The Theory of Chisel Monogamy


After I train woodworking, I discuss so much about monogamy. To not
your partner (that’s your downside) however to your instruments. I believe
it’s simpler to be taught to noticed, sharpen and airplane boards if you happen to
don’t leap round and use totally different handsaws, sharpening
techniques and bench planes.

And on the subject of chisels, I’m super-monogamous (no matter

I just about use one single bench chisel for nearly every part
– besides mortising. It’s a 1/2” chisel, and it chops each
dovetail (each tails and pins), it does all of the paring and
(with uncommon exception) all the installations.

After years of coping with full units of chisels in 1/eight”
increments, I referred to as it quits and offered these large units. I’m
right down to 4 bench chisels and one mortising chisel. Having
fewer instruments makes it simpler to maintain them, they take up
much less area, they usually go away you more cash to purchase good wooden and

In actual fact, over the last couple years, my ardour for one
chisel has radically influenced my advice on shopping for

The standard query I get about chisels goes one thing like
this: I actually need to purchase good chisels, however I can’t afford
them but. Till that day, ought to I purchase used chisels or considered one of
the nice cut price manufacturers, similar to Narex?

My reply was once: Purchase used. However purchase used with warning.

Now, it’s: Purchase a premium 1/2” chisel from Lie-Nielsen, Lee
Valley or one of many unbelievable Japanese makers. Be taught to tune
and love that one instrument. Then, once you come up with the money for, purchase
one of many different sizes that you just suppose you would possibly want for an
upcoming mission.

You would possibly like a three/eight”, a 1/four” or a three/four”. And after you get
these 4, you won’t want any extra. Heck, I not often use the
three/eight” or the three/four”.

I want I may say that this perspective crosses over into
every part in my woodworking. I nonetheless have a hammer monkey on
my again. I’m right down to 4 hammers that I take advantage of. I do know, I do know.
If hammers had been wives I’d be a lawbreaker in all 50 states.

— Christopher Schwarz

Wish to cull your instrument assortment right down to the instruments you actually
want? I wrote a guide about it in 2011 referred to as “The
Anarchist’s Tool Chest
,” which was named one of many 12
“must-have” woodworking books by Furnishings & Cupboard
journal. You may get a replica on the hyperlink within the
guide title.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: