The bottom line: I love my new chisel.
I felt lucky to get one of the new Czeck Edge Hand Tool dovetail chisels while I was in Cincinnati last week. The dovetail chisel is “…a design collaboration…” between Bob Zajicek and Jameel Abraham, of Benchcrafted. Click on the link to go to Jameel’s blog post about this chisel. I promised Bob Zajicek, owner of Czeck Edge, I would use this little jewel as soon as I got back home.
As things turned out, outdoor duties went to the top of my priority list, and I was unable to use the chisel when I returned. Finally, on Saturday I had a chance to go back into the shop. If I am away from the shop more than a few hours, I get itchy to touch wood and tools.
What better way to get a feel for a dovetail chisel than to hand-cut dovetails on a small walnut drawer front?
After marking and sawing, it was time to chop the waste. I was struck by how easily I was able to balance the chisel with my fingers (photo on the right – click on all images to enlarge them).
I believe the total length of only 6 inches contributes to the feeling of perfect balance. This is critical to me, as I like to feel the scribed baseline; I position the chisel edge in the line, tap lightly, and remove one shallow layer of waste (photo below).
I definitely got the feeling I would be able to whack this little chisel, and not damage it. But, after the sharpening Jameel Abraham did, I was reluctant to try driving it through a ¾-inch board. I might do it next time it needs sharpened, though. I witnessed Jameel drive one of the prototype chisels deeply into a thick board on his traveling workbench, with zero damage to the resin-impregnated handle, or to the cutting edge. Very cool!
The bottom line: Love at first tap. The resin-impregnated handle will likely outlast me. The blade gives the feeling that it is nearly indestructible, and the edge is holding up beautifully. I will be using this new chisel a lot!
And now a hint for my readers: Don’t look for these chisels on the Czeck Edge web site yet. They should appear in the near future.
Additional chisel details:
Dimensions and other important information: The blade is 3/16″ thick O1 tool steel hardened to RC 62. The sides are ground at 20 degrees, and form a point with the back. There is no blade taper; the profile is like a ‘mini mortiser’. The chisel is ¼” wide; Bob will be also be making them in 3/16″ and 5/16″ widths to start. And he will probably add a 1/8″ and maybe a 7/16″ and 1/2″ later on, “if folks let us know and the demand is there”.
Last, these will retail at an intro price of $45. If anyone wants to be added to the waiting list, drop Bob a note through the Czeck Edge website. Bob says “We are looking at mid-July for availability”.
Acknowledgments: I thank Bob Zajicek for allowing me to take one of his three new display dovetail chisels to try out. In addition, my thanks to Jameel Abraham, of Benchcrafted and Khalaf Oud Luthierie, for sharpening this chisel. More than one individual harassed Jameel for “taking too long” to sharpen it. Of course, perfection can wait – the chisel was sharp, wonderfully so. Although Jameel graciously asked if I would like to do the sharpening, I refused, on the grounds I would likely damage his water stones permanently; I use the Scary Sharp technique (read: sandpaper) to sharpen my tools. I have no idea what to do with water stones.
Disclosure: In the interest of full disclosure, Czeck Edge Hand Tool is one of the sponsors of my blog. His banner appears on the right-hand sidebar.