Hand Tools

Re: A factor, but not the factor

david weaver
...Probably long after most folks fell off of that thread, Rob rehardened or had rehardened four of the common yellow handled buck chisels sold at the orange borg here. Anyone who has picked them up knows that they're:
1) not a weight and geometry that we'd want to use for much cabinetmaking
2) they're a little soft, but uniform and reasonably good quality

Rob wanted to see what would happen they were stepped up into ranges and found that the chisels still didn't really measure up. We don't know what they're made of, but they gave up the ghost when they were driven too high.

That's hardly a surprise, but it's nice to see it confirmed.

The chinese marples chisels were another one. I suspect that if this test were run by 10 people, the chinese marples may still be in the 60 range, but the Blue Spruce butt chisel would not be 65 and the V11 chisel will be something between 61 and 63. Looking at that chart and relying on hardness, we'd assume that the marples and V11 might be similar, but buried in Rob's commentary was that the marples pretty much gave up in hardwoods and didn't live up to its hardness spec.

I don't expect that the data list is perfect, but few people offer to do anything like this. I also wasn't in on the early part and though Rob may have said it between my posts, I either forgot or don't remember reading his comments about hoping to make chisels. I think a lot of people hope to make chisels, but as our discussion went on the other side of this forum, to be a small maker and make chisels - especially if you think you'll make a bench chisel that is more of a classic form and covers all basis, is pretty much a mountain that won't be climbed by small makers for a reasonable level.

That aside, I expect that the measurements that look anomalous would tend toward something less so if 20 people did this test, it's different than a use-test, but it does show me something interesting. The measurements that don't appear to be suspect end up in a pretty narrow range for what we consider to be "good" western chisels and then the second band of measurements for japanese chisels.

(it could very well be, too, that there's some aspect to the tasai chisel that made striking it difficult, and maybe the 62-67 strikes that Rob got off of it really are just areas that are much more uniform - one never knows).

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