Chris Vesper Joinery Knife

As long-time readers of Stu’s Shed will know, I am quite a fan of, for want of a better term, cottage industry products, such as are made by Terry Gordon (HNT Gordon Planes), Colen Clenton, and Chris Vesper.  These tools are both a pleasure to use and own.

The Chris Vesper Joinery Knife is no exception.  A combination of a well thought out design, precision manufacturing methods and stunning timber results in a tool that is destined to become an heirloom.

Chris Vesper Joinery Knife

Chris Vesper Joinery Knife

This particular knife is made from Tasmanian Blackwood.

The handle is shaped so that it is comfortable to grip, won’t twist in the hand if applying extra pressure, and won’t roll off the workbench and onto the floor, breaking the knife tip.

Chris Vesper Logo

Chris Vesper Logo

The handle is stamped with the Chris Vesper Logo.

The blade can be used both (and primarily) as a marking knife and a chisel. As a marking knife, it produces a very fine line – much more accurate than any 0.5mm pencil can produce, and a much cleaner line than can be achieved with a scratch awl.  A scratch awl still has a significant advantage over a pencil, but leaves a mark that is less clean than can be achieved with a joinery knife.  The awl pushes the wood fibres aside until they are met by the tip, which then scores the line.  This can cause some tearing of the fibres in some timbers (still at a very localised level).  A joinery knife on the other hand severs the fibres from the very first point of contact, resulting in a very clean, and accurate line, perfect (for example) in joinery as this further adds to the accuracy and cleanliness of any subsequent cut.

It can also be used as a chisel, to clean up the corners of joints (such as handcut dovetail joint).

Bevelled Blade

Bevelled Blade

Only one side of the blade is bevelled, so the other side can run up against a rule or square to create the marking lines.  It is made out of tool steel, so is strong and capable of withstanding a reasonable amount of pressure.

Blade Edge

Blade Edge

The blade is bevelled to approximately 25 degrees, although this angle is not critical.  It is resharpened in the same way as you would a chisel.

However, the tip of the blade is rounded at the bevel, and this is deliberate. At the actual tip it is sharp, but is the meeting point of one flat, rather than three, so the tip is stronger, and less inclined to break. It doesn’t affect the operation of the knife either for marking, or as a chisel.  It is easily achieved with a few wipes over a waterstone, so is a pretty mild rounding never-the-less.

Rounded Tip

Rounded Tip

Just having one is seriously tempting me to try my hand at some handcut dovetails. Precision tools, beautifully made. You can find his whole product range at www.vespertools.com.au

Linbide Flush Trim Panel Bit

The Router bit-of-the-Month is the Linbide Flush Trim Panel Bit, with twin flutes and interchangeable cutters.

The bit is 1/2″ shank, 19mm diameter and 63mm cutter length.

Linbide Flush Trim Panel Bit

Linbide Flush Trim Panel Bit

This bit is certainly a significant step up from previous flush-trim bits I have used in the past.  It has a twin bearing at the top, which gives a large contact area which is an asset when using a material like MDF as a pattern to follow.  MDF is a great pattern-making material, but it can be compressed slightly if overloaded, causing the bearing to imprint into the surface, resulting in a (very slight) change in size between the template and the resulting object.  Normally not an issue, but sometimes you want it to be exact, and having two bearings to spread the load is an advantage.

There is also an additional, thin bearing at the bottom of the bit, so this is unusual in having one at either end, and makes the bit a lot more versatile for different trimming situations.  It does mean the bit cannot do a plunge into material for internal pattern-following, but it is easy to predrill a starting hole when required.  The bit is not designed to scoop material out of an area where it is not going the full material depth (such as box making), but that is a job for a different router bit – horses for courses.

The other, very noticeable aspect of this router bit is the interchangeable (and reversable) cutters.

Linbide Flush Trim Panel Bit

Linbide Flush Trim Panel Bit

With a concept very similar (if not identical) to many planer blades, when the cutters become blunt / worn / chipped, they can be removed and reversed, exposing a new cutting edge.  Once the second edge is gone, new (tungsten carbide) cutters can be purchased surprisingly cheaply, so there is no need to go down the path of resharpening (and the resulting reduction in cutter diameter).  For a business situation these are ideal to have the machine staying in production for the maximum amount of time.

These bits are often using in a production workshop setting permanently mounted on a router table off to one side so they are ready to go at any time to do a quick trimming job etc.

I’m also seriously considering how I can incorporate the same concept into my workshop, with a second router mounted beneath a router wing on the tablesaw, so it would be ready to go at a moment’s notice, rather than even having to change router bits etc on the main router table.  It doesn’t even need to have a fence, as pattern following only needs a starting pin to rest the work on before engaging the cutter.

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