• We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Are these 18c chisels?

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

arnoldmason8

Established Member
Joined
28 Jul 2011
Messages
84
Reaction score
0
Location
Redruth, Cornwall
I have two chisels (pictured below) that I bought many years ago from an antiques centre. I have often wondered whether they are early -18c ? – or are they later manufacture with old fashioned handles. The handles are made of boxwood and look very similar to the chisels in the Seaton Chest but the metal blades do not show much evidence of hand forging.



The larger one has a maker’s name (indistinct) and a mark which looks like a trident and “cast steel”. The smaller one has no markings.

Any ideas much appreciated.

Cheers Arnold
 

Cheshirechappie

Established Member
Joined
30 Jan 2012
Messages
4,867
Reaction score
144
Location
Cheshire
The shape of the shoulder near the tang of the larger chisel, and the fact that the blades are nearly parallel in width, suggest early to middle 19th century. Earlier chisels had a distinct flare in width from tang to cutting edge, and tended to be thin in thickness compared to later (and especially 20th century) chisels.

The handles are almost certainly user made. Until well into the 20th century, it was quite usual to buy chisels unhandled (Ashley Isles still offer that option). Sometimes, a handle was bought seperately at the same time, but quite often the craftsman made his own.

That doesn't detract from the fact that those are two gorgeous chisels that have been around for the greater part of two centuries. If they could but talk, what tales they would have to tell...
 

thick_mike

Wood Shortener
Joined
21 Aug 2011
Messages
814
Reaction score
58
Location
Wing, Bucks
Cheshirechappie":1dljcuft said:
That doesn't detract from the fact that those are two gorgeous chisels that have been around for the greater part of two centuries. If they could but talk, what tales they would have to tell...
"ouch! Stop hitting me!"
 

jimi43

Established Member
Joined
12 Mar 2009
Messages
6,921
Reaction score
2
Location
Kent - the Garden of England
My guess is early to mid 19C. I have a number of chisels with handles like that....a lot of them happen to be carving chisels that I sadly sold...(by Addis no less!)

This is a WARD....



This was the Addis...a few generations there....



Professor AndyT will be along later with the catalogue shots but you are right in saying this style of handle predominates in the Seaton Chest...and indeed, a lot of the better ones are Cast Steel...so this is a justifiable conclusion. The ones in the Seaton chest, John Green, T.Shaw and Cam and Brown total sixty in all....and the gouges all have this flaired octagonal handle.

The reason why they are very thin at the edge is that the bevel-edge chisel we know today did not come into use until about 1870 and so they had to be very thin to cope with fine dovetail work...sometimes only 1/8" thick according to the Seaton book. This made them much more susceptible to damage.

This beautiful tiny mortice chisel I picked up at the bootfair....



...probably dates from around that period. The steel would have been available to the carpenter....the handles as well...or you would make one out of your scrap. This is why so many gunsmiths have tools with walnut handles...something I search for all the time!

The dating of these tools is something of a black art. The importance of the Seaton chest and especially the surviving inventory are for this very reason, a valued source. Very little documentary evidence survives before this time and one is left with dating by guesswork alone. We know "available from" dates...but little before.

Lovely chisels though mate...look after them!

Jimi

EDIT after reading through CC's response properly....- Yes what he said! :oops: and "CAST" or "CRUCIBLE" steel dates from after 1751 though whether Benjamin's (Huntsman not Seaton!) invention was stamped in the metal until later that decade is anyone's guess!? Anyone know of the earliest example pre-Seaton? Prof? 8)
 

arnoldmason8

Established Member
Joined
28 Jul 2011
Messages
84
Reaction score
0
Location
Redruth, Cornwall
Thanks for your interesting and informative replies. I was not sure when they started putting " cast steel " on steel tools but the mid 19c date suggestion seems a reasonable date for these two.

Thanks again Arnold
 
Top