Saturday, December 31, 2016

Lee Valley-Veritas PM-V11 Chisels

When I started into woodworking I wanted the best tools around. But realistically quality tools cost money, as we all know. Luckily I was fortunate to work at Woodcraft from the year 2000 through 2004. Lucky is somewhat questionable if I am going to be honest. Lets just say the discount I got prevented me from bringing home a penny of my earnings. I spent all my money on what ever tool(s) I could afford and thought I needed and made some poor choices. Sadly it took a while to realize less means more. Early on I also thought buying new was far better than at flea markets. Boy was I wrong! 

Fast forward to 2016 and here I am selling off excess amount of tools. There are days I feel that I am hoarder. Thank goodness that is over and done with. It is crazy how much stuff I've collected.What was I thinking!

Over the years there has been an uprising of tool makers. Each one making some amazing tools and accessories. Where were these guys when I first started! While I would love to buy everything each tool maker is making, I realistically can't. I am a full-time maker & restorer of furniture and I need to make proper decisions on what I truly need. The hoarding has stopped and I am tired of spending money.    

This leads me to the chisels showcased above, Veritas PM-V11's. I have used many chisels old and new, from Witherby, Greenlee, James Swan, Butcher, Stanley, Stanley Everlast, Marples (Boxwood handle), E.A. Berg, Marples Blue Chip, Chapman, Sorby, Pfiel, and Union. From all of these chisels none of them can compare to the Lee Valley PM-V11 chisels. 

These chisels are well balance, easy to sharpen, and hold an edge like no other chisel I have ever owned. Now I haven't owned any other modern made chisels ( Lie Nielsen or Blue Spruce). But from what I have owned the PM-V11 chisels are hands down the best. The edge retention is amazing. The edge of the chisel holds 3x's longer than A-2. 

My sharpening process is simple. I hollow grind on a baldor slow speed grinder with a 6 inch wheel at 27 degrees. I use a honing guide on water stones. I also strop every so often.  

Why 27 degree bevel? I use hard and softwood regularly and 27 degrees is a good working angle. 

Why use a honing guide? Simply because I know how to free hand sharpen which everyone should master. But also my hands are worked hard and a honing guide helps rest my hands. 

Why waterstones? Fast cutting. But I do own oilstones and diamond stones for other forms of sharpening. 

What kind of water stones? Sigma and Shapton. 

Really the message I am trying to share with you is save your pennies and buy the best set of chisels once. You will be happy you did. 



Dovetailed School Box Class at Lie Nielsen Tool Works

I have been blessed with the opportunity to teach at Lie Nielsen Tool Works on Saturday & Sunday, June 3-4, 2017. The class will be offered at Lie Nielsen Toolworks located in Warren, Maine.  Please visit the following link to see further information; Lie Nielsen Toolworks.

I will like to also thank Chris Schwarz from Lost Art Press for offering a similar class in pass years and for giving me permission/opportunity in offering this class.

The school box projects came to fruition from a book published by Lost Art Press titled, The Joiner and Cabinet Maker. I highly recommend the book and its one of my favorite books ever published.  

As with any project I try to make or teach, I like to visually break down the piece into basic elements. This is nothing more than a box that meet at 90 degree corners.  The wood of choice is eastern white pine. The joinery used to make the box are dovetails, which is nothing more than a jig saw puzzle.  The bottom of the case and the moldings are simply hand planed and nailed on. The hinges and cubby inside the box are nothing more than grooves and mortises cut to a certain length, width, and depth.  The School Box is nothing more than learning how to master hand tools and understand a systematic approach to making a box.

If all else fails we can always paint the box and no one will ever notice any of the so called issues you think everyone else will see. But really this box gets you the student/maker ready to tackle bigger pieces. For every single piece of furniture made is simply constructed with dovetails, miters, and mortise and tenon. 

Come join me as we explore the school box made all by hand with dovetails, miters, mortises, and dados. Oh and don't forget the nails.  

Tool List:

Below are some of the tools we'll learn about in the class. We encourage you to bring your own tools or buy the required tools when you get here, as there are not enough classroom tools to outfit everyone.Please do not bring tools in need of repair or major fettling – there will not be time to fully tune them for use during the workshop.Please keep in mind, the best way to guarantee available tools for the class is to call ahead with an order. Some items on this list may be specific to another toolmaker. 

Please call Lie Nielsen Toolbars with any questions. Note: The list below references tools Lie-Nielsen carries, though you are welcome to bring tools from other makers.

  • Pencils
  • Notepad
  • Marking Knife (X-Acto style, with extra blades recommended)
  • Flat head & Phillips head Screwdrivers
  • Hammer
  • Awl
  • Fret Saw