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Small Turnings #2: First new tool handle for an old chisel

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Blog entry by David Craig posted 01-11-2012 01:18 AM 2052 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Maple Dish Part 2 of Small Turnings series no next part

Over the Christmas break, I discovered a small mom and pops antique store/restaurant, so I took the boys out for a walk, gave us each a few bucks, and let everyone look for a small, unexpected, treasure. Sam took an interest in a small silver spoon (I guess it was fitting since he wasn’t born with one in his mouth ;) and Gabe took a shining to an old military hat. As for myself, I found an old Buck Brothers 3/8 inch socket straight chisel. No handle, but it was only two bucks and the company just don’t make chisels like this anymore. So today, I was looking for a quck shop project to get my mojo running again and decided this would be an ideal time to make a handle for that chisel.

I have a habit of collecting old wood junk i find. Old broken tables, chairs, etc. Anything that contains a snippet of real wood quickly becomes part of my hoard. In this case, I have a small collection of table legs. They are Oak, the square portions not good for much since they have been deeply drilled to hold the dowels, but the middle section looked like it could make a decent handle -

After the square blocks, were removed, I now have a turning blank and chisel steel -

Mounted on the lathe, I start hogging off the material -

Once at a uniform width, I start working on the taper that will house the chisel. The deepest recesses of the chisel are too narrow for my turning calipers and my regular calipers bottom out too shallow of the socket. So what I decided to do was perform a partial mount of the chisel blade and adjust my rest so that the proper taper would be acheived by setting the skew at 90 degrees on the rest. In this pic I am not quite there yet -

But I got it figured out and came to a very tight match -

All that remained was to shape out the handle. From pictures I have seen and the couple socket chisels I owned, the handles for these are rather short. One hand holds the blade steady, the other provides the pressure. The goal is not power but control. I shaped the handle accordingly -

A few mallet strokes to set the handle and a couple coats of shellac and Voila -

Not perfect, but definitely passable. Could use a ferrule on the end to prevent splitting, but if it breaks, I will just make another one. This wouldn’t be used for deep mortising anyway. Just shallow ones involving hinges and whatnot so I should be good for awhile. Nice project to learn some control and make shavings to accomodate set dimensions.

Thank you all for viewing and keep the sawdust flying :)

David

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.



9 comments so far

View David 's profile

David

81 posts in 1324 days


#1 posted 01-11-2012 02:36 AM

Very nice work

-- David, Center,Texas

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1798 days


#2 posted 01-11-2012 04:41 AM

Thanks David. The compliment is very kind :)

David

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Rustic's profile

Rustic

3146 posts in 2286 days


#3 posted 01-11-2012 05:56 AM

beautiful handle

-- www.carvingandturningsbyrick.com, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View swirt's profile

swirt

1946 posts in 1662 days


#4 posted 01-11-2012 06:03 AM

Nice rescue David. Glad I am not the only one that hoards wood scraps for a rainy day. ;)

For the problem of getting the depth and inner diameter of the socket, I use a pencil (either un-sharpened or the eraser end) to get the depth, then use the end of it to set the diameter. This keeps you from getting the full depth and the absolute minimum diameter which would keep the handle from seating correctly because it would bottom out.

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3675 posts in 1854 days


#5 posted 01-11-2012 05:08 PM

Looks great. Sooner or later I has got to get a lathe. I use my old chisels for glue chipping and scraping. I keep them about as sharp as my regular set, because it is easy to do with the WS3000.

Have a good one. I am kinda running on fumes here, I think the hard work of the last couple of months caught up to me…............

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1798 days


#6 posted 01-12-2012 06:43 AM

Thanks gentlemen, do appreciate the feedback. Jim, is there a vacation coming up in the near future for you? Sounds like you been working like a dog. Makes sense that you would be busy though. What else are couples going to do in Alaska in January and February?

swirt – Liked your blog on handle making and will use as a reference in the future. Makes sense to me, now, why all these old chisels always seem to have shorter stubs for the socket. Though I am a little confused in one area. On my chisel, there was a decent sized lip which I thought would require a shoulder for. The shoulder would press the lip and would distribute more even force and less wobble on the strike. Yet, that shoulder also would prevent the handle from being driven any deeper into the socket. Not really something that would keep me up at night but just made me wonder if it would be better to have a more exact fitting handle and just shim it with more material when it is loosened or keep the fitting short of the mark and just keep whacking it in deeper.

Thanks again for the kind words,

David

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View swirt's profile

swirt

1946 posts in 1662 days


#7 posted 01-12-2012 07:11 AM

“On my chisel, there was a decent sized lip which I thought would require a shoulder for. The shoulder would press the lip and would distribute more even force and less wobble on the strike.”

The shoulder, if solid enough can essentially bottom out before the tenon becomes tight, so I tend to leave enough gap to not have the shoulder bottom out either.
If you look at socket chisels both old and new you see that a gap is left between the shoulder and the steel
Here is a modern Stanley

Here are the Lie-Nielsen

And on the large corner chisels for timber framing ( a chisel that typically takes and incredible amount of bashing with a large mallet) you can see that no shoulder is even attempted.

The actual socket on your chisel should be more than strong enough to transfer the blow from just contact with the taper of the tenon, it does not need the contact from the shoulder.

The shoulder is more of a comfort and aesthetics issue. You need a bit of a gap so it doesn’t bottom out, but you don’t want so much gap that it is uncomfortable to hold.

This is one of the reasons why the old Stanley “Everlast” chisels are so popular. They feel great in the hand because there is no gap between handle-shoulder and the “socket”. The catch though is that on those, there is no socket and the metal cap on the end of the handle actually extends all the way to the chisel, so the wood handle carries nothing of the impact from a hammer.

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3675 posts in 1854 days


#8 posted 01-12-2012 08:03 AM

David
Yup, vacation in 22 days, and we are counting!

Gad zooks, some interesting stuff here…....yawning right now, have to come back here tomorrow…..

.......tomorrow…......

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View jockmike2's profile

jockmike2

10635 posts in 2936 days


#9 posted 01-12-2012 07:21 PM

Nice handle David, here I thought you were suffering from a tooth ache. I’m glad it is gone, if it is. I’m going to order a new bandsaw in the next couple days. I was wondering about that tension screw handle or round thing under the top part, is it hard to krank to get the right tension. I looks like it might be in the way somehow. Are you still happy with your Grizzly. If so that’s what I’m getting.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

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