I finished setting up the eight new Stanley chisels this morning and will put them to work on some dovetails on Thursday morning.
After re-grinding the three chisels that had their backs rolled over at the edge, the tools polished up quickly and nicely. They should – they are old school high-carbon steel. The box says they have some chromium in them (to help prevent rust I presume), but they don’t have the gummy feeling on the sharpening stones that some tools get when they have lots of chromium.
If I put aside the three chisels that needed re-grinding, I’d say that these chisels were easy to set up. Not nearly as easy as Lie-Nielsen chisels. But definitely as easy as an Ashley Iles chisel or some other quality brands I’ve worked with.
It’s not that the backs were dead flat. They weren’t, and they don’t have to be. The backs need to be flat enough to polish the steel up by the edge, and really no more than that. Whoever at the Stanley factory made this set was smart about picking out the tools after the heat-treating. Every one of the tools in the set was oriented so that the concave side is the back of the tool. None of the chisels were bellied (convex). A convex back is the worst.
So either Stanley is paying close attention, or I got lucky. Based on my past experience, luck doesn’t have much to do with it.
While the steel seems to be in good shape, the socket handles are making me crazy. They drop out of the steel socket with the slightest tap. None of my other socket chisels fall to pieces so easily. I knocked them with a mallet, but that didn’t help at all.
So I called up a trick suggested by Thomas Lie-Nielsen to fix them. Yes, I know the irony here is thick. You could cut it with a chisel.
So we shot a short video that shows the Lie-Nielsen fix. It works like crazy.
By the way, this is the first video that Megan shot and edited herself. So bravo, Megan.
— Christopher Schwarz
Hand Tool Books You Should Own
• I rarely say something like this, but there are two hand tool books in our store that I think every woodworker should have. They are inexpensive, but they are valuable beyond words. I need to write up formal reviews of these books. But until then, trust me. Buy these. I fought hard to get these books carried in our store.
“Woodwork Joints” by William Fairham
“Woodwork Tools and How to Use Them” also by William Fairham