Q&A Continues On YouTube––Episode two is Now Up

Two weeks ago today we launched the first Woodworking Q&A for me to answer some of the questions you have that would benefit the woodworking community at large. To say it went viral would be an exaggeration bit to say it proved really popular would be an under-exaggeration too. It was a great success throughout, and it’s all thanks to you and your participation subsequent to our filming. In many ways, because of the ability to demonstrate concepts and such to camera, it meant crystal clear answers without too many words and that was easier for me in some cases.

Tonight the second episode is up on Youtube for you to watch. The questions are many and diverse and I hope that you enjoy what we have done.

Have a great weekend woodworking.


  1. Paul,

    Thanks so much for these. They are a joy and very helpful.

    Watching the chisel segment here, I have a question and maybe you can help, or maybe others have the same issue…

    I have had great success keeping my planes and spokeshaves sharp, even scrapers without issue, and use the diamond plates for all my sharpening now. Plane irons I sharpen with the iron inline with the arm as you’ve shown. CHISELS are where I constantly run into problems. I can get them extremely sharp, but also feel like I am fighting to keep the bevel square across. For instance, after several strokes across the coarse stone/plate, the bevel is uneven. After compensating I end up with a convex bevel in BOTH directions (what we want and also laterally), and then inevitably the cutting end is out of square.

    I know that the problem is technique, but do you have any specific advice for keeping the squareness while using the method you’ve shown before (chisel in-line with the arm as opposed to using a guide). What’s the magic trick, or am I just going to ‘get it’ right at some point?

    1. I don’t know what others think, but to create the effect you describe, it is evident that you must be putting more pressure on one side of the chisel. The question is, how?
      I, also, use Paul’s method and have not had this problem. If it’s any help to know how I hold my chisels, it is as follows:
      > Being right-handed, I hold the handle in the right hand, fingers under the handle, thumb on top, pointing down the shaft.
      > Left hand with the flat palm held over the top of the body of the chisel, pressing down as evenly as possible.
      Maybe you are doing something significantly different from this?
      Are you, for instance, twisting the handle clockwise or counter-clockwise, as you sharpen?

      1. Nope I do exactly as you do but get the result of the first post. I have to twist the chisel handle counter clockwise to compensate. I wonder if it’s the positioning of my feet and an uneven bias that I can’t feel as a result. It’s harder to get it right on narrower chisels

    2. I haven’t had a convex shape across the chisel but I have got them out of square on a few occasions. Have you tried re-establishing a 25 degree bevel with a honing guide? I do this if I’ve gone too far, just quickly on something very course like 60 grit paper then go back to freehand. If it’s only a little I find I can bring it back by applying a little pressure to one side. It must be the way I sharpen because when I look at my planes lined up all the lateral adjusters are biased to the right!

    3. I’ve been having this happen to me to. It’s all technique. One of the videos Paul shows a trick for beginners but cutting a scrap piece of wood with the angle cut that you want to sharpen and then use a small clamp to clamp your chisel to it. The chisel stays square and you get to practice the technique until your muscles remember the feel. I know this has helped me.


  2. Paul in Q&A #2 on YouTube you spoke of the Japanese tradition in woodworking and the saws used by the traditional Japanese woodworker. I find it interesting how Western and Asian cultures have developed woodworking tools and how these tools differ in each culture.

    Do you know if the older Japanese pull saws had teeth that could be resharpened. Assuming the older Japanese pull saws could be resharpened, did these saws have a conventional rip tooth or cross cut fleam tooth design?

  3. It’s probably too late for this, unless their is a Q & A no. 3, but I would like to know the details of fitting a wedge to a wedged tenon. It must be simple, but it would be good to know an ‘approved’ way.

  4. You are an estimable teacher, Mr. Sellers. Thank you for much use-acquired wisdom. Your sharpening method works so well that I have shelved the many guides I bought over the years.

  5. I have a question in case there is a Q&A #3:

    I have noted that, in your instructional videos, you sometimes chop mortises with your chisel bevel-up, and you sometimes chop them with your chisel bevel-down. Sometimes you flip from one orientation to the other while you are chopping, and it seems that you know instinctively when to do that. Is there a general rule for the orientation of the bevel with respect to one’s work while you are chopping?

    1. Bevel down, as in the flat face is forward, as seen in this line quick little drawing: ___ |/______ (flat towards the rest of the mortise being cut), is the way to remove the bulk of the waste, since as you strike, the chisel will move away from the bevel and down (towards the mortise). Turning it around, with the flat against he mortise edge, is for defining the knife wall and chopping straight down: __|/ ____

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