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Bench Chisels

Woodcarving is, after all, a sort of woodworking, and you'll find competence with general woodworking tools increases the repertoire of things you can do: joining pieces, cutting wood off, making a bench, quickly shaping a form and so on.

In this section of the website, I gather and introduce you to a few of the most useful members of my background supporting cast: just the most important things I think you need to know.


| 07 January 2020 10:30

Marvin - Thanks for the suggestion. Sorry to report that we have no plans to review the Tormek 'system'. There really isn't any difference in the approach to sharpening carving tools. Sure, the wheel is slower and water-cooled and thus is safer from a point of view of overheating the metal - all good. Tormek has a whole array of jigs, none of which, for carvers - will add to what I'm showing you on the site.

The important point is to understand what the tool - chisel, gouge etc - should look like when properly commissioned, find a way of achieving this and then crack on with your carving!

| 06 January 2020 15:55

I would like to see a video added where you review the Tormek Sharpening system. I have one and am looking forward to employing what I am learning in these courses using the Tormek.

| 24 April 2017 17:36

Oh awesome i was getting something completly different in german. Anyways im glad we got to the bottom of it. Thank you for your time looking into this as well.

| 24 April 2017 17:10

Mike - Mystery solved: If you go to the Pfeil website you'll find 'Längsgekröpfte' for longbent and 'Abgekröpfte' for shortbent.
Amusingly, if you put the German words into Google translate you get 'long-legged hip' and 'cranked' respectively.

Yes, I know. We have far too much time on our hands!

| 24 April 2017 15:58

Mr. Pye, I have an update to the previous question. I received an email from Pfeil as follows:

Dear Mike
Thank you for your request. a is short for the german word “short bent”, L is for “long bent”.
Kind regards

Now I have done a little looking into the German word for short bent and also found nothing starting with A in German.

| 21 April 2017 07:33

Mike - The first number is the sweep, in which Swiss firm Pfeil differs somewhat from the more common Sheffield list; so '2' here is a flat gouge like Sheffield #3. '12' is the width of the cutting edge, corner to corner.

The L and R means, as you say, it's skewed to the left - 'Links' in German - or right - 'Rechts'. Luckily for English speakers the letters L and R work for us here.
The 'a' means is Pfeil's designation for shortbent, also known as spoon or spoonbent, in its longitudinal form. I guess they just picked 'a' as being as good as anything because I can't make 'a' start a word in German, such as 'spoon' or 'bent'.
Feel free anyone to enlighten us!

There is a lesson on shortbent skew chisels here: Videos > Tools & Equipment > Shortbent Skew Chisels

| 20 April 2017 22:29

Hi there. I have a question about spoon bent gouges and how they are numbered. For example: 2a/12 or 2a/12 L or R. I assume the L or R is for a left or right skew, but what does the 'a' refer to?

| 18 November 2013 09:14

William - I never use a bench chisel other than for making a joint or a flat rebate for example. All carving tools, including chisels, have 2 bevels and it's the heel of the bevel that we really are working off. Without a heel - using the flat face - a bench chisel will always want to 'jig' itself to a flat face, great for joints. The carving chisel is really a different beast; working off the heel gives us a degree of flexibility in the plane of the cut which is vital in letter carving. Best thing is to try the two sorts of chisels and compare what they do!

| 15 November 2013 13:38

Chris. This sort of video is really helpful. I have found that the bench chisel will offer an alternative to the gouge in making outside cuts when roughing out or in lettering. What is your opinion?

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