I bought HSS chisels and a bench grinder today. Using them scared the shit right out of me.
On my way to the workshop this afternoon, I stopped at Canadian Tire to pick up a set of chisels, a bench grinder, and a grinding wheel. The carbide chisels are fine, but I think that learning how to use more traditional tools will be good. Why not, right? People listen to vinyl even though we have streaming music.
None of what I bought today is of the best quality. I’d say that it’s the right place to start because I’m going to make a lot of mistakes. Learning how to sharpen the tools is going to take me a good while. Then, I have to learn how to use them properly.
I went in more confidently than I should have.
The first time the chisel caught on the wood — a catch — I was okay. I figured it was going to happen and I just needed to pay attention to what I was doing so that I could prevent it happening again. Another catch. Then some skating — when the tool slides along the surface of the spinning piece of wood. More catches, more skating. It was baseball on ice.
I was getting real frustrated, I was. I kept cussing. “Fuck!”
I would switch to carbide tools because I’m more comfortable with them, work with them for a bit, until I got my confidence up, and then I’d try with the HSS tools again. Same. “Fuck.”
In the end, I managed to get another bowl made. Three of the four for the set that I’m working on are now done. Apparently, Leopardwood is incredibly hard and difficult to work with. It has a hardness rating that is twice that of most hardwood for flooring. The grain is all over the place, too, making getting a smooth surface incredibly difficult. I’m going to try some baby oil. My frustrations with the new chisels carried into my sanding.
I’m glad this is happening. I’m happy to be frustrated, yet still committed to learning. Instead of packing things up and returning them, I’m going to watch even more YouTube videos on wood turning. I’ll dream about this shit.
I don’t like horror movies — why people would choose to scare themselves is beyond me…it was.
Originally published at https://www.bernardwalter.com on September 9, 2023.