Hand Tools Archive
Warren in Lancaster, PA
A mortise chisel is a precision instrument. We don't bash them or smash them. The bevel needs to be flat because we ride the bevel when excavating, and the back needs to be flat because we ride the back when making precise end cuts.
There is a reason why the mortise chisels in the Seaton chest average 11 pence and the firmer chisels average 4 pence apiece. It is because of the precision and care needed to make a functional tool. It is not because the mortise chisels have more steel or more iron; the widest mortise chisel is 1/2 while the firmer chisels go up to 2 inches wide. And the heavy socket chisels, 1/2 to 1 1/4, are likewise cheaper than the mortise chisels.
In the Sheffield list, a 3/8 mortise chisel costs twice what a 1 1/2 firmer chisel does.