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Fine Hand Tools for the Woodworker

 

 

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Diefenbacher Tools
11611 W Prentice Pl
Littleton, CO 80127

720-502-6687

 
 
E Mail Contact
2008
Ron Diefenbacher
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bd14565_.gif (183 bytes)   A Few Frequent Questions  

 

Carving Tools Hand Saws Chisels Sharpening Planes

 

Carving Tools

Q)  I am having trouble choosing which brand of carving tools is right for me.  What is the difference between the brands of carving tools sold by Diefenbacher Tools?

A)  The best way to determine which tools are right for you is to take a look at our comparison chart.  Click here to see a tool comparison.


Q) All right, I looked at your comparison chart and the information was interesting but inconclusive to me.  What I want to know is, which tool do you recommend?

A)  It comes down to cost.  If we could all afford the best all of the time, there would be no need for choices.    Our Diefenbacher Brand are USA made serviceable, quality tools capable of holding a good edge but without the detailing and refinement of the European brands.  We recommend Diefenbacher Brand for beginning carvers, students and those who are trying out carving as a hobby. 

Our European brands are top of the line, world class tools.  They are finely made with a lot of attention to detail and quality.  If you are a professional or a very serious amateur carver, (or a beginner who just likes owning the best!) we recommend either the Two Cherries or Stubai brand.


Q)  Does the comparison chart mentioned above apply to just carving tools or to bench chisels and other edge tools manufactured by Two Cherries, Stubai and Diefenbacher?

A)  The information in the comparison chart applies to all tools manufactured by these companies.


Q)  Carving tools come in a huge selection of sizes and sweeps.  Which are the best tools for the beginner?

A)  Each of our tool manufacturers offers basic sets designed for the novice carver.  The aim of these sets is to offer a good selection of the most used tools for general wood carving.  The sets contain 6,8 or 12 tools.  We recommend starting with a beginning set and building your tool collection as you expand your carving skills and determine which tools are most useful to your style of work. Here is a look at our various carving sets.


Q) How can I understand carving tool terminology?

A)  Here are definitions of the most common carving tool terms.

Term Definition
Gouge Carving tool with a curved cutting edge.  The most used catagory of carving tools.
Sweep The curvature of the cutting edge of a carving gouge.  A lower number (like #3) indicates a shallow, flat sweep while a high number (like #10) is used for a deeply curved gouge.
Veiner A deep gouge with a U shaped cutting edge.  Usually #11 sweep.
Chisel A carving tool with a straight cutting edge (usually termed #1 sweep) at right angles (or square to) the sides of the blade.
Skew Chisel A chisel with the edge at a "skew" or angle relative the sides of the blade. Often termed #2 sweep.
V Tool or Parting Tool A carving tool with a V shaped cutting edge.  Used for outlining and decorative cuts. 
Long Bent A gouge, chisel or V tool where the blade is curved along it's entire length.  Handy for deep work.
Short Bent or Spoon A gouge, chisel or V tool where the blade is straight with a curve at the end, like a spoon.  Use for work in deep or inaccessable areas.
Fishtail A gouge or chisel with a straight, narrow shank that flares out at the end to form a "fishtail" shaped tool.  The narrow shaft of the tool allows for clearance in tight areas.
Back Bent A spoon gouge with a reverse bent end.  Used for undercuts and reeding work.
Palm Tools Short (5"), stubby tools used with one hand while the work is held in the orther. Great for detail and small carving.
Full-size Tools 10" to 11" tools used with two hands.
Tang The tapered part of the blade that is driven into the handle.
Bolster A flared section of the blade near the tang that keeps the blade from being driven further into the handle.
Ferrule A metal collar on the handle that keeps the wood from splitting when the tool is used with a mallet.  Some tools have an external, visible ferrule while others have an internal ferrule.
Rc / Rockwell A scale that indicates the hardness of steel.  A Rockwell range of 58 to 61 is considered optimum for fine woodworking edge tools.

 

Hand Saws

Q)  You sell a traditional European style brass back dovetail saw and a Japanese dovetail saw.  What's the difference?

A)  Western style backsaws are generally heavier and have thicker blades.  This is because they cut on the push stroke putting the blade in compression, which would buckle a thinner, less stiff blade.   The advantage of this type of saw is ruggedness and durability.  A sharp, well made back saw will cut evenly and accurately.

The Japanese dozuki saw cuts on the pull stroke.  This allows the maker to use a much thinner blade (the pull cut puts the blade in tension) with very little "set" to the teeth.  The results are effortless, smooth cuts with a very thin kerf.  These tools are more fragile than their Western counterparts and demand a lighter touch from the user.  Here is a link to our saw page.


Q)  I see you now carry a bow saw.   What is this tool used for?

A)  European woodworkers have used bow saws for a long time.  One advantage of a bow saw is that the blades are replaceable.  Since bow saw blades come in a variety of widths and teeth per inch, the user can choose the right blade for a particular task.  Use a narrow blade on a bow saw and it becomes an oversized fret saw which excels at curved cuts.  With a wide blade bow saws work quite well at straight cuts and joinery.  The short answer to this question is, bow saws are very versatile.

 

Chisels

Q)  What are Firmer Chisels?

A)  Firmer is a term applied to general, all purpose bench chisels.  They can have bevel edges or square edges and be either tang style or socket style.  What distinguishes a firmer chisel is that it falls between the light paring chisel and the heavy mortising chisel.


Q)  Speaking of tang and socket style chisels, what's the difference?

A)  The difference is how the blade attaches to the handle.  In a tang chisel the blade has a tapered shank (the tang) that fits into a hole in the handle.  The base of the tapered shank has a swollen section called the bolster which prevents the blade from being driven into the handle when struck with a mallet.  In a socket chisel the blade has a extended section at the top with tapered hole. A matching tapered portion of the handle fits into this hole.   Hitting the handle with a mallet drives the two parts together more firmly.

 

Sharpening

Q)  Waterstones, oilstones, diamond stones, ceramic stones, natural vs man made. What's the deal here???  Sometimes I feel like there are too many choices!  Can you help?

A)  We'll try.  Click here and take a visit to our sharpening information page.  We hope this helps!


Q)  I have tried sharpening my tools but I just can't seem to get the hang of it.  What can I do to get good at sharpening?  Please help, I'm frustrated!

A)  Well, if I could appear in your shop one day and walk you through the steps,  you could learn the techniques in an afternoon.  Then, with some practice, you would be producing razor sharp edges on your tools in no time!  Since you are not alone in your sharpening skills deficit, I would be very busy popping in and out of shops all over the country.  I don't think my family would like me being gone that much!  So, here is the next best thing to a live and personal guide.  Leonard Lee's The Complete Guide to Sharpening is a good book, a really good book!  It is quite possible for anyone to achieve sharpening success by studying and practicing the principles clearly explained in this book.  Click here for more information.

 

Planes

Q)  I do not own a plane.  Which one should I buy?

A)  This is a common question.   The key word here is "one".  If you want to start out with just one plane we recommend the low angle block plane.  This tool is very handy and with it the user can edge plane, surface plane (small boards), end grain plane and do small trimming and fitting jobs.  As we state in our description of this tool, it is probably the single most useful item in the woodshop.  Learn more here.

Have more questions?  Send us an e mail here.


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