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Thread: I just don't get it

  1. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Mickley View Post
    I laughed when I read Klausz's method for hand mortising in a 1979 Fine Woodworking article.
    Warren,
    I don't think I'll be able to locate the article you mention, so what may I ask what was it about his technique for hand mortising that made you laugh?

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin Santos View Post
    Warren,
    I don't think I'll be able to locate the article you mention, so what may I ask what was it about his technique for hand mortising that made you laugh?
    http://www.finewoodworking.com/1979/...e-on-mortising

    The diagrams show the chisel being used to make a series of vertical cuts to the same depth, working from one end of the mortise to the other. They indicate that the cuts should be made using the back as a reference, and that the chisel should then be rocked towards its bevel to lever out the resulting vertical slabs of waste, effectively using the edge as the fulcrum (!).

    If you look at more recent video of Frank in action he now rides the bevel diagonally instead of riding the back vertically, and rocks the chisel towards the bevel such that the top of the bevel serves as the fulcrum to lever the waste, both of which are preferable to what the '79 article showed in my experience. I believe Warren does something along those lines as well.

    One thing to consider is that Klausz didn't actually create the problematic drawings from the '79 article. They're credited to Rick Mastelli who IIRC was an editor or staff writer at the time. The accompanying text that Klausz did write doesn't describe the specific chopping technique that he uses except to say that it's roughly similar to Ian Kirby's. Editors add filler like that to articles after submission all the time, and in this case it looks like they had a column to fill (maybe they didn't sell all of their allocated ad space that month?) and created diagrams until they had enough.

    So the bottom line is that while the article unquestionably dishes out some awful advice, I'd think twice before dismissing Klausz out of hand on that basis.
    Last edited by Patrick Chase; 03-15-2018 at 1:14 AM.

  3. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Allen1010 View Post
    Edwin thanks for your very insightful comments regarding what customers value from the Japanese and traditional European perspective and how that might differ with contemporary western consumers. IMHO, very helpful in understanding how those consumer preferences influenced woodworking techniques in different cultures.
    Not to go picking at nits but in all fairness to Edwin, it was Stanley who claimed or implied that the force driving the Japanese woodworker to excellent work was strictly crass commercialism. Edwin on the other hand clearly credits honor, beauty, integrity, constant self-improvement and all these high-minded ideals as the motivation behind the work. There is quite a difference between the two, although the one not necessarily exclusionary of the other and maybe Stanley and Edwin were just busy emphasizing two different points. Still we ought to keep the ideas of who said what straight and not go around mixing things up.

  4. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Chase View Post
    http://www.finewoodworking.com/1979/...e-on-mortising

    The diagrams show the chisel being used to make a series of vertical cuts to the same depth, working from one end of the mortise to the other. They indicate that the cuts should be made using the back as a reference, and that the chisel should then be rocked towards its bevel to lever out the resulting vertical slabs of waste, effectively using the edge as the fulcrum (!).

    If you look at more recent video of Frank in action he now rides the bevel diagonally instead of riding the back vertically, and rocks the chisel towards the bevel such that the top of the bevel serves as the fulcrum to lever the waste, both of which are preferable to what the '79 article showed in my experience. I believe Warren does something along those lines as well.

    One thing to consider is that Klausz didn't actually create the problematic drawings from the '79 article. They're credited to Rick Mastelli who IIRC was an editor or staff writer at the time. The accompanying text that Klausz did write doesn't describe the specific chopping technique that he uses except to say that it's roughly similar to Ian Kirby's. Editors add filler like that to articles after submission all the time, and in this case it looks like they had a column to fill (maybe they didn't sell all of their allocated ad space that month?) and created diagrams until they had enough.

    So the bottom line is that while the article unquestionably dishes out some awful advice, I'd think twice before dismissing Klausz out of hand on that basis.
    Klausz had no trouble nitpicking a previous article on mortising by Kirby; in fact it was his critical letter about this that led to his association with the magazine. If he knew the drawing was wrong, I think he would have made a fuss.

    Klausz also made a video on mortising shortly after the article appeared, which I watched at a tool store. The video covered machine mortising and hand mortising, so I did see him show his method in this video. I believe there were several different methods of machine work. For hand work, he was working very differently decades later.

  5. #35
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    The posts by Stanley and Warren now bring another question for me. If you chop verticle and then push an already cut chip out of the way doesn't that put less stress on the tip of the chisel then chopping down and then using the top of the bevel as a fulcrum to pry out the chip. It occurs to me that prying especially with Japanese chisels is not to be done.
    Jim

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by James Pallas View Post
    The posts by Stanley and Warren now bring another question for me. If you chop verticle and then push an already cut chip out of the way doesn't that put less stress on the tip of the chisel then chopping down and then using the top of the bevel as a fulcrum to pry out the chip. It occurs to me that prying especially with Japanese chisels is not to be done.
    Jim
    You bring up a good point. The location of the pivot point aside, using the chisel to flick cut chips out of the mortise-in-progress will not damage the cutting edge appreciably. With experience and attention, one can learn how to cut mortises to provide space for severed chips to displace into, where they can then be flicked out of the hole without unduly stressing the chisel's cutting edge. Usually, but not always in my experience, a V cut centered on the mortise works most efficiently for this.

    The problem arises when the chisel's cutting edge is thoughtlessly wedged tightly into the bottom of the mortise-in-progress, and then is used from this position to pry out unsevered wood. This puts a lot of stress on the cutting edge in its weakest direction.

    If you stop cutting at the right point, before the chisel wedges tightly, and then flick out the severed chips in one movement, your chisel and hammer will remain in constant movement, and you will develop a rhythm that will allow you to cut very quickly and precisely. Of course, your cutting edges will stay sharper longer. This is the way of cutting mortises I was taught by very senior professionals in Japan. I did not invent it.

    As I mentioned in another thread, if you doubt what I write, please test it in a controlled situation. I did. Very few make that effort, but just spout half-baked opinions. It is human nature to ask for advice, but to reject anything that does not agree with what they feel comfortable doing already.

    I should add one thing. I am generally critical of convex (rounded) bevels on chisel blades because it does not typically help precision, and is more time consuming to sharpen. However, as I have stated before in this forum, when cutting large/deep mortises, a rounded bevel is very useful for flicking out the chips. It makes it easier to rotate the chisel in a scooping movement as the cut is in progress and seems to pop the chips out automatically.

    In small mortises, however, the rounded bevel requires extra clearance to be effective, space that is often not available. In this case, the standard flat bevel is superior IMO.

  7. #37
    A few notes. You want to ride the bevel whenever possible. This puts the cutting angle at 60 degrees to the fibers. Cutting straight down (riding the back) cuts the fibers at 90 degrees. Also when cutting straight down, the bevel pushes the waste down into the hole, not the best strategy.

    When levering out waste you want to be working with loose chips, not prying stuff still solid. Penetrating deeply with a hollow ground or a secondary bevel causes the tip to become deeply embedded in solid tissue, where it is vulnerable.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Mickley View Post
    A few notes. You want to ride the bevel whenever possible. This puts the cutting angle at 60 degrees to the fibers. Cutting straight down (riding the back) cuts the fibers at 90 degrees. Also when cutting straight down, the bevel pushes the waste down into the hole, not the best strategy.

    When levering out waste you want to be working with loose chips, not prying stuff still solid. Penetrating deeply with a hollow ground or a secondary bevel causes the tip to become deeply embedded in solid tissue, where it is vulnerable.
    Excellent additional information.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Mickley View Post
    A few notes. You want to ride the bevel whenever possible. This puts the cutting angle at 60 degrees to the fibers. Cutting straight down (riding the back) cuts the fibers at 90 degrees. Also when cutting straight down, the bevel pushes the waste down into the hole, not the best strategy.

    When levering out waste you want to be working with loose chips, not prying stuff still solid. Penetrating deeply with a hollow ground or a secondary bevel causes the tip to become deeply embedded in solid tissue, where it is vulnerable.
    Thanks Warren. This is a very crisp and vivid explanation of proper method.

  10. #40
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    Exactly answers I wanted to see. There is so much written about having big heavy mortise chisels and driving them with so called lump hammers that it could be confusing. I always felt, right or wrong, that the large handles on mortise chisels and wide face mallets are there so you can watch the work progress instead of watching your aim for the hammer hitting the chisel. There are some cases where this is not true, such as a railroad spike hammer when it is more important not to hit the rail so the head is smaller than a sledge for busting rock.
    Jim

  11. #41
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    I should say here that I do cut straight down. The only time that I ever broke the tip on a mortise chisel was fulcruming off the bevel. I do listen to the sound that the tools make and stop when the tone changes. I also tend to lighten up on the downward pressure when levering the chip. That being said maybe I should mend my ways and try the other way again. I still don't know if I'm ready to take a steel hammer to a chisel tho.
    Jim

  12. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Mickley View Post
    A few notes. You want to ride the bevel whenever possible. This puts the cutting angle at 60 degrees to the fibers. Cutting straight down (riding the back) cuts the fibers at 90 degrees. Also when cutting straight down, the bevel pushes the waste down into the hole, not the best strategy.

    When levering out waste you want to be working with loose chips, not prying stuff still solid. Penetrating deeply with a hollow ground or a secondary bevel causes the tip to become deeply embedded in solid tissue, where it is vulnerable.
    This clarifies the issue for me very well. Thank you!

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Mickley View Post
    A few notes. You want to ride the bevel whenever possible. This puts the cutting angle at 60 degrees to the fibers. Cutting straight down (riding the back) cuts the fibers at 90 degrees. Also when cutting straight down, the bevel pushes the waste down into the hole, not the best strategy.
    Nice, succinct description.

    The approach in the FWW article is even worse than you say, because it shows the bevel being levered down even further at the end of the cut to "remove" the waste.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Mickley View Post
    Klausz had no trouble nitpicking a previous article on mortising by Kirby; in fact it was his critical letter about this that led to his association with the magazine.
    On a tangent, I've always had a soft spot for Ian Kirby's writing, though I don't follow all of his techniques. His dovetail book was one of the first hand-tool WWing books that I ever read.

    Kirby's article (the one Frank Klausz responded to) shows both approaches to cutting the mortise: http://www.finewoodworking.com/1979/...nd-tenon-joint. He also notes that the back-registered approach is best suited to cutting in layers instead of going to full depth all at once.

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