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Michaels Musings

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mr t05/11/2015 12:47:02
5 forum posts

I read with interest Michael Huntleys piece "To stab or not to stab" in the latest Good woodworking. I teach just this technique on my beginners courses and don't understand what the problem is with it. I think the name "stabbing technique" is a bit of a misnomer. Surely it's paring. Paring is an important chisel technique that beginners need to learn and paring a lap joint I find to be an excellent learning exercise.

The term stabbing technique may indicate why he has a problem. Stabbing is not an accurate way to cut, the motion should be from the body with the elbow tucked into the hip, this gives a good clean cut which allows you to see what is happening to the surface. It can also be learnt fairly quickly. Stabbing is uncontrolled and will give a ragged uneven face that cannot be read.

Michael doesn't tell us technique he uses for excavating a lap if not paring. You could use a hand router, but this is not a common tool and there are learning issues with this as well.

If you're interested here's my video on cutting a lap joint.**LINK**

Chris

**LINK**

Tegan Foley06/11/2015 09:55:21
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Moderator
21 forum posts
148 articles

Hi Chris, please see below response from Michael Huntley, posted by me on his behalf!

Hello Chris, I am sorry that I wasn't clear enough in my comments. I called it "stabbing" because I don't agree with what appeared to be a random uncontrolled paring, even though it was undertaken by a skilled craftsman. My point is that a skilled, experienced man can use tools in a way that an inexperienced beginner cannot. It may be to do with muscle memory. Paring must be controlled to be accurate and safe. Fast paring at stabbing speed is correct for a chap with 20 years experience but is dangerous and inaccurate for a learner. I clean laps by chisel paring and then with a shoulder plane. Guide paring blocks also help. Thanks for your comments, I'll try and be more precise in future but that may make the "Musing" more wordy!

Michael

mr t06/11/2015 19:41:07
5 forum posts

I think you're being too cautious Michael. I don't see how paring can be dangerous, as long as you keep both hands behind the sharp end, as I impress on my students. I know beginners will not be as accurate as those with 20 years experience but if you don't try you'll never learn.

It's a bit like sawing tenons. Many beginners saw shy of the line as their technique is not good, thinking they will pare back to the line. This usually takes ages and often results in loose tenons. I encourage people to saw to the line as if you don't try you'll never do it.

Chris

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