Old gems #2: mortice chisels (pig sticker)

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Blog entry by Gibernak posted 06-28-2013 12:52 PM 2572 reads 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: I didn't know that my plane was so beautiful Part 2 of Old gems series Part 3: old hacksaw »

A month ago I bought these chisels for about 10 dollars. I didn’t really know what it was before I began investigating.

I began by checking the names of chisels

3 of them are stamped “Ward”

5 of them are mortise chisels, the old pig sticker kind, but the handles were in bad condition. They were worm-eaten and split so I decided to replace them and they were quite rusty.

So I put them in some water with citric acid

And made new handels

This is how they look now.

They are not like new, but I think they ended up looking nice.

I haven’t sharpened them yet.
The are oblivious sharpened with a bench grinder and have a curved edge.
I am not sure if that’s the way to go or they have to be more straight?

6 comments so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15280 posts in 2583 days

#1 posted 06-28-2013 01:20 PM

Excellent find, indeed. I like the new handles. No advise on sharpening, as I don’t have any mortising chisels in the till (yet).

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View chrisstef's profile


17307 posts in 2971 days

#2 posted 06-28-2013 01:26 PM

Whoa! Pigstickers in the wild. Awesome!

Little bit of google info:

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View steliart's profile


2595 posts in 2653 days

#3 posted 06-28-2013 04:25 PM

i could buy those off from you LOL
Nice burgain

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions

View theoldfart's profile


9614 posts in 2416 days

#4 posted 06-28-2013 05:11 PM

I would not keep the curved edge. Since they are a mortise chisel they take a lot of stress at the front edge levering out waste. Use less a steeper, 20 or so, angle than you would on a standard chisel . Also “The arris between bevel and top has been intentially and skillfully radiused. Quote from This again facilitates levering out waste

You can see the curved transition on the second and third from the left

Great find on those pig stickers. If you find them too boring give me a call!

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Loren's profile


10261 posts in 3613 days

#5 posted 06-28-2013 05:17 PM

I think they are typically beveled at around 25 degrees
and then a secondary bevel of 35 degrees.

25 degrees is too shallow to hold up to mortising,
so the secondary bevel needs to be enough
so the edge holds up ok. Mortising is really hard
on chisels, so they won’t stay razor sharp long at
all but the geometry of the edge needs to be
obtuse enough for some durability.

Your chisels look ground way too obtuse to me.

View theoldfart's profile


9614 posts in 2416 days

#6 posted 06-28-2013 11:12 PM

I’ll have to think about this. I’ve never had a secondary bevel on them and I cut fairly deep mortises without issue.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

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