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Problem

I need to regrind new bevels on some old worn-out chisels, without using free-hand techniques, which I know how to do already. After some belabored research on grinding jigs, I purchased a Veritas® Basic Grinding Set1 for use with my 6" grinder. However, the chisels I have vary in length, but most/all of them are quite short. In actual use, during setup, I very quickly ran into a problem in the setup, where the short chisels do not fit the jig, without pushing it forward so far as to then throw off all of the dimensions that are required for the jig to work.

Is this just my not knowing how to properly set up the jig? Or, is it due to the design assumption, by Veritas, that the jig would only be used by chisels with long shanks?

Details

Veritas Basic Grinding Set problem with short chisels 1.png

Veritas Basic Grinding Set problem with short chisels 2.png

Veritas Basic Grinding Set problem with short chisels 3.png

Veritas Basic Grinding Set problem with short chisels 4.png

Veritas Basic Grinding Set problem with short chisels 5.png

Solution/Options

Some solutions I'm considering are:

  1. This is just my ignorance in setting up the tool. If so, what is the proper setup?

  2. Donate/sell the short chisels, and buy longer, higher quality chisels that will fit the Veritas Grinding Jig. Definitely a viable option, as I don't see any issues with the Veritas, if this was by design.

  3. Only return just the Veritas® Grinding Jig, keeping the Veritas® Grinder Tool Rest, and build2 my own jig to use with the Veritas® Grinder Tool Rest, using suitable plywood/hardwood/aluminum/steel. Not too difficult, but I don't want to spend the time on that unless someone can convince me that it is the best option.

  4. Return the entire Veritas set, guide plus jig, and research some other vendor's sharpening guides and jigs. Feel free to comment on guides you know will work with both long and short chisels plus plane irons, but this is not intended to be a tool recommendation.

  5. Return the entire Veritas set, guide plus jig, and build2 one from scratch. There are tons of videos and design plans out there, but, this is a last resort as it is just more time spent building tools to do woodworking, versus well, just doing woodworking.

Update #1

Graphus's comment was:

1st and most important is, do the problem short chisels all need to be reground or do you just want to?

Yes, and the grinder comes into play because I want to avoid manually regrinding them on diamond stones. Examining each of the chisels closely, I found that, over the years of abuse, I've honed and rehoned each of them to the point where the entire bevel needs to be reground. Basically, what should be a microbevel is actually a rather large macro bevel, on all of them.

I will also consider the possibility of using my Extra Coarse diamond whetstones to do the coarse work. But from experience, that is a lot more work than using a grinder, that is, only if I can relatively quickly set up the chisel on a/the jig.

Graphus's comment was:

Can the jig be moved inwards so that the grinding wheel comes forward, in fact just shy of kissing the rear of the slot? This strikes me as being the main setup change that could resolve most issues, but the grinder or the base of the jig could easily not allow it.

I could and did get close, but that turned out not to be viable, because the upper-left handle bumps up against the grinder housing. I even tried moving that handle over to the right side, but it runs into the lower-right handle. See this photo:

Veritas Basic Grinding Set problem with short chisels 7.png

I also reconfirmed the problem I detailed in the second image above: In order to adjust the chisel's angle of attack onto the grinding wheel, such that it meets 1/2 way up the bevel as per the instructions4, I indeed had to push the chisel so far forward, that the conical part of the back of the chisel abuts up against the jig top plane, tilting the chisel upward even more, throwing off the invariants the jig uses in those instructions. Thus, for these short chisels, I've concluded that jig part is not really applicable.

So "but the grinder or the base of the jig could easily not allow it" is the case here.

I neglected to show the condition of the chisels in the original question, so updating this now: This isn't a great photo as it doesn't really show the bevels with any degree of resolution, but you can kind of see the "macrobevels" from the light reflection, in this photo:

Veritas Basic Grinding Set problem with short chisels 6.png


1 There are many viable options, but my read of tons of Amazon reviews led me repeatedly back to the Veritas as "the" best here. Of course, I have diamond whetstones of varying grits and a honing wheel to do the final stropping.

2Building tools is fun, and I have no problem with that at all, but I do want to avoid needless Yak Shaving3 or filling holes in buckets requiring tools that require buckets that hold water, etc. etc. It might have taken me just as much time to type up this SE post as it would to have just built my own from scratch. :)

3 Definition #2:

A less useful activity done consciously or subconsciously to procrastinate about a larger but more useful task.

4 Click on the "Instr" link at the bottom of the page at Veritas® Grinder Tool Rest, second page in the PDF.

  • Hi welcome to SE and congrats on a very thorough, well-written Question. I think bottom line is you've correctly identified what the issue is. There are essentially fatal flaws in the Veritas jig that limit its usefulness. Almost all sharpening gizmos have some in-built limitations.... commercial jigs in particular. Rather than pen a detailed TL;DR Answer that covers almost everything right now I just wanted to check a few things since you're stuck, 1st and most important is, do the problem short chisels all need to be reground or do you just want to? [contd] – Graphus Jun 2 at 6:01
  • Can the jig be moved inwards so that the grinding wheel comes forward, in fact just shy of kissing the rear of the slot? This strikes me as being the main setup change that could resolve most issues, but the grinder or the base of the jig could easily not allow it. – Graphus Jun 2 at 6:10
  • @Graphus Thank you for your insightful questions. See Update #1 that I have added to the question text. – bgoodr Jun 2 at 23:37
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    Re. the Extra Coarse and how it's a bit slow if you were trying to do this work by hand, most brand-name coarser plates don't really justify the use of that word and are more realistically in a medium range. To get a really coarse diamond plate (150 or below) I think you may have to go with a non-brand but I'm not up on what's available in diamond plates these days because I have no interest in this end of the market. – Graphus Jun 3 at 8:58
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    The fastest cutting stone that I've found is the coarse Norton Crystolon oil stone. It's much (much!) faster than my DMT "extra coarse" diamond plate. Also, it's quite cheap at $20 and stays flat pretty well. – SaSSafraS1232 Jun 3 at 16:46
3

My initial main suggestions were going to be one of the following:

  • move the stand closer to the grinder, so that the wheel more fully engages with the slot created for it (note: the wheel being very close to the edge of any tool rest is considered important for safety)
  • insert a packing piece/shim to raise the chisel, allowing the handle end to clear of the rear edge of the rest.

Since the first (the more desirable option) turns out to be impossible for you my immediate thought was to do the opposite, taking advantage of the rest's ability to tilt in either direction. Many pictures of the Veritas Grinder Tool Rest are of it angled in this direction, although just now I could only find this small one on Highland Woodworking illustrating it set up with a grinder to show this most clearly:

Veritas grinder rest, set back

Your last picture in the original post I think shows you have enough bench real estate to do this.

I can't quite tell from the photos whether this will do enough for you now, but I think it might. Now because of the depth of the 'bed' of the rest this isn't a permanent solution since as your chisels get shorter the problem area will get closer and closer to the cutting edge. However for most people this kind of wear takes years (literally decades in the majority of cases) so while not permanent it shouldn't be considered a short-term fix by any means.

Re. a real or perceived need to grind here's a progression of observations/realisations:

  • Bevels don't need to be pretty for the chisel to work.

  • Bevels don't need to match across a set of chisels1.

  • A shallower primary bevel AKA primary grind angle is largely a convenience for fast honing, it's not mainly for chisel performance.

  • Hollow grinding isn't the norm everywhere so clearly it isn't a must-do.

  • Bevels don't need to be at any fixed angle. A few degrees out either positive or negative has basically no effect [This is a key observation in relation to your worry about chisels being tapered in thickness and how this throws off the grinding angle.]

  • If using a primary/secondary bevel sharpening routine, the primary bevel largely doesn't do any work. The cutting edge is responsible for >95% of the way a chisel performs, 100% in the case of paring — two similar chisels, one with a 20° grind and another with a 30° grind will pare exactly the same if both are honed at the same angle2.

  • Some woodworkers don't own a grinder and don't feel they're lacking something important by not having one3.

Some very related reading from previous Q&As here that may be of help:
Is there a 'best' way to sharpen an edged tool like a chisel?
How does one aggressively sharpen chisels and plane irons when damaged?
What criteria would want me to bevel my chisel in a certain way
Bench grinder, tool sharpener or sharpening stone?
What's a quick, easy home-made honing guide?


1 In fact there are some good reasons to deliberately sharpen individual chisels in a set slightly differently, the most clear being for narrower chisels (1/4" / 6mm and under especially) to be sharpened to a steeper angle to help with edge retention — because the concentration of force from a mallet blow is so much greater across a narrower cutting edge.

2 The major difference in practice is said to be the speed at which you can hone them. But if your sharpening media isn't particularly slow this difference can be basically irrelevant, it's not even noticeable in some cases. In particular if you hone on diamonds. But even on oilstones (the least aggressive of the common honing surfaces and traditionally thought of as slow) I genuinely struggle to notice a difference although I'm not using any exotic alloys like A2.

3 I largely subscribe to this idea, for normal day-to-day use and related sharpening of tools a grinder is not a necessity and may never be missed until an edge is chipped accidentally (obviously a rare occurrence for most).

  • "for normal day-to-day use and related sharpening of tools a grinder is not a necessity and may never be missed until an edge is chipped accidentally (obviously a rare occurrence for most)." really needs to be the answer for me as well. I'm going to return the Veritas tool rest and jig, and spend more time reading of the highlighted answers. Midway through, I discovered your answers indirectly through the sharpening tag. Thank you for your stupendous help!! – bgoodr Jun 3 at 17:56
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    You're more than welcome. I wish this were a more conventional forum format so it would be easier to give you more help on this because I've been in your exact position previously, repairing and recovering older chisels in various conditions and I wasted loads of time doing things that weren't strictly necessary, a trap nearly all fall into early on. Pretty bevels and very flat, polished backs are nice, but if the goal is just to make them work properly then literally hours of work can be avoided. [contd] – Graphus Jun 4 at 8:08
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    To avoid wasted time on work that isn't needed the main thing is not to spend ages on the backs of chisels (ditto plane irons). The vast majority of chisels are flat enough that the back doesn't need work (any work) as only the strip at the edge is doing anything during the cut. So the no. 1 tip here is just to abrade that last 1/2" or so, but aiming for only a very narrow strip (~1/16") to end up honed and polished. The amount of time this saves can be staggering. Couple that with the idea that only the honed part of the bevel is important and you're looking at <10 mins instead of hours. – Graphus Jun 4 at 8:33
  • I assume that "So the no. 1 tip here is just to abrade that last 1/2" or so" means the bevel side, not the back, correct? If so, then that is the issue with the current chisel (the one hot-glued to the home-made holder) whereby there is a bevel (how much so? I haven't measured) that will throw off paring action. But it has been turning out to be such a huge amount of manual labor, on the Extra Coarse DMT (my Extra Extra Coarse DMT has not yet arrived). [contd] – bgoodr Jun 4 at 16:26
  • [contd] So, so far, I'm concluding that I need to just donate/trash this awful chisel and buy longer high-quality chisels, and also take your advice and either not flatten the machined back or only do just the bare minimum on the Fine DMT stone before proceeding (youtu.be/f0REOnjdlQU?t=1190). – bgoodr Jun 4 at 16:28

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