Mysterious "line" in vintage wood chisel

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Forum topic by dtraster posted 12-26-2017 02:22 PM 561 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 1192 days

12-26-2017 02:22 PM

Topic tags/keywords: mystery chisel

I refurbished a vintage chisel for my brother-in-law for Christmas. It’s a Witte Hardware 1XL paring chisel 1.25” wide. When I polished it, I noticed a change in the metal about half-way down the blade. The line is on both sides of the blade. It looks like the blade is two pieces of metal welded together. I know that some cutting tools are made of softer metal with a harder piece wielded in for the cutting edge. I speculate that’s what’s going on here. But it could be something else.

So the question is should give this to my brother-in-law or keep it for myself?

More specifically:
How was the chisel made?
Is this an extremely rare and highly-prized collector’s chisel?
Or is it a run-of-the-mill every-day working tool?


7 replies so far

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1923 posts in 1151 days

#1 posted 12-26-2017 03:32 PM

My guess on the line is that is where any oil quench or other cooling technique was ended (the line marks how far they dipped it into the fluid vat).

I’m sure some of the smithing folks here can give a definitive answer.

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3119 posts in 1918 days

#2 posted 12-26-2017 03:34 PM

Yes, probably the limit of the hardening of the steel.

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15246 posts in 2547 days

#3 posted 12-26-2017 04:08 PM

You did a nice job refurbing that chisel, looks great. The line is certainly nothing I’d worry about. Witte is (was) a national hardware distributor, meaning the chisel was made for them as a rebrand. Who made it? Someone (not me) knows and might post more info. As far as keep vs. gift, I guess that depends on what you want to do and how much you like you BIL.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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4 posts in 1192 days

#4 posted 12-26-2017 07:23 PM

Thanks. It wasn’t something I was worried about . . . it was an old rusty chisel with no handle when I started working on it. Mostly a learning experience. Quench line makes lots of sense.

I gave it to my BIL and was always going to give it to him for a umber of reasons. I cleaned it up and polished it but he helped me sharpen it with his Tormek and Shapton Water Stones. I only asked that question so I could show it to him . . . He thought it was almost as funny as I did . . . almost.

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19456 posts in 2612 days

#5 posted 12-26-2017 08:39 PM

Used to be, that line was where the tool steel was welded to the iron body of the blade….a Laminated chisel. Might even see another such line in the bevel’s edge.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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4665 posts in 3172 days

#6 posted 12-27-2017 05:19 PM

If the line extends all the way around the blade, then it could be caused by the quenching process. If only on one surface???

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4 posts in 1192 days

#7 posted 12-28-2017 05:52 PM

It’s on both sides. It’s a little hard to see but the last two photos show the line on each side. It’s roughly straight across on the “top” and a little bit crooked on the “bottom” side of the blade.

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