Dang Those Lie Nielsen Chisels Are Sharp…
…but not in the way you might think. Sure the edges are B-E-A-utifully sharp, but I’m talking about the sides of the blade that are ground down to a very fine edge. This is great for dovetail work as you can get into those tight spots. This is one of my more artsy photos but you can see what I’m talking about with very fine sides.
The problem with those beveled edges is if you ever choke up on the blade you can slice up your fingers pretty easily. I am working on ball & claw feet for my Dunlap Chest of Drawers and I am rounding over the ball using a 1/2″ bench chisel. The straight chisel is really efficient for quickly shaping the ball and needs very little touch up afterward.
I am a white knuckle carver for sure and I grip my chisels tightly and choke up really high on the blade for the best control. I know I could stand to relax, but that will have to come with time and practice. I still have to remind myself to breathe every now and then too.
Well several hours into my carving session I realized that my fingers were starting to hurt and then I noticed a drop of blood on the front claw of the foot I was working on. A quick look at my hand and I had about 12 of what looked just like paper cuts on the inside of my first two fingers. It was then that I realized maybe I was gripping a bit too much.
If you look at my carving gouges they have nice rounded edges for comfort as I assume most woodworkers choke up for control while carving too. Needless to say I will not be grinding down the edge of my Lie Nielsens because they excel at what they do with joinery. I might just need to re-purpose one of my flat sided firmer chisels or go get a #1 sweep carving chisel.
Now I’m going to go gross out my wife with my lacerated fingers…