Hand Tools Archive

Mike Brady - Phil Lowe's Chisels *PIC*

David Weaver
Hi Mike - seeing as I resigned my membership on SMC, I can't respond to your post there about Phil's chisels.

That era of marples is hit or miss, but they are very pretty and somewhat substantial but nice-to-hold chisels.

I have a set of them where 4 or 5 of the 8 are unhardened and the rest are OK, but could use rehardening, too.

I wouldn't search them out unless you're comfortable rehardening them. You might get something good or you might not.

If you can find an older set in that style with an octagonal bolster or even just dull looking handles, they'll be better for most things. Phil's working mostly mahogany in his videos, which doesn't really differentiate one chisel from another.

I did have a set of parers from that era (sold them), and they were quite nice, took a nice edge and held it well. I sold them when I found older parers. They generally (anything 70s or later, guessing a little at the time frame) say "chrome vanadium" or something on the backs, but I wouldn't lump them in with that sort of cheap coarse grading - they were just below some of the better vintage chisels.

Their proportions make it somewhat important that you're a handle gripper and not a blade gripper if you decide to search them out. I'd suggest the older versions, but I think the style is dandy.

Heavier than ashley iles chisels on the bigger chisels by a good bit. I believe they're forged in a die, probably hardened in open atmosphere in a bath/splashed on a moving line at high speed (thus the failure to be done right sometimes - it's not possible for them to be as bad as mine are if they are done by any careful process).

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