Dovetails and chisels - today

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Forum topic by Kirk650 posted 01-23-2017 08:36 PM 965 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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680 posts in 1629 days

01-23-2017 08:36 PM

I’ve had some LN chisels for a few years. Since then I picked up a couple of PM-V11 chisels and a couple of Pfiel. And today was dovetail day – hand cut only. All chisels had a fresh and equally sharp edge. The Pfiel edge didn’t hold up that well, but I resharpened and will try it again tomorrow. The PM-V11 edge didn’t seem to last any longer in Walnut then the LN chisels did. The LN’s held an edge and didn’t really needed sharpening, though all chisels got touched up. As far as use/ergonomics, those LN socket chisels are easily my favorite. So well balanced and easy to handle. I bought the PM-V11s to see if the talk about the edge holding of that steel was true. So far I can’t say that the steel holds an edge better than the LNs, but more chopping will happen tomorrow.

Making a Shaker style Keeping Box for my youngest daughter. I want this one to be the best I ever made, with the hand cut dovetails.

7 replies so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4593 days

#1 posted 01-26-2017 01:34 AM

Did you have to do much to the PM-V11 planes to get them up and running?

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1629 days

#2 posted 01-26-2017 02:19 AM

I honed them a bit, but I’m not sure it was really necessary.

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4642 days

#3 posted 01-26-2017 02:24 AM

I’ve been hand cutting dovetails using a Bad Ax 10” dovetail saw and Stanley Sweetheart socket chisels. The chisels came with a 30 degree bevel and after sharpening they have held the edge very well.

My half dovetail fronts have been cherry and curly maple, not exactly soft wood. The sides and back of my drawers are thru dovetails in yellow birch.

Seeing Frank Klausz cut dovetails at the WIA and watching his videos has been very helpful.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

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680 posts in 1629 days

#4 posted 01-26-2017 02:52 AM

In my other note on the Veritas chisels, I have come to the firm conclusion that the PM-V11 steel is a cut above (pun intended) the other chisels I have. The LN socket chisels, though they need sharpening a bit more than the Veritas chisels, are wonderful to handle and work with.

I put myself through a refresher course (books and videos) to get ready for this dovetailing effort. The end result came out pretty nice. Not perfect, but not bad. I’m very glad I did the refreshment. It mattered.

I need a new saw. Gonna get a Japanese pull saw. And I ordered another Veritas chisel, this one in 3/8. I am done on chisel buying now.

View BenjaminNY's profile


136 posts in 2283 days

#5 posted 01-26-2017 02:58 AM

The only thing I don’t like about the LN chisel is the fat cross section. But I only have one LN chisel and it’s a 7/16. Maybe in smaller sizes the LN’s are not as plump. I find flatter chisels are better for getting inside of dovetail sockets.The LN chisel I have is sturdy but it’s built like a damn mortise chisel.

View Derek Cohen's profile

Derek Cohen

507 posts in 4849 days

#6 posted 01-27-2017 12:22 PM

What size chisels did you use? Did you chop or pare?

I have tested a lot of steels and chisels. There is no doubt in my mind that PM-V11 significantly outlasts A2 steel in chisels.

This the following link I compared 4 chisel steels: PM-V11, A2, O1 and laminated white steel …

The laminated white steel just shaded the PM-V11, but these two were so far ahead of the others that they were not in the race.

Regards from Perth


-- Buildiing furniture, and reviewing and building tools at

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1629 days

#7 posted 01-27-2017 02:45 PM

Derek, I chopped and pared, using the PM-V11, LN, and Pfiel chisels. Chisel sizes used were 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 inch. The 3/8 was a LN, and my new 3/8 PM-V11 chisel will be here in 2 days – since it quickly became obvious that I wanted a 3/8 in that steel. Most of the ‘adjusting pins by paring’ was with the Pfiel 1/4 inch.

I think I read your article on chisel steels, and a very good article it is. That might be the article that caused me to want and to build a chopping board like you show in your photo above. Over the years, I’ve chopped on various boards and surfaces, but I wanted something better. The new chopping board is of 1 1/4 inch thick White Oak, with an end attachment that allows it to be held firm by an end vise. And I drilled 3/4 inch holes along one edge for use with a holdfast (similar to what you have shown).

For what it’s worth, I kept all my sharpening gear set up on an adjacent table, so I could use it as needed. I touched up the chisel edges as they dulled to the point that I could tell they needed work, and I found that all I needed for that was a Hard Black Arkansas stone and a strop with yellow jeweler’s rouge. I could not say that one steel was easier or less easy to sharpen.

You were a help to me, so thanks much. I’ve been dovetailing for years, but after all the recent research and chopping, it’s only now that I feel really competent. The job is complete and the chisels are again sharp.


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