Well this damning evidence that I've, once again, failed to resist the lure of a chisel was going to be posted last week. Then I bethought to myself, "Self, just how often do the tool gods provide one with an actual Sweetheart to rhapsodise over on Valentine's Day?" So here I am. But first, a poem:
Roses are occasionally red,
Violets are inaccurately described as blue,
If you were a chisel,
I'd be all over you.
extract from "All The World's a Chisel" by Anon. Unpublished.
So chisels. Me and chisels, eh? Total sucker for them. Sharp onna stick to some; lifelong attraction to me. When the Stanley "Sweetheart" 750 Series redux version first hit the shelves, I inevitably came over all Gollum and wanted precious. But I resisted, and even thought I'd kicked the hobbit. Er, habit.
My helpless throwing of money to Tom Lie-Nielsen for those chisels of his in O-1 continues despite my best efforts not to be a slave to sockets, but if I was to wait for him to divvy up with anything over 1 inch I'd probably be looking at it only with a view to inclusion amongst my grave goods. If I was an optimist. So, somehow, I rationalised the purchase of a 32mm (nominal 1.25in) Stanley, to kinda match the L-Ns. Sort of. If you squint. And scratch that itch of curiosity about them at the same time.
Despite being well behind the times on this, naturally I felt compelled to share my first impressions of it. So here 'tis. And yes, it is 32mm and not 1.25 inches wide; the seeker of imperially exact sizes must look elsewhere. In fact it only just about squeezed into the box along with the instructions. The former bears a Union flag and the charmingly elusive statement that the chisel is "Made in England with Global Components ™". This may possibly translate to a bloke called Trevor sitting above a kebab shop in Sheffield with a stack of boxes waiting to be assembled on one side of him and a pile of "Global Components ™" made by Mr Li Ping of Chow-Down™ province, south-east China to the other. Who knows? I expect Stanley have a whole department ready to shift production to wherever is most financially beneficial on an hourly basis.
The instructions comprise a whole page of closely spaced text (a side and a half) thanking you for your purchase and brief advice on how to stop the handle falling off. Viz: Hit it. Or failing that, rough it up a bit. With abrasives, not more violence. But it is in twenty-five languages, so it's nice to see Stanley are upholding their fine tradition of providing virtually no information but dazzling us with their linguistics.
Anyway, so much for the stick, on to the sharp bit.
The sides or lands are a little thicker than the L-N. Really I should have offered them up against an old Marples or somesuch *looks out of the window, where it's pi-, sh-, raining heavily, and decides to do without* Despite that I'd say it's still well within proper bevel edge territory, as opposed to firmer with the corners knocked off "bevel edge". Some folks might cavil and say it's still too thick, but personally I think they're fine unless you're deeply into the more pretentious narrower-than-a-supermodel's-ass DTs, in which case you're probably into more pretentious chisels too. And possibly into supermodels, but that's your lookout.
Veritas® Steel Honing Plates with some, um, 6µ diamond paste, iirc. Works very nicely, although I have some reservations over having more than one plate and grade of paste because of the risk of cross contamination. I may not be a sufficiently tidy and organised w'worker to pull it off successfully...
Anyway, as you can see, it done good. But now you may also be able to see the right hand corner of the edge, and that it's still a little shy of being flat. Le sigh. I'm not going to fret about it just yet, as I may well be opting to regrind the primary bevel anyway, and by the time I've faffed with that, chances are I'll have gone past that dip anyway. We'll see.
diamond lapping sheets that Lee Valley are stocking now. Much, much enthusiasm for same from them about the wondrous nature of this miraculous stuff, and I was inclined to be a little "Yeah, yeah, boys and their toys". But it is incredibly fast, and what a polish. They're good, and I'm slightly surprised I haven't heard more ooo-ing and aah-ing over them round about the wooden corners of the interweb. Downside is twofold. One is applying the things to a substrate without any grit or bubbles. Rather like applying a protective screen to an iPhone or iPad, and not advisable in the dusty conditions of a woodworking 'shop. Secondly is the inherent issue with all things "Scary Sharp" - you can't push, only pull, or you can kiss the paper/film adios. So good for honing guide use; not so hot for the technique I naturally favour if free-handing. Upsides? Fast, uber sharp, very portable.
Only time and use will tell how good or not the steel is, of course, but as things stand, I like this chisel. More than I expected to, actually. What I expected was to walk away, shaking my head and reminding myself that, socket chisel-wise, L-N pretty much own one of my kidneys by now for a reason. But the differences aren't as huge as they could be. It's not an L-N, but it appears to be a decent chisel, actually suitable for woodworking rather than a chisel-shaped device designed with opening paint cans in mind. Maybe I got lucky with the state of the blade, but you can only go on what's in front of you. The main niggle is probably the "Global Components ™" issue and use of "Made in England" when, most likely, it's not. Or not all of it. Or won't always be. Or might be sometimes, and then not. Or... Well, it's playing fast and loose with the tool buyer's understanding of what they're buying and I don't care for that. But that's not the chisel's fault. I'd send it flowers. Not a dozen red roses or nuffink; but definitely a mixed bouquet.
Y'know, somehow I don't think this method of tool rating is really going to catch on...