Monday, April 11, 2011

Bevel Bother

'Tis a curious thing that as soon as I resolved that I was over the old tool rust hunting and would devote myself to clearing up the backlog of existing rust instead, I seem to have found myself regularly at the car boot sale. It's not entirely my fault, honest. But anyway, I've been very good and stern with myself for the last few weeks. No buying - unless it's something unusual, special, or otherwise ticks a "need" box rather than just a "want" one. 12 or 14 inch brace - yes. Another chisel just because it appeals to me - NO!

So it's extraordinarily cruel of the tool gods to deposit large quantities of lovely tools into the care of The Tall Scotsman, which he then spreads out before my wondering eyes, is it not? Chisels and gouges and auger bits and Disston this, that, and the other. Sigh. You can only push a person so far, and this one probably comes under the "might need one day, and wouldn't I kick myself then?" category.

A drawer lock chisel by I. Sorby, 5/8" and 5/16". Obviously ideally I'd have liked to find it in the rusty tool box of one of the household clearance guys and have paid 50p for it, but these things only seem to happen to other people. Who get up earlier...

As you can see, it requires some attention to its cutting edges - which'll have to wait until there aren't two boxes of chisels between me and my sharpening kit. But there's the thing; what should be going on with those bevels? Indeed, what goes on with drawer lock chisels and the orientation of the edges? The L-N ones are quite differently set up via-a-vis which way which width of edge points in which direction, but then is Chris Becksvoort's method the only way to use them? Garrett Hack in Classic Hand Tools, shows using one to fit the whole lock in the drawer, for instance. Now I looked at the double-sided bevel on the narrow edge of the I. Sorby and could imagine you might alternatively just mark the sides with the wide edge and then pop down a series of cuts the length of the mortise like it was for a hinge, or, well, a mortise. After all, it seems to me that the short ends of the mortise are much less important for fit of the lock bolt than the sides. No?

The outside bevel on the 5/8" edge though, that would just seem to be all wrong at first thought. But then I wondered "what's the difference?" If the edge was inside, you'd still have one awkward position where the body of the chisel would have to be facing away from you, but this way round the least awkward, and thus likely cleaner cut, is the one nearest the front of the carcass and thus most likely to ever get seen.

Or, should there be a second chisel? One with a single bevel on the narrow edge, and an inside bevel on the wide edge? Or should both edges be bevelled on both sides? I shall, naturally, be hitting the books on this one, but anyone with practical experience - or just a well-argued opinion - is welcomed into the comments box.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Alf,
    Is there a need for drawer lock chisels anymore? Almost all locks today come with some kind of strike. Purists can still get these locks, but why? I suppose then again, you may need them to mortise of the strike. An interesting puzzle of sorts.



Owing to vast quantities of spam this blog is getting, I'm afraid only registered users can post. All comments are moderated before publication, so there may be some delay. My apologies.