What angle on the bevels for a carving axe

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What angle on the bevels for a carving axe

Postby Stanleythecat » Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:37 pm

Hi there

A quick one really, I was wondering what angle I should have on the bevels for a recently purchased axe that needs renovation? I'm looking for a symetrical grind as it will be used buy various people.

Many thanks in advance.

Leo
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Re: What angle on the bevels for a carving axe

Postby gavin » Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:57 am

Will it be used for carving spoons? If so, I say you want a flat bevel at least 2 or 3 mm wide.
Will it be used for roughing out blanks for pole lathe? If so you want a convex bevel.

I'll be interested to read what other observers with more spoon carving experience say.
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Re: What angle on the bevels for a carving axe

Postby robin wood » Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:52 am

The bevel angle has to suit the axe and ia a compromise thiner cuts better thicker holds the edge longer. As with a knife you want it as thin as can be without rolling the edge or chipping. There are various ways fo getting to the perfect edge angle for a particular tool but normally I start by grinding it to what I expect will be just slightly too thin say just under 25 degrees. Then I use it. if the edge goes off too quickly I'll steepen it up a little by a few degrees at a time until I reach the point that is the best compromise between wood penetration and edge holding. With a lot of experience you can get a feel for the quality of the steel as you grind and may make your initial grind steeper or finer accordingly.
If all that is too much hassle and you just want to know jump straight in at something that will probably work then you want somewhere between 25 and 30 degrees.
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Re: What angle on the bevels for a carving axe

Postby Stanleythecat » Thu Mar 28, 2013 11:49 am

Thanks Gavin and Robin

I'm doing a lot more spoon carving at the moment and also do a bit with mental health groups because it is such an accessible hobby. So as a consequence I thought I would get a few more axes for people to use, obviously the kent pattern pops up and I saw that lovely axe modification you did for your daughter Robin. If people can see that I have sourced these tools cheaply and that they work you can see the 'I could do this' moment in their eyes!

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Re: What angle on the bevels for a carving axe

Postby ToneWood » Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:35 pm

gavin wrote:Will it be used for carving spoons? If so, I say you want a flat bevel at least 2 or 3 mm wide...
I currently aim for a bevel depth of about one inch (~2.5cm) - probably influenced by pictures of Wille Sundqvists axes. So I'm thinking perhaps Gavin meant 2 or 3cm rather than mm(?).
e.g.
Image
http://www.spooncarving.org.uk/page7/page16/page16.html

UPDATE: I've measured the angles on my Gransfor Right-handed SCA ~27.5 degrees & my own LCA (Lidl carving axe :D) ~23 degrees (less than I expected).
Last edited by ToneWood on Fri Mar 29, 2013 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What angle on the bevels for a carving axe

Postby nic » Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:15 pm

The length of the bevel is a product of the angle and the thickness of the steel. I don't think it is much use without more information.

I tend to grind my axes ( that I sell) to 28 deg. I have found this is the lowest angle that will hold an edge when put up against some kiln dried knotty oak, I get away with less on my own axes.
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Re: What angle on the bevels for a carving axe

Postby ToneWood » Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:05 am

nic wrote:The length of the bevel is a product of the angle and the thickness of the steel. I don't think it is much use without more information.
The shape of the bevel is also a factor. I usually aim for fairly flat bevels for carving currently (non-carving axe bevels are traditionally convex, as is the right-side bevel of the right-handed Gransfor SCA) but then round the "shoulder" where the bevel meets the non-bevel. So the bevels are flat with convex shoulders - like HK carving gouges & adzes.
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Re: What angle on the bevels for a carving axe

Postby ToneWood » Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:35 am

robin wood wrote:...
If all that is too much hassle and you just want to know jump straight in at something that will probably work then you want somewhere between 25 and 30 degrees.

Sounds like a good range to aim for. Using my little brass bevel gauge is a fairly approximate process anyway: the different slots are usually 2.5-5 degrees apart, the bevel will often not fit exactly (especially if bevels are not flat & symmetrical) and you have to judge what a good fit is, the instructions don't say but I aim for the edge to be in the centre of the circle cut-out below the slot & for the bevels to be touching both sides along their entire length (usually the edge will fit 2 or 3 slots reasonably well but none perfectly, so the reading will be somewhere in the middle).
ImageImage
I suppose you could use a gauge like that shown above right & a protractor, or if you have a Swedish Tormek grinding wheel with the set-up jigs, and set it up using the Tormek angle guide (as described by jrccaim), you could accurately and consistently predetermine your bevel angles.
Image
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Re: What angle on the bevels for a carving axe

Postby nic » Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:09 pm

I see what you are saying Tony, but I know of no way of measuring and replicating the edge angle on a convex bevel. I was taking it as read that we were talking about a flat bevel. It I do blend in the back of a bevel it is really just for clearance and if you blend it in really well then there won't be an end point, the bevel would be the whole side of the axe. Which is why I tend not to do it on axes, I like the crisp contrast between a straight shiny bevel and black forged steel.
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Re: What angle on the bevels for a carving axe

Postby gavin » Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:52 pm

ToneWood wrote:
gavin wrote:Will it be used for carving spoons? If so, I say you want a flat bevel at least 2 or 3 mm wide...
I currently aim for a bevel depth of about one inch (~2.5cm) - probably influenced by pictures of Wille Sundqvists axes. So I'm thinking perhaps Gavin meant 2 or 3cm rather than mm(?).
e.g.
Image
http://www.spooncarving.org.uk/page7/page16/page16.html

I'll measure the angles on my Gransfor Right-handed SCA & my own LCA (Lidl carving axe :D) later & update this post with the result. [I think I measured them before at around 30 degrees, as Robin suggests above.]

No, I meant a flat bevel at 2 to 3 millimeters minimum. My caveat is that I have carved few spoons. I find a rounded i.e. convex bevel less use to carve a spoon blank.
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Re: What angle on the bevels for a carving axe

Postby ToneWood » Fri Mar 29, 2013 7:08 pm

Hi Gavin, 2-3mm, I am having trouble picturing that. My smallest, Kent-style axe has a 3mm thick-blade, so I guess 3mm bevels on that would give a 60 degree angle - quite a thick, robust angle but on a very slim blade. However, I notice a much larger #2 Kent-style axe (Gilpin or Whitehouse I think) has a tapering blade which gradually tapers right down to the edge, which could probably take a (secondary?) bevel of any length (it has a 1cm deep bevel at the moment).

BTW I update my earlier post, above, as promised. The SCA had a ~27.5 degree edge, the LCA ~23 degrees.
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Re: What angle on the bevels for a carving axe

Postby ToneWood » Fri Mar 29, 2013 7:09 pm

Hi Nic, you're original point was good & valid. It just got me thinking about how I was achieving that ~1" bevel. I guess in practice I'm usually producing flat bevels less than 1" but rounding the transition is giving me 1" of shiny, ground & polished metal and, as you suggest, I could make that any length.

I am tending to lengthen & flatten the bevels on my axes currently - even on my "forest axe" (below), which is my general purpose axe. For snedding, it already worked very well as shown below, with extended but still fairly short, convex bevels - it was very sharp. I have since extended and flattened the bevels a little more but it didn't really need it, as this has become my "go to" axe for non-carving tasks. Since the image below was taken, the handle has been waxed and has worn-in nicely, my son recently pointed out.
Image

BTW I recently saw a .pdf that showed a Kent pattern axe and a Suffolk/Sussex pattern axe (I forget now which county). They are quite similar - I think both would possibly be taken to be Kent pattern these days. One had a slightly longer blade with more parallel top and bottom edges & the other a more flaring blade shape, giving a longer cutting edge - the difference was subtle though. It struck me that the more flaring blade might be advantageous for carving - my 3lb axe has an unusually long 6" cutting edge, perhaps it is a Sussex/Suffolk pattern (or perhaps not :D).
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