Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I keep staring at the 3/4 inch long gash through the tip of my thumb for two reasons. One, it hurts. Two, I have no idea how I got it. Well, that second point is mostly true.

I've been slowly acquiring tools as I complete house projects. One basic set of tools I wanted was a set of new wood chisels. I have an old set of wood chisels that I inherited from my dad, but they are in pretty tough shape. As I child of about 9, I mistook them for stone chisels and carved out the year in a rock by our deck. Surprisingly, my dad never said anything about the rock or the chisels.

These days, I almost always turn to the Internet when buying anything. And did I get an education on chisels. The chisels at the store are not ready for use. They need to be sharpened. And sharpening a chisel can turn into another $150 purchase (or more). So after spending $40 on chisels and another $70 on sharpening stones and a honing guide, I spent several hours getting my chisels razor sharp.

Make no mistake, working with a razor sharp chisel is an absolute joy. Being able to slice off a piece of wood with just a gentle push is a bit of a power rush, especially when dealing with hard woods.

I've been working on winterizing the house and last night I was doing the last little bit on our back door. The latch on the door no longer fits into the strike plate (like many of our doors) thanks to 90 years of settling. I removed the strike plate and some very old spring bronze weatherstripping so that I could move the strike plate down about 3/16 of an inch.

As I said, a razor sharp chisel is a thing of joy. The only problem is that all of a sudden I found blood everywhere. I thought, "Where is that from? Is it mine? Nobody else is here, so it must be mine. Why doesn't it hurt? Oh crap! Blood on my new chisels!" At which point I forgot about finding the cut as I went to find a rag to clean up my new chisels. When I got back to working on the strike plate, my thumb started hurting because I'd succeeded in packing it with 90 years of dirt, coal dust and insect effluence.

I can't be exactly sure that the cut was from the chisels. The spring bronze is also extremely sharp and quite dangerous, so it could have been from that. Either way I can't stop looking at it. Every time I hit the space bar with that thumb, it hurts.


ShoNuff said...

If you didn't feel it I'd shift the odds to the (SWEET!) chisel. A really nice clean cut often doesn't cause much pain and the stripping probably would be more of a rip (even if only on a microscopic level). Plus you caught them covered in blood... Do you need more proof?

Mr. Kluges said...

Sure, but they're MY chisels - they're not supposed to hurt me. I've been taking good care of them. Then again, maybe they're just getting me back for the abuse of my dad's chisels.