Framing Chisels Slicks and the Besaigue

A framing chisel is the proper tool for this job. Big and strong, the wooden handle in the heavy socket preserves both the mallet and the tool. When the splitting is done, hand pressure alone can guide the framing chisel's edge to shave the face grain smooth. With taps of the mallet, it can shear off the last sixteenth of an inch of end grain to bring in a shoulder. Slid down a split billet, it can shave it into a rounded peg.

Saw the shoulders of the notch,. ... split out most of the waste,..
. and finish with the framing chisel.
Gauging from the top edge assures that the tops of the joists will be even.
Fin de siècle carte postale of Juliette Caron, a French carpenter, with her besaiguë.

The framing chisel can do all of this edge work only if it is sharp. It's a single bevel tool, ground and honed to 30 degrees. As with any edge tool, no matter how finely you hone it, the blade has a microscopic sawlike roughness. If you slide the chisel to the side as you push it, the saw effect works in your favor.

Along with swinging an axe and driving a chisel, there is a third way to strike—exploiting the inertia of a heavy blade jabbed in short strokes. A framing chisel or a sharp side axe held flat against the cheek of a tenon will shear it smooth if it is repeatedly slid quickly forward. Direct pressure on the tool creates a small starting surface that you can easily expand by using it as a slide for the jabs that follow. Two tools designed specifically for the inertial jab cut are the slick and the French besaigue.

Slicks look like giant chisels with a wooden handle long enough for a two-handed grip. Boat builders use them for fairing the constantly changing bevel of planking. They are impressive and powerful tools—popular among American timber-frame carpenters.

The besaigue (pronounced bez-ai-gue, as if someone tried to strangle you before you could get out the last syllable) is the double-sharp French carpenter's tool. The ends of the four-foot-long iron body have chisel blades set at right angles to one another and a hollow iron handle at midlength. Working with either the broad chisel end or the mortising chisel end, your left hand positions the blade above the intended cut. With the other end of the tool resting on your shoulder, your right hand is free to make the jab. With the handle down, the flat of the broad chisel is to the left. If you need the flat to the right, you turn the besaigue on its long axis and grasp the handle upside down.

The narrow mortising chisel on the other end of the besaigue works not only with the inertia of the tool, but with the leverage of the four-foot-long iron body. It can easily rip out the wood between auger holes for shaping a mortise, another lever-edge.

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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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