01 February 2010

Paring chisel

I discoverd Roy Underhill's site and broadcasts this weekend. I am impressed by his sometimes encyclopaedic presentations,  in some ways he's Pieter Bruegel's younger brother.  A good example is the presentation about dovetails. ( Later on I discovered he did a similar presentation also with Frank Klausz ,  as shown on the video excerpt on Sandal Woods)

One of the techniques presented is the use of a paring chisel.  Described as a thin long chisel, that should not be abused by a mallet.  Holes for example are squared by using a narrow paring chisel pushed downward. Looking the way Roy uses the chisel there is a reason for the length.  When paring the arm is completely bend with the elbow close to the body, and the chisel is rather pulled downward and not pushed with stretched arm.  Resting the shoulder on the chisel could be used for extra strength,  but I doubt he does it, as it does not seem very precise.  The extra advantage of bend arms is that the eyes are closer to the working surface.

Paring chisels are not in all catalogues, although I did find a reference on the Axminster (UK) site.  The price seems two times that of a standard chisel.  Luckily Lie Nielsen paves the way to a cheap alternative (...?).  Their version of paring chisels are very sturdy long handled models.  So following this road,  a possibility is to replace the handle of a standard chisel with a longer one to make a paring chisel.  The remaining problem would be the need for high quality sharpening, but that's another story.