Modify a Chisel for Cleaner Cornering
I can’t get my bench chisels to fit into the corners of dovetails when I’m chopping waste. Do I need different chisels?
Mike Love, Indianapolis, IN
A lot of bench chisels have beveled sides that end in flat sidewalls. They don’t pose a problem for most woodworking tasks, but they do make it difficult to get into the tight corners of dovetails. There are a couple of ways to get around that problem.
The easiest is to carefully grind the edges, extending the angles so the flats disappear. Angled sides will let you get right into corners, and you only need to grind the first inch or so. Go slowly and dip the tool in water to avoid overheating. Then polish the sides on fine sandpaper or a sharpening stone.
Refine the edges. Grinding away the flat gives you clearance to make clean corner cuts.