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After talking about the look and feel of the new Richter chisel (including his testmate Stanly # 750) and last week’s rumor of how I honed them, we finally reached the end of this three-part saga – the real sliced duel.
The bench chisels are mainly designed for cutting wood fibers, both through the grain and with it. They can be pushed by hand or by pushing a hammer or hammer. The more the blade engages with the wood, the more opaque it becomes. The question is how to find a way to subject the blade to a controlled test in which the cutting material is homogenized and the pulse deployed behind the blade is uniformed during the test.
I decided to follow a smart knife test technique devised by the creator of The Cedric & Ada Gear and Outdoors on Youtube. There, a rope is used as test material. The tester repeatedly cuts the rope and every ten ropes that cut the blade are withdrawn in order to subject it to the acute edge test of the paper. If the blade can effortlessly cut a sheet of paper, the test continues, and so on, until it can no longer pass the paper test. At this point, we know how many rope cuts the tested blade was able to produce before fading.
After stopping the Stanley 750, I tested it for the sharp edge on a sheet of paper. Later during the test, when the blade can no longer cut the paper elegantly and start tearing it, we know it is starting to become dull.
In my first test attempt, I decided to use lime, which is a soft and highly homogeneous wood. I also marked a millimeter scale on the test piece to guide my cutting action and keep it as uniform as possible.
But after trying basswood with both chisels, I saw that I could spend days cutting this wood without any significant reduction in edge sharpness. So in order to speed up the test and challenge the edge with a much harder wood, I decided to switch to white oak. First I chose a strip with a 1/2 “x 1/4” section. So I perfected and accelerated the delimitation of my degree system using a screw that I pressed against the wood.
With the Stanley # 750 chisel in hand, I started testing the edge on white oak. After every ten slices of wheat, I tried to pass the edge on a piece of paper and observed if it did it effortlessly. Once or twice the blade tore the paper instead of cutting it. I wasn’t sure that this was due to the fact that I had held the paper in a strange way or maybe something bad, so I decided to repeat the cutting test on a new part of the sheet of paper.
Interestingly, the consecutive move was quite successful, so I continued the test. When the count reached 200 marks, the paper test produced unsatisfactory results as the blade crossed it instead of the elegant planing and cutting that I had experienced before. I also heard that a slight burr developed on the back of the edge which was the definitive indication that the blade was fading.
Then I turned to the Richter chisel. I repeated the same test regimen and after 280 sections that had been stimulated by the slicing edge paper check intervals, I called it one day. I’m pretty sure this chisel could have gone strong beyond the 280 mark. The only reason I stopped at 280 is that my piece of white oak has become too short to be kept safe. Yes, I know, I should have prepared more wood for the test and yes, I could go back later. But even in this preliminary phase, I believe that my initial test can provide some interesting ideas on the quality of the blades.
Narex’s new Richter chisel proved superior to the Stanley # 750 in terms of blade retention, geometry, finish and sensitivity. The Stanly is a good chisel, but the Richter feels more comfortable in my hand and will stay sharp longer.
After conducting the test and writing this story, a reader commented on a very detailed chisel comparative test that you can watch on youtube. The Wood by Wright the test is out of this world and includes a level of sophistication that will leave you speechless or break your head, in our case. James Wright compares more than a dozen chisels from different manufacturers. He has subjected them to numerous tests and the result is quite interesting. He concluded that Richter is the best chisel when taking into account: price, edge maintenance and ease of use.
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