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Restoring some chisels, need some help

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Forum topic by Marn64 posted 12-11-2016 10:44 PM 840 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Marn64

295 posts in 623 days


12-11-2016 10:44 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question chisel refurbishing

Hey everyone,
So I recently got a set of antique Witherby chisels for a dollar each. They’re a 1/2 in, 3/4 in, 1 in, and 1 1/4 in. the 1/2 inch is so bent that I can’t lap it out, if I did lap it out I wouldn’t have a chisel left. What is the best course of action here, should I take it to a blacksmith to get it straightened out? Second, most of them still have wood from the handle inside them, how should I get that out?
Thanks,
Benjamin

-- Benjamin, Milwaukee


16 replies so far

View Jeff Heath's profile

Jeff Heath

63 posts in 2907 days


#1 posted 12-11-2016 11:23 PM

A chisel bent that badly is going to be tough to straighten out. Whoever does the work is going to have to know how to redo the heat treat on it, as any heat put to it will ruin the temper. It won’t be hard enough after, so it will have to be heat treated again. Not always easy to do.

As far as getting the old broken wood out, drill them out, and if they weren’t glued or epoxied in, they should come out with a few good raps on a piece of hardwood. If they’re stuck good, or glued in, you’ll have to carefully drill/chisel/gouge them out. Clean out the sockets good before installing new handles.

-- Jeff Heath

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Tim

3681 posts in 1799 days


#2 posted 12-12-2016 02:12 PM

Agree with the above. Short of grinding and lapping you’d have to properly forge and heat treat them. Grinding and lapping would probably be easier, but you’ll have to be careful about overheating when grinding. Or if you know a machinist, you could have them set it up on a surface grinder.

And drilling out the wood should work fine. If they are glued or epoxied, some careful heating will release either. About 400-500 degrees will release most epoxy, wood glue less. Clamp the cutting end on whatever larger piece of metal you have to act as a heat sink or keep it in water.

View mike02130's profile

mike02130

167 posts in 510 days


#3 posted 12-12-2016 03:19 PM

Pictures please.

-- Google first, search forums second, ask questions later.

View Marn64's profile

Marn64

295 posts in 623 days


#4 posted 12-12-2016 10:15 PM

Here is the offending chisel….

-- Benjamin, Milwaukee

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mike02130

167 posts in 510 days


#5 posted 12-12-2016 11:07 PM

I would just leave it alone. Still works fine?

-- Google first, search forums second, ask questions later.

View Loren's profile

Loren

9631 posts in 3486 days


#6 posted 12-13-2016 12:33 AM

That’s an extremely thin profile. Does it match
the other chisels?

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Marn64

295 posts in 623 days


#7 posted 12-13-2016 01:24 AM



That s an extremely thin profile. Does it match
the other chisels?

- Loren


It does match the others in profile (accept for the bend), though each ascending chisel is thicker than the last. This is the thinnest, the 1 1/4 chisel is the thickest. All the others are straight as an arrow. I found them as a set by the way.

-- Benjamin, Milwaukee

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

1011 posts in 1833 days


#8 posted 12-13-2016 03:21 AM

you might find you like that mini swan neck for paring. Is it pretty straight from the edge to the kink? If so that bend will keep your hand a little ways up away from the work when paring.

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View Tim's profile

Tim

3681 posts in 1799 days


#9 posted 12-13-2016 03:31 PM

Yeah, that’s not going to be flattened by grinding. I’d also sharpen the last inch and try to use it that way.

View Downwindtracker2's profile

Downwindtracker2

2 posts in 400 days


#10 posted 12-15-2016 08:49 PM

I have straightened chisels, sometimes in a vise, sometimes with a urethane deadblow hammer on a piece of steel.. Someone bent it using it as pry bar, why shouldn’t it bend back? Most tempering on old chisels doesn’t go all the way up.

-- man of foolish pursuits

View Loren's profile

Loren

9631 posts in 3486 days


#11 posted 12-15-2016 09:19 PM

I can’t really tell from the picture what the
back is, but in truth you normally only
use the end of a chisel so while the bend
is aesthetically annoying, in actual sharpening
for usage it’s no big deal since you only
need to flatten the back inasmuch as
that portion of the back affects the edge.

I also agree with Downwindtracker. I think
you could straighten the chisel using similar
methods.

View Marn64's profile

Marn64

295 posts in 623 days


#12 posted 12-16-2016 08:00 PM

I had no luck bending it out by hand, though I did have an idea, why not use a forge press like so?

-- Benjamin, Milwaukee

View mike02130's profile

mike02130

167 posts in 510 days


#13 posted 12-16-2016 08:02 PM

Why so concerned? Accept it, figure it out or put it in a drawer.

-- Google first, search forums second, ask questions later.

View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

341 posts in 2300 days


#14 posted 12-16-2016 09:10 PM

that half incher is what I like to call a doorstop…. get the other ones tuned up, buy a nice LN 1/2” chisel and make it a day….

View mike02130's profile

mike02130

167 posts in 510 days


#15 posted 12-17-2016 04:11 PM

Here is a hail Mary idea.

I’m not a metal worker but from my experience, steel either bends or snaps. It has spring to it, that is why putting it in a vise or hitting it with a hammer won’t straighten it out. To straighten it out, I believe it needs to be over bent and it may spring back to straight. Your drawing above gave me the idea. Try it out and let us know if it works or not. I have some Witherby chisels and they are excellent.

-- Google first, search forums second, ask questions later.

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