Out on the forum our beloved AceHoleInOne saw a post I made on the forum about sharpening chisels or plane irons or something, and someone had asked what you do if you can’t get them sharp. I said “send them to me” ~ so Ace did. Now, he’s got a set of “economy” ones (geez Ace!) but they will do. Just need to get them sharp. So I’m going to throw them on the Worksharp and they will be like razors. I’ll send Band-Aids back with them, because I know Ace will check them by rubbing the edge with his finger.
Yesterday when I was mortising the hinges in, I recalled a post on the forum where someone said they were not too good with a chisel, and I have seen guys really trash a mortise trying to chisel it. This may sound like a minor thing but it isn’t, and I feel sure alot of you know this. But for our new guys here is the one single thing that will help you more than anything, outside of having sharp tools.
Always mark your area of cut with a knife or razor cutter. Exacto knives work well. The reason? First, it will give a fine, precise line. Second, the cut will support or hold the chisel edge so you get a clean cut, and an accurate one. And third, it precuts the wood so chipout isn’t an issue.
Try using a knife to lay out your mortises and dovetails. On dovetails, remove the waste and leave the line, then “pare” to the line. Where you place the chisel in the cut and slice downward. Another trick is to mark both sides of the board and chisel from both sides. Helps keep you straighter. Another is to clamp a board along the line and use it to help keep you straight (vertical).