Hand Tools Archive

Re: LN's comments are a 50/50 mix

david weaver
I'm sure the stock costs more than silver steel drill rod would, or flat stock in any plain steel shy of the boutique carbon steels, but I recall seeing one of these chisels made in a CNC lathe on line from either square or round stock (probably round).

The processes are far detached from what we'd think in terms of making a chisel. The traditional method (in modern terms) would involve die forging, and with good stock, that still makes a superb chisel. Even purchasing premium O1 rod (something domestic like Precision) and CNC maching a chisel and heat treating it properly would make a fine grained tough chisel, but it would move some.

Having moved further along in the making and using, the only thing that leaves me with a bit of a bitter taste is the way these chisels were marketed. They are very finely finished, but were marketed as being socketed and A2 as though the combination was an improvement both in part and in sum. Socket allows for a shorter billet, for the socket and handle to be made and joined with little or no hand input and the A2 allows for stability.

I don't think they could've been made there any other way, and the bloggers like Chris Schwarz and some of the video makers went right along with it.

They are good chisels for what they are, but they are what they are (I am speculating, but I'd say form dictated by process rather than process dictated by form) - and that is not something equivalent to a mid to late 1800s cast steel chisel like a ward or I&H sorby.

I see hitachi white japanese tools and Ward or IH Sorby chisels as pretty much being the same thing. One hardened to about 61/62 and the other 64/65. But it's no accident that hitachi white is preferred for japanese chisels.

Warren -I saw your comment on SMC regarding stanley plane irons. I'm tempted as i've thought the same thing - I believe that stanley's irons are in a lower hardness range to suit the users, but that the stock is very high quality. What I'm tempted to do is reharden them, as I've found my own O1 irons (which I assumed would be subpar) to be superior in use to most of the modern replacement irons. I just don't think some of the modern stuff is made with much care as far as what's going on at the edge is concerned. Much is certainly very precisely made, but I shouldn't be able to get high quality domestic stock and outrun a hock O1 iron so easily with nothing more than a coffee can forge.

At a commercial level, I doubt the market would ever get it. They'll (typical new users) paint by the numbers regarding whatever they're sold and repeat the marketing lines (like the comments about ECE primus planes having long wearing irons - their irons are terrible - each that I've tried has been in the lowest quartile, probably 10% and I was happy to see that brent beach found the same, though he doesn't really know what he's concluding about the pictures he shows as he hasn't grasped that wear bevel length isn't important if the edge is blunt and not close to uniform).

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