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Hollow Mortise Chisel Recommendations: Vintage or Modern

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  • Hollow Mortise Chisel Recommendations: Vintage or Modern

    With all this spare time indoors lately, I've decided its time get my mortiser up and running. Its a vintage Preston and came with one chisel, a 1/2" made in USA Greenlee. In my research this is considered an "English Pattern" and is of good quality. This chisel needs to be sharpened and I do not have a cone/reamer to do so, and from my understanding, sharpening cones/reamers are difficult to source for English Pattern chisels. I thought about modifying a stone sharpening cone to the correct angle(which angle I'm not sure of) and give it a shot. The thing is, I want to expand my mortise chisel tooling also.

    As much as it pains me to do so, I'm thinking about abandoning the vintage tooling option. I know the quality is good but without a readily accessible means to sharpen I see no other choice. I'm leaning towards what Lee Valley has to offer, Japanese style with matching sharpening cones. Also my machine is equipped with a VFD so speed can be dialed in for whatever speed is optimal.

    Surely I'm not the first in this dilemma. Keep in mind this is a hobby for me. High end tooling from the UK is probably overkill, but I have no interest in most of the junk offerings on Amazon. I'm just curious what others have settled on. Thanks.

    Donovan
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  • #2

    Re: Hollow Mortise Chisel Recommendations: Vintage or Modern

    I have accumulated a lot of English hollow mortise chisels from tool sales etc.
    People don’t know what they are and have no idea of what they’re worth, most have been new in the box.
    That said we did a resto on a 1900s steam yacht a few decades ago and at the time I was managing a local wood tool and machinery shop.
    I borrowed Japanese chisel turned up a steel adapter and the boatbuilders did hundreds of mortises in teak for the main cabin.
    Ive used a dremel with a small stone for sharpening in the past.
    H.

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    • #3

      Re: Hollow Mortise Chisel Recommendations: Vintage or Modern

      No clue but I am in the same boat.

      Ive got an awesome cote mortiser that needs to be taken apart and cleaned....but the chisels dont match either of the sharpeners that lee valley sells.

      Nathan

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      • #4

        Re: Hollow Mortise Chisel Recommendations: Vintage or Modern

        Donovan, how large a chisel shank will your Preston mortiser accomodate / how big do you want to go? I think the LV & Asian chisels are typically 1/2" or 5/8" shank for chisels up to 5/8", whereas US & English chisels go up to 3/4" or 7/8" shank for chisels up to 1-1/8". Chisel collets in the Greenlee pattern are usually 1-3/8" OD. Is that what your Preston uses?

        Your ability to dial down speed with a VFD makes your mortiser much more adaptable to various tooling.

        As you mention, modifying a stone to suit a particular chisel is what I've done, with further tweaking from a Dremel.

        I use mostly vintage US / British tooling. I've tried the LV diamond hones and didn't find them particularly helpful.

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        • #5

          Re: Hollow Mortise Chisel Recommendations: Vintage or Modern

          It uses 5/8 shank chisels. I removed the collet and had an adapter machined to accommodate a Jacobs chuck. I think this set up would be more versatile.

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          • #6

            Re: Hollow Mortise Chisel Recommendations: Vintage or Modern

            I have the Japanese ones for my Wadkin DM. They work absolutely fine and better than the cheap Chinese option.
            MartyFromKingston likes this.
            sigpicToday's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut, that held its ground.

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            • #7

              Re: Hollow Mortise Chisel Recommendations: Vintage or Modern

              which Japanese ones,. the lee valley best ones are undersize. The augers dont fit the standard sizes on the Robinson and it shoiuld be like the Wadkin. Every other brand of of chisel and auger I have are standard sizes. 1/8 3/16 1/4 augers, lee stuff all undersize.

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              • #8

                Re: Hollow Mortise Chisel Recommendations: Vintage or Modern

                Undersized in what manner? Chisel shank diameter?

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                • #9

                  Re: Hollow Mortise Chisel Recommendations: Vintage or Modern

                  Originally posted by Donovan View Post
                  Undersized in what manner? Chisel shank diameter?
                  Probably chisel width, mine appear to be metric which is fine as I make the tenons to match......Rod.
                  Work is the curse of the riding class.

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                  • #10

                    Re: Hollow Mortise Chisel Recommendations: Vintage or Modern

                    the augers are undersize, the set screw that locks the auger in the collet then pushes the auger to one side of the hole as the auger is undersize. I have Wadking, Forrest, Clico or Greenlee and non of them have issues. The outside chisel is fine and cut well, ideally they would have longer length like Wadkin did where they offered two lengths. Good tool and die maker I know would have made me up collets doesnt his shop now, easy for him to do and accurate in all ways. Jack has likely made them up.
                    Last edited by Sawdust; 03-28-2020, 03:30 PM.

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                    • #11

                      Re: Hollow Mortise Chisel Recommendations: Vintage or Modern

                      Ok I follow now. I swapped the collet for a Jacobs chuck which should eliminate any variances in auger diameter.

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                      • #12

                        Re: Hollow Mortise Chisel Recommendations: Vintage or Modern

                        Is there any one in Canada who offers sharpening for them?
                        It would make my life easier to have my chisels professionally sharpened. Then I would only have to maintain them.

                        Nathan

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                        • #13

                          Re: Hollow Mortise Chisel Recommendations: Vintage or Modern

                          There is info on the fish net, likely you can do better than them as you can put more care in than they will. Then there is a difference between sharpening services in how well they do it and fine they go. Jack might have a video if not some others do.
                          nnieman likes this.

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