Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Two More Marple Chisels

It is a sickness, once started it is almost as hard to stop as smoking and booze. I've two more early Marple Firmer chisels "in the mail". This time a 1/4" and a 3/8" both are duplicates but one will replace a round necked (later year) chisel. So I do have a little excuse....."My name is Ken and I'm a.....".

I'm teaching myself to sharpen on JNATS and have been for years and as always it is/has been interesting. Sometimes I ask myself "why bother?" BTW, if I post something that is incorrect please correct me however you feel most comfortable, email, reply in the comments, it makes no never mind. I have thick skin and learned many years ago that ego is nothing but trouble. On to the chase..

What I find the biggest difference is the wire edge. On Ark stones it comes up easily and is easy to see and feel.  JNATS not so much. The wire edge tends to be much smaller and because of that harder to see and feel. I'm still training myself on that one.

In truth either type stone will get you to pretty much the same place of "working sharp" in about the same time and hassle on like steels and I would bet in a blind test even the most sensitive craftsman would have a hard time beating random.

I guess then the question becomes....Why? I'm not sure I have a rationale answer. I can fall back on gobby gook, art speak, or what have you, while trying to pack sand up your ass but the bottom line is "because".

Some of the reasons I can give but do not hold water are: JNATS have a finer random scratch pattern than you are able to get with an Ark stone. True but so? Does it make a rat's ass when metal meets wood?

Ralph will like this one: I can get a better mirror finish with a JNAT vs. An Ark stone. Which is true until you bring strops on board and.....Wait for it...Some of the most prized JNATS do not leave a mirror polish but instead a slight haze.

As a artist I've always been attracted to imperfection, to seeing "the hand of man" in a body of work. Perfect is boring. Several of my most prized JNATS are about as imperfect as a stone can get and still be useable. That may be as good an answer as any.


P.S. JNAT stones are/can be a sickness as well, too damn many slippery slopes out there calling my name and not a mast to lash to.

P.P.S. I've a Bad Axe D-8 clone in the mail....Damn all my weaknesses are on full display. The only things missing are planes.


  1. I do like shiny be it brass or a sharpened edge tool.
    Good to read from the Creek you came out ok. I hope that in the years to come you are still feeling better.
    As for the sharpening, I still like shiny but I realized that it isn't necessarily sharp too.

  2. Ralph,

    Yep so far it is feeling good. I ended up not sleeping much tonight for no other reason than I wanter to see if it felt good getting up, or would it be back to the old routine of stumbling to the head before doing the bent over old man shuffle to my office chair muttering oh fuck, oh fuck, all the way and waiting an hour before I could move again.

    No happy pills after about 1700 or so last night and so far this morning it's like I'm 40 again. I hope I don't ruin it by over doing, MsBubba has a job.

    One of the hardest things show folks is just that, "shiny doesn't mean sharp". Good scratch pattern to the edge of the iron on both sides is sharp. Shine may mean good scratch pattern or maybe not. Some of the shiniest irons I've looked at under magnification have had terrible random deep scratch patterns. They have usually come off man made stones. But man do they shine.

    Getting good scratch patterns to both edges is one of my problems with learning to work JNATS. At least in my experience, as you get to the harder, finer stones the scratch pattern is so fine the wire edge is almost undetectable. There is good news and bad with that. The bad of course is it is hard to tell when the iron is finished, the good is a finished iron does not need stropping.

    The happy pills from yesterday afternoon may still be working because I've sure become Chatty Cathy. Sorry,


  3. Steve D8:26 AM

    If you have two, then they are Marples;)

    Do you use the same pressure on the water stones as the arkansas? I usually go lighter on my waterstones because of the softness. Also, with a softer bond on the abrasives, the burr would be less pronounced since the force on the steel would be lower than oilstone.

    Just my stab at it.

  4. I know shinny seems to be the THING, but you asre right in your descriptions.
    To be the amazing revelaton was when LV started to lap their blades back flat using new machinery that produced a super flat face, but a muted grayish color, not the usual shinny.


  5. good grief whishes I could edit my bad typos...

  6. Bob,

    I know the feeling, always afraid to go back and read my comments for all the typos and misspells and I own the site and can't do a thing.

  7. Steve,

    A perfect example :-) of what Bob said..

    I think you are correct on the pressure thing but I also think some of it is the fineness of the polishing stones. It's just a learning curve but it is a long time coming. It is way too easy to skip the JNATS and use the Ark stones.

  8. Steve D4:02 PM

    On the Arks, do you use oil or water with some soap in it? I have been using the water with new Arks and don't know if I am causing more work for myself or causing long term probs.

    I wanted to maintain crossover between the systems for whatever reason.

  9. Steve,

    I've switched to water with just a little soap for both for that reason. No problems yet, if there are, just a refresh with a diamond stone to new grit should take care of it.

    The thing I hate is hassle, and keeping oil away from the water and water from the oil was just too much for my feeble brain to handle. In another year I should be able to report yea or nay.


  10. Ken and Steve
    Yers, you can use water on oil stones, but, you must clean the oil from the stone before convertying it to water. Easiest done running your grungy oil st one thru the dishwasher (you may want to ask your spouse firts, just saying :-)
    Adding soap will help, and will make it feel more like using oil

    Bob, who washed old oil stones in the dishwasher and survived...:-)

  11. Bob,

    You are correct, I'm not sure where or when oil became the "cutting fluid" for "oil stones".

    I've done the dishwasher thing several times as I've gone back and forth between water and oil for the Ark stones. I think this time I will stick with water but....Check back in a year.

    BTW, I'm still working on the India stones, the jury is still out on them.