Sunday, February 1, 2015


I have been slacking again. My mind was occupied with skiing (loads of snow in the Alps) and I somehow never got around to do anything usefull in the workshop.

So, where did I left? Mortising chisels! This is how they turned out.

And how do they work? I only used the narrow 1/4" one, It's the long chisel on the right in the picture. I've cut four pretty deep mortises. The styles are 7 cm wide (almost 3") and I cut almost 5 cm deep. That is quite a bit and takes time. First round I don't get much deeper then 2.5 cm, and the deeper you get, the harder it is to get the waste out of the mortise.

I was a bit tentative. Usually I first plow the groove for the panel, that gives a nice start for the mortise. But I don't have any plow plane blade with the exact same width as these chisels. So I carefully start chopping, making sure to stay within the lines. Despite this tentativeness I managed to crack one corner allready! Luckily it was easy to repair with a bit of glue.

Here is my setup. The setup of a tentative men. A clamp on the front to prevent splitting. A holdfast to keep the style upright in its place. A caliper to measure the depth (not to the last 0.1 mm!, It's just a dandy measuring device). A narrower chisel to scoop out the waste. And two mallets, using the round one feels best.

The mortising chisel works very well. The enormous length is very usefull to keep square. The handle feels good and relaxed. The tapering of the blade helps to prevent the chisel getting stuck, but it doesn't feel too loose at all. The bevel is fine as it is and the edge is very durable in this stuff. No chipped corners or folding edge or whatever. I quickly sharpened one time, just to prevent mishaps, rather then to correct them.

And this is the result. Four nice mortises. It's a pitty they won't be visible in the final product.....


  1. Nice work. Very clean. Do you find it difficult to align your chisel with a round as opposed to oval handle?

  2. No not at all. They twist sometimes a little in the mortise but I think that is more due to the tapering in the steel. You can't really fight that with the handle anyway.Just relax and keep on chopping :-)

  3. I think I understand your question a bit more after thinking about it. It is about setting down the chisel edge square between the lines? I don't know if that would be easier with the oval handles, never used them. But I don't have troubles with these chisels. I look at the edge and set it on the wood, wiggle a bit until it is between the lines. As soon as you get a bit deeper you don't need this registration anyway because the mortise itself gives all the registration you need.

    And I am standing in line with the style to judge if I am still holding the chisel upright. So my ellbow is off to the left and there would be a twist in my wrist if the handle would be oval. So overall, I don't really understand how the oval handle would improve the function of the chisel.

  4. Euh, I mean elbow to the right of course.