Clay, Application to Refinement

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The alternative to silver soldering a plate onto a cranked rod to make the chisel is to make the blade from a single piece of sheet steel.


The minimum size of the plate

should be 2"x 12"x 1/8" and marked out as the sketch opposite shows. Scribe lines at approximately 4 1/2" and 6" from the edge of the steel, this will indicate where to bend the plate. 


At the 4 1/2" mark reduce the blade width by 3/8" per side, scribe a line from the front edge to the new mark thus producing a taper. Carry the 3/8" scribe line to the end of the steel plate on both sides.


You now have the blade at 2" and tapering down to 1 1/4", with the shank being a parallel 1 1/4". This represents the blank for the blade.


The blank can now be cut on a

band saw to the lines that have been scribed on and filed smooth.

Sketches showing an alternative for making a clay chisel.

With the scribe lines for the bend already marked on, we can now proceed to fold the material in a vise. (A pre-marked out board can aid in establishing the necessary angles.) Bend the 30 degree angle first, then bend the shaft with an approximate 2 degree rise. (This will keep knuckles clear of the clay when paring the material.)

At this stage the blade is complete except for grinding on the cutting angle (approx. 15-20 degrees)


This can be done now or after the blade is mounted to its handle.


The handle can be made from any variety of wood, the approximate sizes are: 15"x 1 1/4"x 3/4".

Set up the table saw and split the thickness of the wood 6 1/2" into the handle. This will allow for the blade to be set in. Test fit the blade, it should slide into the handle and bed out at the first bend of the blade.


With the blade fitting snuggly into the handle it is advisable to locate it firmly. This can be done by drilling three equally spaced 1/8" holes through the handle and blade. Here we will place wooden dowels to secure the blade in place.


Photograph of the finished clay chisel.

Remove the blade from the handle and rough up the area ready for gluing. Cut three dowels 1"x 1/8"dia. for securing the handle. 


We can at this stage taper the handle at the point where the blade sets in. This is purely for aesthetic reasons. It will give a more balanced feel to the finished chisel. 

Scribe lines on the end of the handle to reduce the thickness by 3/32"on either side and sand or plane the angle over 3 1/2". With the taper completed on both sides of the handle we can mix the 5 minute epoxy resin to secure the blade into place. Apply the resin to both sides of the blade and push into place, then apply resin to the dowels and tap into place.


Once the resin has cured, trim down the dowels to a flush fit. Sand the entire wooden handle, taking off any sharp edges and then apply a sealant. Once the sealant is dry, sand smooth, apply paste wax and buff to a silky finish.


                                                                               Voil?, there you have it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Copyright © 2003 - 20 Steven Austin