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Can't get my chisels or plane irons square with the se-76 jig

Started by 10Fingers, September 14, 2019, 04:14:00 AM

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Twisted Trees

Quote from: chaywesley on October 02, 2019, 05:19:20 PM
Now you've got me thinking that another approach might be to leave the adjustment knobs a touch loose to allow for some play, and just grind for square based on feel / muscle memory.

Does that make sense? How to you guys do it?

I used to think jigs should be graunched down tight, however I now tend to just go with lightly held with a bit of fineness in the muscle memory. For me it works better BUT I mostly sharpen woodturning tools and as I have said before in this forum that is a different sort of sharp! my expertise in any other tool is limited as I don't use them so much.

Ken S

Alan Holtham uses a word I really like, "fiddly", meaning something which requires a lot of adjustment. Assuming your chisels are properly ground during manufacture, after your first fiddly chisel setting, the rest should align easily.

First order of business: following the Tips and Techniques anchored as the first topic, order two 3/4" Irwin Blue Chip chisels. These are learning and sharpening practice tools. They are well made and priced very reasonably. Do not purchase a set; purchase two of the same width. Dedicate a sharpening session to just these two chisels. Work on the first chisel until you are satisfied that it is sharp and square. Do not short cut this process. Do not use it as just a prelude before sharpening other tools.

Having more than one identical chisel lets you compare the effects of different steps of grinding. (For the record, I have around a dozen of these identical chisels and have found them invaluable for comparing different grinding wheels.)

More soon, end of the day.


ps Regarding the SVD-60, I bought one so that I could sharpen a pig sticker mortise chisel if I ever acquired one. I do not regret the purchase, although after almost ten years, the jig remains ready to use, but never used.

I would sharpen short chisels using just the USB as a platform. Working carefully, you should be able to achieve acceptable angle control.


Quote from: chaywesley on October 02, 2019, 05:19:20 PM
So now you've got me thinking about how to use the SE-77 for non-cambered, square edges like chisels.  My approach has been to use the jig with the two adjustment knobs tightened firm, so it won't allow any angular deviation.  The challenge with this technique is the initial setting of the two knobs... the index mark on the jig isn't nearly fine enough (for me) to hit dead square on first (or second, or third) try.

Now you've got me thinking that another approach might be to leave the adjustment knobs a touch loose to allow for some play, and just grind for square based on feel / muscle memory.

Does that make sense? How to you guys do it?

Although it took me a few attempts to figure it out, I like the SE-77 jig for establishing the primary bevel on my chisels and plane irons.  Here is my procedure for establishing a 25-degree bevel on a chisel using the T8 and the SE-77.

1.  Set the USB 9mm above the grinding wheel.  I use a wooden spacer and adjust the height of the USB until it just contacts the spacer that is resting on the wheel.  This assumes the wheel and USB are parallel, but minor differences can be eliminated during the grind since the SE-77 can be adjusted.

2.  For the 25-degree bevel, I set the projection of the chisel to 38mm from the front edge of the SE-77.

3.  Completely blacken the bevel area with a permanent marker so any fresh grinds are readily visible.  This will be important to determine the direction to rotate the adjustment knobs to ensure a square grind.

4.  Start with the SE-77 index marks aligned and the adjustment knobs tightened.  I always keep all of the knobs tightened.

5.  Make one or two passes on the wheel and inspect the quality of the grind.  If you are lucky, the fresh grind will be uniform across the width of the chisel.  If not, make small adjustments with the two small knobs.  I loosen one about an eighth of a turn and tighten the other until it is snug.  You can blacken the bevel area again between adjustments as required to see the effects of the changes.

Trial and error will tell you which knobs to loosen to square the chisel in the jig, but it's important to do this early in the process while only a little area of metal is being removed. 

The next time I grind a chisel, I'll document the process and post the images.



I am new here. Based in Norway, got my T8 on Black Friday sale from ClasOhlson (if your are in the nordic contries you know the stores).

Anyway, the tormek is GREAT!!! but I am having trouble grinding a square edge. I have the one jig that comes with machine (SE-77). I have ground a few chisels and 4 planes. I am having consistent problems with squareness (if that is a word). The first was a blunder, the adjustment screws were thight but the setting was to the side (or squwed or how you say it). Then I ran in to the same problem twice, the blades are slightly narrower at the back than at the edge. It was difficult to see but when I checked the newly sharpened edge it was not square to the centerline. The plane had an adjustment lever so with that to one side (max setting) I am OK, but the question is;

I there a general procedure to grind a square edge on a chisel or plane blade that does not assume that the edge is square to begin with and take into account that the item may not have parallel sides?



Ken S

Welcome to the forum, MagneO.

Unfortunately, we live in a world which is not always square, plumb, level, or parallel. I installed a vanity sink in my bathroom only to find that the corner on the walls were not square. I had a cap installed in my truck and learned that the cab and bed of the truck were out of alignment. The carpenter who installed new windows in my home informed me that if he installed one of the windows level, the window would not be parallel with the ceiling. With chisels, as with these, we must compensate and fool the eye. There is no magic bullet to make an unsquare tool square.

That statement is not quite true. If the chisel is new, I would return it. If your primary desire is to use chisels to make things, a strong case can be made that your tool dollars are spent more efficiently purchasing fewer chisels of high quality than in spending hours trying to correct many poorly made chisels. You can correct improperly made chisels, however, it is a lot of work. I did this once with a nice old Buck Brothers chisel. It has an especially feel in my hand. I do not regret the hard labor, but I would not work so hard and long on ordinary chisels. Better to buy one half inch Lie-Nielsen chisel than a set of hardware store chisels.

Before writing this, I carefully reread the previous replies. It is time well spent; I recommend you do the same. i would pay particular attention to Robin W's advice to stick with one chisel until you have it right. Be kind to yourself and let that first chisel be around 3/4" (19mm) width. Narrow chisels can be quite frustrating for beginning sharpeners.

Sharpen the bevel last. First flatten and polish the back of the chisel. Start with the chisels you will actually use for cutting dovetails and finish paring. Get the backs right before you even think of touching the bevel. Fortunately, flattening the back is a one time job.

Go slow, check often. Once you get the hang of it, your chisel sharpening will become much more efficient.
Do not become discouraged.



thanks for your reply. No chance of me becoming discouaged. The results even if not perferctly square was MUCH better than anything I have acomplished before. It is the other way around, since I am not good at sharpening I really never did much of it. Now I feel that I am in control of the situation. The Tormek is easy to use, and I feel that I have learnt a lot from the few items I have sharpend already. Buying new tools is not on the agenda (not currently anyway :-)) since the point of buying the Tormek in the first place was to get what I and my father already have laying around back into working order. I think I will try get my hand on one of these small machinists squares, it seem to be possibly quite useful.

Regards, Magne

Ken S


Learning to use a Tormek is like learning to play a musical instrument; you have to train your fingers, ears, eyes and mind through practice.

I think a small square is essential. Use it as a "second opinion". Train your eyes to be your first "square". It takes only seconds to evaluate the squareness of your grind with your eyes. After you do this, reach for your square. You will be surprised with how accurate your eyes can be.



I find that when it is easy & fast to resharpen, I do so often.  And that makes my woodturning ever so much easier, better, & produces far better results.

Kind regards,
Rich Colvin - a reference guide for sharpening

You are born weak & frail, and you die weak & frail.  What you do between those is up to you.