Nick Huckaby asks:
I bought four sets of chisels from a used place. The kind with a light
see-thru handle and a black trim - no brand. It performed fine for a
weeks until a pearl sized chip came off in sections from the tip of the
handle which I did not notice earlier. I was chiseling against the
grain of the
wood, not along the grain as instructed from a book. But, I've chiseled
the grain with a 10-year old Stanley (with a non-see-thru plastic
The problem is that a few of the green see-thru chisels have 10-15
chips gone from its plastic striking surface. Since that day I am more
I'm not sure whether the cause is the a 12-oz. iron hammer or the way I
them. What's the best way to repair these tool?
First, the chisels didn't break. The handles did. Second, the chisels
didn't break, you broke them.
I don't know where you got an iron hammer, but use a mallet, instead of
a steel hammer. Now, you can take the handles off, turn new handles,
install them and use a wooden, rawhide (my preference) or plastic
I have a few rawhide mallets. every once in a while one or another of
them will be used to drive a chisel, like if the mallet happens to be
out at the time or is the right weight for the cut or whatever.
usually I do use a wood mallet, but I don't have a rule about it....
Andy Dingley responds:
Rawhide ? really?
I have plenty of rawhide mallets that I use for coppersmithing, but
I've never heard of anyone using them to drive chisels before - always
Yeah, rawhide. I've got a couple with cast iron holders that are
weighty enough--ye olde basic rawhide mallet is very light, but add 16
ounces of cast iron, and bingo. I've also got one that has a copper
head and a rawhide head...great for non-sparking needs, but I no longer
work around such substances when striking is needed, so it is also
handy for driving chisels. To me, the more compact heads are easier to
control than larger wood mallets, though I also like the various
deadblow Stanley hammers.
Your comment brought back memories of when you used to see a lot of rawhide
tools, and rawhide _in_ tools. Rawhide was a staple of the life on the
frontier and one of the handiest things to have around. It was used to write
on, as seats and backs for chairs, as "windows", as shopping bags, as
lariats and whips, as bridles, as glue when ground into a powder ... and,
because of its ability to stretch when wet and seriously contract when dry,
was used universally to fasten things together, much like nails today. The
plains Indians often wrapped prisoners in a fresh buffalo hide and left them
out in the sun for a few days ... constricted their options considerably. :)
Stranded folks were even know to survive by chewing on it.
I have a collection of J. Frank Dobie works, a Texas historian, folklorist,
and professor of English at the University of Texas in the early 1900's who
wrote extensively about rawhide and its uses in some of his early pieces.
Dobie was raised on a Texas cattle ranch and is well known for having
interviewed old timers about such things.
Fascinating, useful material.
Nick Huckaby apparently said,on my timestamp of 6/03/2005 1:50 AM:
You can't easily repair them. Try grinding/sanding to shape?
Or better yet, get another set. They are cheap enough.
The iron hammer would be the cause. Use a mallet.
Wood is a good choice and you can make one yourself.
Rawhide hammers are the best for this, IMHO. But hard to find.
If all else fails, get one of those cheap hammers with one
side rubber mallet, the other yellow nylon. Use the nylon
side: it bounces really well.
It's important that the head of the hammer is wider than the
top of the chisel handle. Otherwise it's real easy to
swing slightly off-centre and end up with a chip.
in sunny Sydney, Australia
Get this set of chisels http://www.craftsmanstudio.com/html_p/C !00730.htm
And this 4-1/2" mallet:
Or this type from anywhere else, and you'll be proper. I have some of
these chisels and they are an acceptable tool steel that does take a very
fine edge. When honing these Buck Bros., the edge does build up a
signifigant bur, but it is easliy lapped off perfectly clean, I was happy
with that, and got a glass edge from 1200 grit paper.
I don't know what the best way to repair them is, but I see a few
causes for your problem right offhand. First, a "plastic striking
surface" is not a striking surface at all- the chisel is most likely
designed for hand use only. If you can't push it by hand, it's
probably not sharp enough for what you're doing. Chisels that are
intended to be used with mallets usually have a steel shaft running
all the way through the tool, and a metal striking plate at the end or
a socket-type reciever for the handle, and (again) a metal striking
plate at the end. Asking plastic to hold up to repeated hammering it
probably unrealistic, unless you get some superb chisels.
Second, even when carving with a mallet, you probably want to use a
wooden mallet rather than an iron hammer.
Third- Chisels carve, they don't umm.. "pound". They're not nails,
after all. Try taking several shallower cuts, and sharpen your tools
Sounds like you got yourself a fairly cheap set of chisels to begin
with- it may just be easier to get another set than it is to fix them.
Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
I bought four sets of chisels from a used place. The kind with a light green
see-thru handle and a black trim - no brand. It performed fine for a few
weeks until a pearl sized chip came off in sections from the tip of the green
handle which I did not notice earlier. I was chiseling against the grain of the
wood, not along the grain as instructed from a book. But, I've chiseled against
the grain with a 10-year old Stanley (with a non-see-thru plastic handle) without
The problem is that a few of the green see-thru chisels have 10-15 percent
chips gone from its plastic striking surface. Since that day I am more careful.
I'm not sure whether I had used a wrong hammer or whether I pound them
too hard. What's the best way to repair these tool?
This message was already posted, unless you don't mind replying again. There
was an internal ISP error which caused a mirrored post that is beyond my
control. The actual post is here. http://snipurl.com/daib
On Tue, 08 Mar 2005 02:49:41 GMT, the inscrutable "Tim Zimmerman"
I'm with xrongor. Crutch tip 'em, use a wooden mallet, but I'll add
one more extremely important thing:
Give them to SWMBO and buy a REAL set for yourself.
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