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When I worked at a liquor bottling plant one summer, the bosses found out I was in college and decided to put me in charge of the robots.

I had to summon the robots from the warehouse, pick up an entire pallet of coffee liquor with a giant robot arm and load it on the little scurrying buggers.

Oh, I also forgot to mention something: I know nothing about robots.

You know where this is going. Almost immediately I dropped eight cases of Tia Maria on a robot, destroying all the liquor and making the robot , no lie , weave like a drunken hobo the rest of the summer.

I’m more cautious now. And I always like to practice new techniques before I dive in, chisels blazing, on the most visible face of a real workpiece. This caution is one of the few benefits of getting old (at least until I qualify for senior discounts on Grand Slam breakfasts).

So I’m about to start cutting stop-chamfers on the stretchers of my workbench, a detail I have been too busy to add. I’ve cut plenty of stop chamfers with a router or a drawknife, but I wanted something different. I wanted each stopped 3/8″ x 3/8″ chamfer to terminate in an ogee.

So I made a pattern and began practicing on some 2 x 4 scraps. First by removing all the material with a chisel, which is slow. Then by wasting away most of the wood with my Stanley No. 65 chamfer shave. Don’t get one. They stink. Sure they leave a beautiful and consistent surface, but you don’t want one. Yes, they are easy to sharpen and use, but your spouse says you don’t need one.

After three chamfers and six ogees (cut freehand with a chisel) I’m ready to tackle the bench itself.

I love practicing. And robots like it when you practice, too.

– Christopher Schwarz

Tool Resources You Should NEVER Use

– Don’t sign up for Patrick Leach’s newsletter here. In fact I think you should simply block that site and all his e-mails. You do want to stay married, don’t you?

– Also, in the interests of continued co-habitation, avoid Avoid his daily newsletter , the sign-up box for that is on the right side, so tape your right eye shut or something.

– However, your spouse gives you permission to purchase the book “Handplane Essentials,” a made-in-America compilation of my writings about this important tool during the last 10 years. And free shipping in the United States.

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Showing 13 comments
  • Christopher Schwarz

    Nope. Haven’t seen it. Sorry.

  • Chris have you seen the Chisel DVD from David Savage @ Fine Furniture Maker? I have been thinking about getting it, but thought I would ask first.

  • Martin from Texas


    Could you show us how you make lamb’s tongues?

    Maybe a video on the PWW website?

    Or a magazine article?



  • Christopher Schwarz

    It’s a Lie-Nielsen. The Stanleys have not yet arrived.

  • TV

    Is that the Lie-Nielsen or the new Stanley chisel resting there next to the useless, unwanted #65?

  • Jim

    From the title I thought this was the start of a new campaign against chamfers and brown liquor. Glad to see Chris hasn’t lost his mind after all.

  • Christopher Schwarz


    Good tip. I used a coping saw this morning and it did speed things up a bit.

  • jim bode

    when i cut the chamfers on my ivory ultimatum brace i found the fastest way to remove the bulk was a coping saw. when removing bulk always think of the axe and chainsaw then reduce to the fastest reasonable alternative.

  • Well I’m a dufus. I re-read your article and then realised you were being sarcastic about the 65.

    But it really is a great tool.

  • Christopher Schwarz

    I really like the No. 65. I have to work on my sarcasm.


  • Gotta disagree with you on the Stanley 65. I bought one a while ago and I have been using it to making chamfers on a bed I’m building. I think it is a very useful tool, for me as I probably don’t have the skill level you have.

  • Mike Siemsen

    That is a lamb’s tongue.

  • KeithM

    I’ve heard that "ending ogee" called a "lamb’s tongue." Ever heard that, or do I have it wrong?


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