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I’d just finished putting a razor edge on a 1-in. round-handle carving chisel when I became acutely aware of just how sharp the edge had been honed. The chisel rolled off the front edge of the bench, fell straight down and sliced through both my canvas shoe and sock and into my unsuspecting foot. Although in pain, I felt lucky because the chisel narrowly missed cutting a tendon. That incident has since soured my interest in round-handle chisels.
It’s also one of several reasons why I like carving tools made in Germany by Lamp. The hornbeam handles are octagonal, not round, so the chisels are less likely to roll. In use, the handles felt comfortable in my hands. And the tools were nicely balanced.
The tools were ready to use right out of the box, with edges finely ground and polished. Unlike most carving-tool manufacturers, Lamp tests each tool for hardness. The steel is hard enough to hold an edge, but not so hard that it is difficult to sharpen. Then, before leaving the factory, the steel gets a thin coat of lacquer to help reduce corrosion and keep it looking new.
Lamp carving tools are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Each one has the blade type and width (in millimeters) stamped into both the shank and handle.
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