I’ve owned this 5/8″ firmer chisel for years. I’ve kept it around because I always wanted to reshape it and turn it into a chisel to clean out half blind dovetails but never got around to doing it. Since my wife is out of town, I have a lot of shop time right now, so I decided today would be the day.
I used a sharpie to lay out a rough idea of what I wanted the blade to look like. I wanted it to be flared out on both sides, so when I clean up the inside of half blind dovetail pockets, the blade will get all the way into the corners.
I took the chisel over to the bench grinder and carefully and slowly ground away the sides so as not to burn up the tool steel and have it lose its temper.
After a few minutes of grinding, I was happy with the overall look of the chisel. It wasn’t perfectly symmetrical on both sides, but I didn’t care. I would be the only one to use it, so I don’t have to impress anyone with my craftsmanship.
I then went on to sharpen the blade with my water cooled sharpening machine and a few water stones to hone the edge. I then polished the back of the blade to a mirror finish just in case I did get a visitor in my shop and wanted to impress them. Lol
After the chusel was sharpened and honed, it was time to see how the chisel worked. I laid out a few half blind dovetails and sawed and cut out the waste with some bench chisels. Then I tried cleaning up the sides and bottoms with my new dovetail chisel. Sure enough, it cut beautifully! I was able to get into the corners of the pocket with this chisel, something that I had a hard time doing before with my normal bench chisels.
I made a little holder for the chisel and added it to my tool cabinet door. I put off doing this project for years, thinking it would have taken a lot of time to complete, but it ended up only taking about an hour. Figures.