A little more ... tools and sharpening

Some more on the previous post, and other things.

Two cabinetmaker tools I use regularly on frames. Forefront, a low angle, block plane, used to chamfer a slight bevel on the back edges of frames, thus making the fragile edge more durable. Background is my favorite chisel, a one inch paring chisel, used for cutting glue off the backs of miter joints and cleaning the inside of the joint, in the rabbet area.

The block plane is also a favorite, from the Canadian firm of Lee Valley Tools. It is their own design and manufacture. Adjustable throat, set screws for keeping the blade in line, and a large, heavy blade. The smooth, rounded cap, and the indentations in the side make for a comfortable and secure, one handed hold. I have a small collection of block planes, usable antiques, but this is the one I grab first.

Paring chisels have a long, thin body, and are designed to be used much like the block plane, one handed in a paring type cut, pushed, by hand, not with a mallet. See here. They are designed to cut with the back flush with the work surface. I will also use this chisel when mortising for door hardware when hanging or refitting doors. Then, I do use it with a mallet, but if I really need to chop out some wood, I use a thicker bodied, general wood working chisel, especially in refitting work, where one encounters all sorts of trash. I have returned to the studio after a refitting, with one or more of my chisels "rounded" into a mangled mess, but never the paring chisel. Fortunately, I can restore the edge rapidly. I've been working with a small, neighborhood group, trying to bring back some of the old houses here, my specialty being doors and windows, a craft I learned as a very young man. It's satisfying to take an old door that won't open or close, and bring it back to "snicking" closed, as the latch settles in, and it gets me out of the studio once in a while.

A simple way of testing an edge, other than actually cutting something, is to lightly lay the edge on a fingernail, and feel the grip. If it's sharp, it will grip the nail.