Using a ground off chisel

For quite a few years now I have been telling people how I use ground flat chisels and other shapes. I have been to various big shows and still a lot of fine cabinet makers, tutors etc still haven't got the message which I find remarkable.

 

I turn a wood chisel or similar tools, upside down and grind the end square, as shown. This produces a tool capable of cutting very hard timbers and even metals in a way that can't be achieved with a conventional sharp chisel. This to some people sounds strange, but I can assure you it does work and I use it in my plane making.

 

Everyone who has tried it gets back to me and agrees that it works, some of my friends can't stop talking about it.

After you have ground it upside down the burr is at the bottom which is the top of the chisel, you ignore this, just turn the chisel the right way up and it is now ready to use, what could be more simple. After use it will go blunt, just turn it upside down, run it across the face of the grinding wheel and it is now sharp again. The whole process takes less than 5 seconds, repeat, yes 5 seconds.

Here I am using this technique on a piece of boxwood, exactly like you would use a sharp chisel. You can actually go across the grain with ease or even up the grain, You can not go up the grain with a sharp chisel.

I am using another ground flat tool for different jobs. A 3 cornered file to get into very tight corners, sharpened in exactly the same way, another 5 seconds, ground off gouges for doing concave and convex work. To go from concave to convex the gouge has to be sharpened twice, 5 seconds either way.

Because you are taking very small shavings off you can go right the way across the grain without breaking the harrises off.

This is a blunt chisel not the conventional sharp tool.

This picture shows me using a piece of guage plate ground off again to take out the finishing and leveling where the iron and wedge sit. I could have used 1/8" blunt paring chisel to do the job, but at this time I didn't own one. This was the only method to complete this task as boxwood, with it's interlocked grain would not accept a sharp chisel readily.

Sometimes it is helpful to clear a pad saw cut in progress by grinding the end, as with the previous tools, turning it upside down and clearing the cut of shavings. The drilling of the waste as in this picture shows I have now disgarded

I now use a chisel to remove the waste, no drilling.

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