Cadfael: Dovetail Chisel

Brother Cadfael has been distracted lately with thoughts of participating in the ongoing Dovetail Tool Swap on Lumberjocks.

Background: Apparently the lumberjocks community does these “swap” events a couple of times a year.  The premise is simple; you sign up to make a particular thing, you have a few months to get it done by a fixed deadline, you mail a picture to the moderator and they tell you who to send your widget to.  In return you get something back.  They recently did a saw swap, and there were some pretty nice saws built as part of that event.

I’ve never participated in one of these “swap” events, and I’m not yet participating in this one.  Yet.  Most likely.

But it’s fun to think about what I might make.  Ya know…if I was participating.  I’ve looked at more marking knives, marking gauges and dovetail saws in the past week than I have in a long time.  For fun, I thought I’d model a small chisel for chopping and paring dovetails.  It had to be something most guys could make with tools they’d have on hand — no forging or machining allowed.  It had to look good, and be able to chop as well as pare.  Here is what I came up with:

Rendering of a devetail chisel I'm not making

Rendering of a devetail chisel I’m not making

The business end is ground from a 1/4″ square O1 tool steel blank, and it’s probably the hardest part.  The handle is styled in the London pattern, but with a retaining hoop on the back.  The brass fittings are made from common brass tube and a small piece of 1/8″ sheet brass…like the one laying on the floor of my metal shop…which is just a coincidence.  I don’t have any O1 steel anywhere.  Really.

I even drew up some plans so *you* could build one.  Please build one, and send me a picture so I’m not tempted.

Click on the picture to download these plans

Click on the picture to download these plans

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