Hand Tools Archive

Re: Mike Brady - Phil Lowe's Chisels

david weaver
Not speaking for warren, but just providing a side comment as someone who shuffles through things out of curiosity.

The only modern chisels that have the same feel as a typical 61 hardness vintage cast steel chisel ( in terms of steel ) are decent quality japanese chisels that aren't as hard as they say they are.

Iyoroi come to mind - some of those aren't that great, some are fine. I had a set of wrought white #2 chisels that probably were 61/62 hardness and sharpened well on oilstones. I liked the trade off better than the chisels that are in the nearly untempered range - they were more practical for work.

In proportion, the ashley iles chisels are closest to the vintage chisels for handle grippers, but on the light side of things. similar steel/edge holding, not quite as "dry", but only a person using natural oilstones would notice the difference.

A friend and I had a whole bunch of chisels tested on a versitron years ago. we had one iyoroi mortise chisel that was probably specified at 64, but it averaged 61, and sharpened like 61. It would probably be quite nice to use, but he's the kind of person who doesn't use hand tools unless he has to. I broke a much "nicer" japanese mortise chisel at the lamination line - one that was truly full hardness - miyanaga, I think. They don't take abuse, but it wasn't getting abuse. I'd assume that there was some fault.

i'll stop before I risk going on about 80 different types of chisels.

The best way for someone to get vintage chisels of good quality is just to look at uk ebay (they bring money now, though - there's a nice set of marples shamrock on ebay that will probably cost close to what good new chisels cost when all is said and done).

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