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Forum topic by Bertha posted 03-03-2011 10:06 PM 38358 views 19 times favorited 1921 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Bertha

12951 posts in 1379 days


03-03-2011 10:06 PM

Topic tags/keywords: chisel witherby butcher

There’s a lot of discussion around here about planes…and I’m prone to chime in on most of it. Does anyone want to talk about chisels? I am very fond of chisels, straight or swan, skew or flat, short or fat, tang or socket. What kind of chisels do you prefer for paring, chopping, and mortising? Do you prefer tang or socket? What brands do you admire? I’m very anxious to expand my knowledge base, particularly about brands to which I’m naive.

For paring, I like a wide chisel with a short, fat, round handle. For chopping, I like cheap chisels with the handles bobbed-down. For mortising, I like a very high quality chisel, either pigsticker or socket. I really enjoy Witherby socket and Butcher tang chisels. I also like the vintage Stanley 750 line. I weep over Damascus Japanese varieties.

Give your favorite chisel some love & share its story here.

W. Butcher tang in rosewood

T.H. Witherby socket in cocobolo and tulip

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


1921 replies so far

View swirt's profile

swirt

1946 posts in 1658 days


#1 posted 03-03-2011 10:27 PM

I’m much more fond of socket chisels than tang. For some reason, drilling a straight hole in a handle escapes my grasp. LOL

I have grown kind of partial to chisels made by D R Barton. They were made in my home town from 1832 to the early 1900’s. They aren’t too difficult to find for a tool that age. I have a couple of old Witherbys and they are nice, but my long term goal is to end up with a complete set of D R Bartons. Mainly just for the challenge of it.

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

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Bertha

12951 posts in 1379 days


#2 posted 03-03-2011 10:32 PM

Now see, that’s exactly what I’m talking about, Swirt! That’s as good a reason as I’ve ever heard for chasing a brand. Chisels seem to have that extra “something” that makes me want to collect them. If any were made in my home town, I’d be all over them. I’m pretty sure I have a few Bartons in my collection. I’m definitely going to look tonight.

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

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swirt

1946 posts in 1658 days


#3 posted 03-03-2011 11:39 PM

I have been happy with the Barton quality. I started with a Barton drawknife, then some chisels, then a couple wooden planes, then a side-axe… The brand alone won’t cause me to pick one up, but it does help tip me off the fence if I am having trouble deciding. ;)

Some dating info here in case you are interested http://www.davistownmuseum.org/bioBarton.html

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

View cabmaker's profile

cabmaker

1311 posts in 1495 days


#4 posted 03-03-2011 11:47 PM

I use vintage stanley #40 s. Because I have a full set of them. I use them for any occasion a chisel is needed. They do hold an edge very well, and they are very rugged. I have grabbed up a few spares over the years but they are difficult to come by.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1281 posts in 1684 days


#5 posted 03-04-2011 01:01 AM

swirt:

Neener neener neener. Thos Witherby from 1/8 to 2” in an original box :) – by eighths. But they are varying condition and all need to be rehandled. What is commonly referred to as a harlequin set.

I really have an embarrassment of chisels. I just like them. What can I say? In a previous life, I used to scour flea markets and garage sales and sell off extras to fund my “affliction.”

I prefer to use registered chisels most times. I have one old Isaac Greaves that is my real go to chisel. 1-1/4 socket firmer. It just “feels right” for most stuff. Looks like this one but a lot better condition (but this one in pic would probably clean up pretty)

http://theoldtoolshed.co.uk/products/175-early-isaac-greaves-chisel.aspx :

A bunch of really frightening socket chisels and gouges (up to 19” blade to end of socket kind of scarey.) Going up in range to 3 1/2 in or so.
Just not too long ago picked up a set of Japanese style chisels from Grizzly. I actually like them a lot.
Sets of mortise chisels and gouges. (Modern vintage)
A set of firmers from Crown I believe (old Woodworkers Supply house brand)
Corner chisels (bruzz) in a couple sizes.

A pile of orphan chisels that I have not had time to get into use on the bottom shelf of my small workbench. They make great stocking stuffers.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1379 days


#6 posted 03-04-2011 01:03 AM

Cabmaker, I really like the #40’s as well. I like that deep, prismatic taper on the bevel side. They’re definitely a beefy chisel. I don’t own any myself to my knowledge, but you’ve got me thinking….

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

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3496 posts in 2646 days


#7 posted 03-04-2011 01:56 AM

Well, glad to know that someone else has some W. Butcher stuff. I’ve collected several Butcher items (including a tennon saw), and find them to be excellect. Cast steel, and they really hold up well.
On subject…I have both socket and tang chisels.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View Roper's profile

Roper

1362 posts in 2399 days


#8 posted 03-04-2011 01:56 AM

I like the socketed chisels because it is much easier to replace a handle, I have almost a full set of James Swans that I would not trade for anything,they hold a great edge and have done well on every type of wood I have thrown at them. They are probably 80 to 100 yours old. I also have an old set of Pexto’s for my timber framing chisels. I like old hand tools.I also have a Swan draw knife same time frame.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust- www.roperwoodturning.com

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1379 days


#9 posted 03-04-2011 02:11 AM

So, to tally (this is very exciting to me), I’ve learned about D.R. Barton and have a new reason to collect them (my man, Swift); Cab’s got me re-interested in the Stanley #40’s; I’ve found a fellow T.H.W. guy in D. Kirtley (who’s got a set that might possibly threaten his life in real life; but this is the internet, thankfully); Bill’s backing me up on the Butcher’s & that’s the first I’m hearing of a saw! Roper’s in on the Swans (own a few) & gives a nod to the Pexto big boys.

This is glorious.

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

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Bertha

12951 posts in 1379 days


#10 posted 03-04-2011 02:13 AM

Link to gentleman Kirtley’s Graves above & zoom on the detail. If that doesn’t give you the chisel-willies, nothing will. Spectacular!

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

View TechRedneck's profile

TechRedneck

742 posts in 1543 days


#11 posted 03-04-2011 02:39 AM

I am looking for a good set myself. I don’t have the time to go to auctions or yard sales but could use a good set of new ones. Any suggestions? I noticed that Woodcraft and Woodpeckers have some sales this weekend.

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1379 days


#12 posted 03-04-2011 03:52 AM

Hey Tech, the big box stores usually have sets of Irwin/Marples plastic-handles for around $20-30/set or so. I cut the handles off flat to a reasonable length for chopping & replace them when I ruin them. I’ve bought two-cherries-brand sets, which aI found rather nice for the bucks. Of course, you can hit up Japan Woodworker for some beautiful sets if you’re willing to spend a bit more. I tend to have three types of chisels: 1) those that I beat to death (cheap; as above), 2) those high-end ones for specific tasks (mortising, etc.), and 3) those that I just admire. Good luck, my friend!

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

View TechRedneck's profile

TechRedneck

742 posts in 1543 days


#13 posted 03-04-2011 04:20 AM

Bertha,, I’ve heard others on LJ’s talk about the Irwin’s and stopped at Lowes to take a look at them, they did not have any and the sales clerk stated they were not stocking them anymore. I think Home Depot may have them. For that price I’ll give them a try. I have a mortiser but always need to fine tune the joints. I am slowly coming to the realization that I may need a couple sets as you suggest. I would rather sharpen all the tools at once and grab them when needed, this goes for chisels and planes. MORE STUFF!!

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

View swirt's profile

swirt

1946 posts in 1658 days


#14 posted 03-04-2011 05:41 AM

Acquiring old Chisels to me is almost like a game of cards. You keep drawing and discarding until you have a hand you really like. Its kind of fun that way.

Of course David just took the pot with a complete set or Witherbys ;)

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

View Chris Pond's profile

Chris Pond

63 posts in 1733 days


#15 posted 03-04-2011 06:30 AM

As of most of my wood working tool my Chisels are old. I prefer socket because you can’t “hurt” the Chisel handle but the “tang” my fear would be to split the handle. Here are some of my Chisel they are larger, but my thought was I still could by a refine set later. Like Blue Sprue one nice set :)

Pictures are in my Profile thx.

Chris

-- Chris, Summerland BC

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