Steel used in Wood Chisels & a Sprayer Question


Old 05-28-00, 07:35 PM
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I have seen wood chisels using different types of steel advertised (ie. sheffield, carbon, etc.) Is there really a difference and if so, which is best? On a totally different note, I want to spray an exterior latex paint. I already have a 5hp 20gal compressor,so, other than buying a Wagner, what type of sprayer would work for this (if any) and are there any specific specifications I should look for? Thanks in advance for your help!
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Old 05-28-00, 10:55 PM
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Yes there are differences in steels. Long complicated subject.

Part of the problem is the consumer names really mean very little. They are general terms. Like Sheffield, etc. Not that they are not good, they are.

In general several things to know. Be wary of any cheap tool for cutting made of stainless steel. The quench procedure is a two or more step complicated procedure and without the correct one the tools are difficult to sharpen and don't hold an edge well. I never buy anything from stainless for shop cutting tools.

Most good hand tools use what are generally referred to as tool steels. These are always a form of carbon steel.

What sets them apart is not so much the metal base but the type or method of surface or complete hardening or treatment.

Many people prefer older tools made by a black smith for this reason. I've found there is a different between modern tools and the old timers. The old timers if done well are better to sharpen and hold their edge better.

In general I prefer the older cutting tools, like chisels, planes, files, saws, etc.

For the modern tools quality counts and is not cheap. Any of the top USA, Swedish, German, Japanese and maybe English manufacturers.

In that I do not consider names like Craftman or Stanley in the top tier. Virtually nothing from China is in the big leagues.

I always hesitate to throw around names. Look in magazines like Fine Homebuilding or Fine Woodworking on the newsstand for good quality manufacturers.

If you have the compressor with the horses like that why monkey around with a Wagner.

Why not get the real McCoy. Get an air spray gun like you paint cars with. Or an industrial air spray gun.

Today they make two general types. The older style (sometimes called High Pressure) and the new versions called HVLP (High volume Low Pressure).

The new versions are to meet air quality regulations better and they produce less overspray that can get a rookie in trouble.

They use less air to move more paint. They actually cost less than a Wagner and will outlast it many, many times over and you can spray the entire range of products from the thinnest to the thickest. Latex, enamel, stains, car finishes, just about anything made to be sprayed.

There are models to take suction directly from a paint can.

I have the entire range from a air brush, what is called a jam gun or touch up gun, regular air spray guns. The jam guns are mini version of the big guns called that because in the auto body trade are used in tight places like door jams on cars.

The money is in the compressor, not in the guns. For ocassional use, you can buy the off brands. A good source get the Harbor Freight tool catalog 1-800-423-2567.

Get a first class regulator / filter unit for your compressor and you can tackle any job on a professional level.

Warning - Don't go around spraying houses, etc. in built up residential areas. It is a good way to have everybody and his brother claiming you owe them a new paint job on their car because of dots of paint.

You really have to think about how and where to use any type of spray gun, including a good respirator for yourself.

Read up a bit on the subject, maybe surf the Web, maybe talk to painters local who use them.

Really super thing to have in your shop and equipment inventory.

Best of luck in your endeavors.


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