Hand Tools

Re: chisel handle forms *PIC*
Response To:
chisel handle forms ()

Warren in Lancaster, PA

The chisels you are talking about were originally called firmer chisels, an old name for bench chisels. When they started having beveled sides they were called beveled firmer chisels.

Here is a chisel that I like. I paid more for this than I usually do because, 1) it was a size I did not have, 2) it was from before 1850, and 3) I believed it was the original octagonal handle. The handle is hickory, which strongly suggests that the chisel was bought without a handle and the handle made here in America.

I put on a longer handle to bring it close to 10 inches in length. The advantage of this style over a turned handle is that you can ream out the cavity in stages, while checking the tool for straight, sighting along the top and along the side, and make corrections as you near the finished hole. At the end you can make your final plane shavings on the handle so the handle is 1/32 or 1/16 larger than the outline of the bolster. With a turned handle, you must depend on the tang being straight for the chisel to be straight.

I think old illustrations usually exaggerate the amount of taper in a handle. A gentle taper is most comfortable.

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