|Review by VanLewis||posted 04-21-2010 05:40 AM||6514 views||0 times favorited||4 comments|
I’ve been using an ancient hand-forged framing chisel, about 2” wide, since I inherited it with a bunch of rusty saws maybe 25 years ago. Other carpenters admire it, mostly I think because you can see the skill of the maker in its hammer dents. It sharpens beautifully, holds an edge farily well, and can cut cleanly while the edge is new. It does have one major drawback, though: the socket was forged around a too-small form, about the diameter of a pencil, so I have to replace the handle much too often. Even the straightest-grain hardwoods break pretty quickly under the mallet because the socket is just too small.
At a workshop recently I borrowed a beautiful chisel by Barr Tools, of McCall, Idaho. This hand-forged tool is a thing of beauty. It doesn’t attract comments like the old one did, but it cuts better, and it feels better in the hand. I bought the more versatile 1-1/2” version [it’s also available in 1” and 2” versions, which are tempting]. It arrived pretty sharp, with a hardwood handle [the tang is twice as thick as I could fit in my old chisel], and a steel ferrule at the top that I think could withstand a jackhammer. It actually weighs about half of what my old chisel does, but it feels more solid and controllable, very nicely balanced. There is none of that lashing feeling of mallet-blows transmitting through the handle. It’s a pleasure to use. It doesn’t get any sharper than the old one, but it stays sharp far longer, so I only need to touch up the edge once or twice a day.
I highly recommend this excellent tool. Whatever you skill, it will allow you to do a better job.