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Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by ScribbleSomething, Feb 12, 2018.
See recent thread about "hacking up my PRS"
Chisel, if you’ve limited experience.
Hit it with a mallet or the heel of your hand, it’s what we’ve been doing since the cavemen.
You can still get a nice-ish job with a chisel for a lot less cost and stress than a power tool.
Define the outline of where you're cutting with a straight-edge and a stiff-bladed knife like a utility knife blade or an exacto-blade (specialized marking knives have stiff blades that are perfect for precise marking, but you can get away with other blades). Drill to depth to hog out most of the waste. Then chisel to clean up the sides and bottom.
Remember that the most controllable way to use a chisel is UPSIDE DOWN. If you're cleaning up the bottom of the mortise, in other words trying to cut horizontally with the chisel to make a flat floor in the hole - turn the chisel over, bevel-down, so it rides on the bevel as you tilt it down into the work. You can't control it much better that way.
When chopping downwards, remember that the chisel wants to wander in the direction of the bevel, so try it facing both ways and see which way stays closer to your line.
And be careful to practice on similar hardwood, chopping into a fir piece of framing lumber is not going to give you any idea how a chisel behaves in alder or poplar.
I'm not very good at sharpening chisels, but with ten minutes work I can always make one sharper. A sharp chisel, and a selection of weights of hardwood scraps to use as mallets, makes quick work of shaping wood. Use the mallet to make lots of tiny chips with the least amount of violence necessary.
Make sure you know where the pickup covers/pickguard will be so that your chiseled edge will not be visible in the end.
I use a router bit in a dremel. I don't care what it looks like under the pick guard.