Friday, October 23, 2009


Originally uploaded by Phil_Parker
I need to hang some wooden doors. This will involve hacking out bits of wood to allow the hinges and catch to be fitted. With my new found "skill" from all that work at college I reckoned that some nice new chisels would allow me to gracefully carve away to produce a top quality job.

So, off I trot to Homebase and there is a nice pack of 4 chisels plus sharpening stone and oil for 25 quid. A bargain. Probably too cheap in fact but as they were from the well respected firm of Stanley, I reasoned they would probably be good enough for me. I know someone will probably suggest they I should be using some exotic Japanese woodworking tool that costs several hundred quid, and I'd probably find it wonderful but pragmatism rules at the moment.

Anyway, the door work starts. These are top quality doors from a proper builders merchant. Since the wood is good, hacking half a cm off the bottom is hard work. Planing 3mm off the side isn't as the material cuts beautifully, especially since I used my new oil stone to sharpen the blade like wot I was taught.

Hinge time arrives and after marking out I prepare to use the new chisels and get a surprise. The reason there is sharpening equipment in the box is because the things turn up blunt. Not usable at all, in fact one has a light bur at its tip.

OK, so fixing this isn't a problem. A few minutes sees them all ready for use. I just wish I had known from the outset. Once I am working on a job, apart from tea breaks (Note for foreign readers, tea breaks are a legal requirement on all jobs in the UK. Certain roles, such as builders, have minimum sugar levels in the tea as well), I like to keep going. Stopping to prepare tools is not appreciated at this point.

So, if you go down to the DIY store today, beware of a great surprise and make sure you check the tools are sharp before starting work.


CF said...

Health and safety. The highly trained Homebase staff wouldn't be able to handle anything sharp. Sad state of affairs.

Dodgy Geezer said...

I think the last time I bought a box of wood chisels was about 10 years ago. And those were delivered blunt as well.

I suspect there was some kind of an EC directive in the 1990s....