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2 Set the Edge

Step 1: Set the Edge


| 02 October 2018 16:47

Sienna - It's not uncommon for V tools to be 'winged', in other words, the corners stick out more than the apex. Winged tools give more of a slicing cut but, a you found the corners will be weaker. (There's a video on winged tools on this site. It's a personal preference but I prefer the corners to be square. a 'nosed' V tool is far less useful and tends to tear the wood. So, square or a little bit winged is what you are after.

How about making yourself a 20 degree angle from a bit of card or wedge of wood to help fix that in your mind? As long as it is more or less there you should be alright.

Lastly, Pfeil tools have 'conical keels' - another video on the site to look at - which I think is a real fault. You can correct it but that's not something a learner would find easy. So, if yours is like that, I'd get another. Ashley Iles or Auriou make well-shaped V tools

| 02 October 2018 14:50

Hi there! I had a chipped v-tool (Pfiel 12/6) that now looks nothing like it haha I had to remove a big chip that was caused by a broken nail in the wood, didn't see it when I was trueing the piece before carving :( I am really struggling with our bench grinder, and had two questions for you.
1. When squaring the tool, it looks like you have it pointed straight on wheel, but I also know that my Pfiel is intended to have the ears of the tool be at a 10 degree angle in front of the nose (apex) so I wasn't sure if that was supposed to be accounted for in the angle when I square it. I went ahead and tried to create that angle while squaring and it has made the tips verrrryy brittle and everytime I think it is ready to take to the coarse stone, the tips break off and I have to square again hahah. Let's just say the tool is not the same length it was before I started all this.
2. I am having a hard time finding 20 degrees, or any angle for that matter while shaping the bevels vertically, while moving the tool up and down to avoid hollow grinding. Is there any pointers you or anyone in the comment section could give as to how to find that angle? (Please note that my original bevel has basically been ground away in all the chaos so I don't really have a reference point from the original.)

I feel like I may just need to replace it but I also want to work through the problem so it doesn't happen again.

| 21 July 2017 11:31

Dwight - You'll find a video on 'winged' carving tools here: videos > tools & equipment > winged carving tools. (Or just put 'winged into the search box top left.)

Extending the corners like this is a well-known adaptation of carving tools: If all you are doing with your V tool (or deep gouge) is running grooves (or flutes), then extending the corners make a lot of sense.
However, for general use, where you need to set in or butt up to a flat face, the wings get in the way and a square edge is preferable.

| 21 July 2017 03:15

Chris, I'm wondering about the angle of the edge to the longitudinal axis of the tool. A carver with whom I've worked establishes an angled edge to his tool, that is, the corners of the chisels are forward of the edge of the v. This is a carver who works mostly with oak, fairly green, but still a harder wood than limewood. Would you feel that having a V-tool with forward-slanting "wings" would be of benefit in general, or would you feel that a perpendicular set relative to the long axis is best? My thinking is that the forward slant to the edges functions in the same manner as skewing a plane, which lowers the effective cutting angle of the iron. Your thoughts? Thank you!

| 09 May 2017 16:21

Josh - You should be able to see the part of the edge which is dull by looking end on to the blade for a spot of light. It does sound like it's the keel that needs touching up and sometimes it takes very little to tear the wood.
You don't need to add an inside bevel to the V too but, if you did while cleaning off the burr, it would only add to the strength of the edge.

And, yes, grinders can be a bit intimidating until you have experience under your belt. You can do all that initial shaping work on a coarse benchstone. It'll take longer but be far less stressful, so how about doing that?

I'm glad you are enjoying the workshops. Those 3 leaves look basic but, believe me, you are talking fundamental skills to build on and develop continually.
Best of luck with your carving!

| 09 May 2017 06:25

Hi Chris I purchased an Auriou 10 mil V tool and it needed to be commissioned. It was tearing badly when cutting across the grain. I followed the videos and I am still getting a small amount of tear in the bottom of my v cuts. So first question.. Am I sizing up my problem correctly in thinking that this is the Keel still needing tuning? And secondly.. Do I need an inside bevel on the keel? ...Also I feel extremely uncomfortable using my grinder.

The workshops are great about to start 3 simple leaves I am taking your advice and repeating the projects.

| 23 November 2015 21:12

Zachary - That's a good question; thanks for raising it! I'm demonstrating the full possibilities for commissioning but it's not always necessary. You are trying to reach a particular goal: the correct edge and bevel profiles, and you need to exercise some judgement as to what's needed to reach that goal. Sometimes, gouges or V tools need very little work (rarely none, but that could be the case), as you - count yourself lucky! At other times you need the full makeover, which of course you only need to do it once; after that it's maintenance. So, have a good idea what you are trying to achieve; check the tool and make an assessment; then do (only) what needs to be done.

| 20 November 2015 13:10

For commissioning a v-tool, what if the tool already has the appropriately low carving angle needed? I it has both corners, is square, and has the needed low cutting angle, is there a need to commission it (as there is no inside bevel)?

| 25 November 2014 19:57

Rebecca - Welcome on the path of woodcarving! I never had an electric grinder for the first 10 years I was carving so it's quite possible to get on well without one. Use the coarse stones just like the fine ones and see them as a step before, removing metal quickly. So square on coarse, polish on fine in exactly the same way. Set the bevels on the coarse bench and slipstones, refine and finish on the fine ones. A grinder just speeds up the initial metal removal.

| 24 November 2014 07:29

Hi Chris I am new to wood carving and finding out the first steps of how to sharpen my tools properly. You say if you don't have a grinder you can use a coarse bench stone. But the method is not shown here. Would you use the same principle of holding it vertically? Would you do this and pull backwards as in the next video about polishing? Thanks.

| 14 February 2013 17:07

Robert - I have heard that and it does make sense. It also begs the question, how hot is 'hot'? I cannot say I've ever noticed an effect, but then I never let the tools get more than finger warm. Glad you are enjoying the lessons - take it easy on the others!

| 14 February 2013 15:25

I was told by a fellow carver that dipping a hot tool into cold water will create microscopic fractures in the metal. Anything to that? By the way, the biggest drawback to your lessons is that it makes me want to go around constantly correcting carvers on proper tool handling:) Fantastic videos. Thanks Chris.

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