Hand Tools

Subject:
boxwood...
Response To:
A customer's report ()

David Weaver
most of the chisels that I like have boxwood handles.

I noticed that the chisels I've made (including the ones I sent to raffo) generally balance around the bolster or on the ferrule, even though they look like they're handle heavy. This is similar to most english chisels - the handles are longer than a blade holder would like because they're designed to be long enough to get your hand on the handle and then not accidentally strike the web of your thumb with a mallet (you'll remember that).

The market to get to beginners and charge a lot is to make a fat little chisel with a highly polished blade and a short stubby handle. that's not what I'm aiming for. I'm aiming for a chisel that feels like an english chisel made in the mid to late 1800s.

As far as arriving wet - I guess I don't have too much of a preference except that I can do the following:
* saw the wet blank by hand more easily
* quickly turn all of the squares as shown in the picture here
* put them on top of my furnace to dry, and once taken off of the furnace, they will gain weight the next couple of days (it's probably about 110 degrees on top of the furnace, give or take). Once they're turned wet (which is easy and less dust) down to those cylinders, it takes about 3-4 days on the furnace for them to get dry.

The only wood I've had issue with so far is gombeira - that will crack if dried too fast, but i'm not likely to use much of it. It's beyond reasonably hard and dense, but the handle smoothness would be nice on a parer- there's no visible pores in it and no balance issue on parers.

Beech is OK, apple is wonderful (limited availability) without much difference in weight over beech), and woods like chakte viga have the smoothness of those with more interesting color. Dogwood isn't widely available, and aesthetics are a bit behind.

Because I'm a handle gripper, I tend to like the woods more in the boxwood weight range. I suspect almost everyone who used chisels 150 years ago was gripping the handle or they'd have been shorter with more weight focused in the blade.

I think you liked my trash knife better than the chisels!!! hah!

(I call those trash knives because they're made from scrap and they're great to have near a recycling bin to cut apart boards, etc, and they can be made so quickly from an offcut of metal that there's never a reason to be careful with them - just keep them as sharp as possible).

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