose the hardening of the steel, I dipped in water all the time, I held my hand on the iron, and when it was too hot to hold I dipped it (app. on million billion times I think…).

Almost done!

The edges after the Dremmel tool, were quite rough.

But a quick tour on the stone, and it was fine.

So time to run that water grinder, and my finger…

When you hold your finger long enough on the side of this you start to bleed, and when the edge of the chisel comes to life you should not touch it – I tried both, learning by doing, again and again (no cut, no pain)!

Separate the blades from the old handles (my chisels were forged tang models).
I used two methods; to saw it on the band saw, this might destroy the saw blade, so I stopped after the first.

Then I simply put the handles into my metal vice, and tighten it until it crushed the handle, this was quite effective, and I was able to take out the tangs, I even managed to save the brass ferrules for other projects (I love recycle).

Here we are; blade ready for next step, after a little cleanup of the tang.

Here the marking up for one of the skewed chisels.

And then Tour De Dremmel.

Back to the water grinder, now in skewed angel.

Ok, I admit to be so lazy I can do really stupid things…

This was an attempt to let the machine do the work for me since I have troubles with my arms, and cant to well do repetitive moves (due to neck operation).
So I build this crazy setup to let the grinder run without my help!
It did not work at all, not enough pressure.

But I did not give up…
So an elastic band and the machine could work alone while I was smoking my pipe.

Just one more for the laughs.

Back to reality MaFe!!!

Free handing the new low beveled sides of the dovetail chisels.

Here a good part of the way.
It takes quite some time, so I would recommend to find some beveled to start with, but it was possible.

Finally all the blades ready, it was a big work, and took several hours in total, but I have no doubt they will be worth the trouble for many years to come.

Here a update on the fishtail chisel, I grinded the sides also, so it can clean up the bottom of the dovetails, and get into all the little places.


I’ll split the blog up here, so it does not become too long for a ISDN connection…

Press here for part four.

Hope this winged dovetail tour can be to inspiration,

Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

9 comments so far

View bigike's profile


4057 posts in 4408 days

#1 posted 01-12-2011 03:37 PM

very cool, i know your saving alot of money by making your own hand tools.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 3900 days

#2 posted 01-12-2011 03:38 PM

Oh my.. L.J’S HE’S AT IT AGAIN !!
MaFe you’re realy outdoing yourself ! I’ve gone through the sequence of the three postings, fine work my man !
It realy is quite amazing what can be done with minimal workshop and tools and you’re proving it almost daily..

(I’ll save Kelly for you…yes Mafe they do have nicely shapped ifs or ands about it ! )


-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View DaddyT's profile


267 posts in 4629 days

#3 posted 01-12-2011 05:25 PM

I spit coffee all over my computer screen when I saw your holding device ( bungee cord ). That was funny. But look how well it worked!! You never cease to amaze me Mads.

-- Jimi _ Measure twice, cut [email protected]#%#[email protected]!!!......measure twice, cut....

View HerbC's profile


1820 posts in 3978 days

#4 posted 01-12-2011 05:43 PM


Great blog and project, even with any entendres…

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4234 days

#5 posted 01-13-2011 01:03 AM

small sledgehammer and a bongeecord combiened with a powertool
yes you realy know how to bring smiles , laughter and the sun on everyones face´s ….LOL

great toturial Mads
and you are right no pain no game :-)

take care

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 4053 days

#6 posted 01-13-2011 07:06 AM

Neat technique with that sledge hammer.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View mafe's profile


13202 posts in 4208 days

#7 posted 01-13-2011 07:01 PM

Hi again,
Ian, are you following me!!! I laugh. Yes the sledge hammer should perhaps have been planted in my head instead, lazyness sometimes seem to be with out borders. Smile.
Dennis, you again? Yes I took the risk and made a fool out of myself, by posting my stupidity. I do not take mny self too seriously, after all I’m only – hmmmm – me.
Herb, ;-)
Jimi, yes it actually worked with the bungee cord, sorry! Hope your keyboard are ok…
Glen, I smile all over the face now, all the way to my ears, thank you.
Ike, yes and also I dont have to test my woodworking abilities as I keep my self busy…
Best thoughts guys,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View mafe's profile


13202 posts in 4208 days

#8 posted 02-02-2011 04:30 PM

Now update with new sides on the fishtail chisel.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4234 days

#9 posted 02-02-2011 04:49 PM

thank´s for the update Mads
looking very good :-)

take care

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