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From Hilbert Space to Dilbert Space

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Engineering Method #1
plane, old tools, woodwork, galoot
Brute force, as an engineer friend of our likes to say. I was reminded of this tonight while doing some woodworking. I am building another sawbench, this time following Christopher Schwarz's design. Besides a useful thing to have, I thought it would be good practice in mortise and tenon construction. This has proved to be the case.

My technique is to do the first 1/8" in outline with a mortising chisel and mallet, then drill out the bulk of the waste. After that I came back to the chisel and mallet to square up the insides.

I was cautious on the first couple mortises I did, using the red mallet below. The mortising chisel (a 3/4" Sorby) is in the middle. This was not only slow, it was sloppy and frustrating. So I switched to the big mallet. This was much faster, and actually makes a neater mortise. Hitting a chisel hard cleanly severs the wood fibers, so there is no tearing and the hole is much neater. Sometimes you need to be forceful to be neat.

Besides, whacking the chisel with the big mallet felt really good.

Don't try this unless you have a proper mortising chisel. Ordinary chisels cannot take the punishment.

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And then there's the satisfaction of using a tool you *made*... :-)

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