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Putting a James Swan chisel back into service #2: Rebuilding the handle and adding on--varnish dip and it's a hone run!

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Blog entry by Lee Barker posted 12-27-2011 05:30 PM 1089 reads 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Runup to the decision, assessing the situation, planning the resurrection Part 2 of Putting a James Swan chisel back into service series no next part

I considered turning a new handle, and while that has a certain appeal I couldn’t get excited about it. I wanted to save the old one. Easy enough to say, but once I made that decision I began to feel it was just too small for the width and weight of the steel.

I used high quality epoxy, mixed with sawdust, to fill the cracks. At this point I am thinking the wood, which may be ash but I’m not certain, will be a lovely natural tone and the epoxy stripes won’t be too unsightly. Alas the wood had some deep stains in it, revealed in sanding.

When I cut the leather washers off I could see the tenon was still sound, just mushroomed. I decided to add a rosewood butt to the handle, increasing its length by 2 inches.

More epoxy, a 1/2” hole in the rosewood to accommodate the tenon (the mushroom shape was a structural gift!) and let it sit.

Here’s the final product: I dipped it in ebony stain, let it dry a couple days and then dipped it in three coats of varnish.

And here’s the result of the hone run:

It’s a usable tool with nice heft and balance. Overall length, 11 inches. I can see it being used to clean out the sides of mortises with a tap tap here and a tap tap there. Meantime, I just leave it on the bench and pick it up now and then and admire it. I hope its new life—anything but a “restoration”—is a long one.

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"



9 comments so far

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1415 days


#1 posted 12-27-2011 05:37 PM

I LOOOOVE me some James Swan. They’re hard to win lately on Ebay. I’ve become mostly a Butcher guy but I’ve got a few Swans. I’ve also got his drawknife which I love.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Terry Ferguson's profile

Terry Ferguson

203 posts in 1389 days


#2 posted 12-27-2011 06:52 PM

Good job – the chisel resurrection turned out very nice and I like the dark handle for a change from the ordinary.

-- Terry Ferguson, Bend Oregon

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1415 days


#3 posted 12-27-2011 07:38 PM

^Now I’m thinking about an ebonized handle with a stainless ferrule. That would look sweet.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2169 posts in 1572 days


#4 posted 12-27-2011 08:02 PM

Al, what about a few Cubic Zirconia embedded in the ferrule? The more I think about it, the more I like it…

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View racerglen's profile

racerglen

2366 posts in 1502 days


#5 posted 12-27-2011 08:15 PM

Oh Oh.. Lee and Al..TOOL PORN ALERT !
Lee, nice save ! Like your aproach very much..

-- Glen, Vernon B.C. Canada

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2169 posts in 1572 days


#6 posted 12-27-2011 08:22 PM

Al and I will accept shipment of your chisels and render them blingy and return them to you in their original packaging…

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1415 days


#7 posted 12-27-2011 08:23 PM

^Lee, absent a small fee, of course;) One of us need to buy and engraver and some fine gems, lol.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2169 posts in 1572 days


#8 posted 12-27-2011 08:36 PM

Fine. We could practice on these, unless someone needs them more than we do.

If I had had the BerthaBling inspiration before I listed them, I might be seeing a bid or two.

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Dave's profile

Dave

11198 posts in 1561 days


#9 posted 12-30-2011 04:39 AM

Bertha Bling funny stuff

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

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