In 1965 I was a teenager beginning my lonely track to woodcarving. My first set of tools was composed by three Sorsakoski bevel-edged firmer chisels made in Finland, which became my carving tools for many years. I was fortunate enough to have bought those Sorsakoski by chance, once because of its superb quality steel (some people say they are made from the same Swedish steel of the famous Berg chisels), also due to their elegant and balanced overall shape and especially because of their very slim and polished blades which end at extraordinary 20° cutting edges (the usual is 25°). I fell in love with them and instinctively they became my quality standard for chisels.
I spent the following 45 years trying unsuccessfully to buy new Sorsakoski chisels and I could not even find a mere reference by Internet searching. However, in December 2010 I met at a Brazilian Website somebody announcing four different sizes of the original Sorsakoski chisel blades (without handles). I could not believe and checked their photos several times. Finally I got convinced they were really original ones. I phoned to the announcer and he told me that his job is to search for antique quality tools among the remaining inventories of hardware stores that went into liquidation. He assured me that those chisels had been in their original boxes for over 45 years so I bought a set of four sizes. I got really thrilled when I removed the original varnish layer from the chisel blades and I took the firm resolution of making for them the closest copies of the original handles even being aware that I do not have a woodturning lathe (remember that my micro workshop is 7 ft x 6 ft only).
Fortunately my clever woodcarving pupil Luiz Flavio Rocha Gomes (see blog http://lumberjocks.com/dilo/blog/19435) lent me a primitive portable lathe that he had built by making its whole structure with plywood and using a small grinding wheel engine for its motion. So, I started the project by making a detailed drawing for each one of the four handles, since the perfect chisel must have an adequate proportion between blade and handle in order to meet a good balance. Accordingly I bought pieces of brass tubes of different gauges that I hand sawed into ferrules (back and front). Also, I hand sawed and planed four cylindrical blanks from a white and hard Brazilian wood called Pau Marfim (Balfourodendron riedelianum).
My first experience using a mock lathe was frightening but quite pleasant with the final results that you can see in the photos. Now I think I have fully honored my first woodcarving love.
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