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

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