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DTR

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Wasn't sure whether this belonged in Hand Tools or Wood Turning...

My good lady bought me a set of vintage chisels, all with no handles. I'm some way off of doing anything with them yet, but I may as well ask the questions now. Note that I have zero wood turning experience at the mo. I'd like to make them in the London pattern as blogged by ALF some time ago. What wood makes a good chisel handle? I know that beech and box are common. And ideally it should be straight grained or riven.

I was given a large chunk of iroko recently, probably because it's as twisted as a mad woman's cowpat. I know that many people react badly to the stuff but I have yet to detirmine if I am one of those people. But I've also read that iroko is popular amongst turners. So health concerns aside, would iroko be suitable for chisel handles?

Thanks in advance
 

paulm

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I made some iroko handles for my Lie Neilsen chisels so that if I want to do heavier work with them on occasion I don't need to be belting the gorgeous looking cocobolo handles :roll: :lol:

The iroko seems to have quite interlocking grain and stands up to a bit of pounding very well so far, so I think you should be fine with it, does tend to be very bland though although that may not bother you if you are more interested in using them !

Cheers, Paul
 

Klaus Kretschmar

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Iroko should work fine for chisel handles. It's sturdy enough to do a good job. The wood is relatively open grained however. Nothing wrong with that, it works fine though. You can achieve a very smooth surface that is very comfortable to touch if you fill the pores before finishing the handle.

Klaus
 

bugbear

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paulm":2zd8gyy9 said:
The iroko seems to have quite interlocking grain and stands up to a bit of pounding very well so far, so I think you should be fine with it, does tend to be very bland though although that may not bother you if you are more interested in using them !

Cheers, Paul
Can't be as bland as box or beech!

BugBear
 

DTR

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Thank you for the replies so far.

Blandness isn't really a concern. As nice as some exotic handles would be, I'd rather use the wood I have than spend money on something else and still be left with some twisty iroko.

Klaus Kretschmar":2uwqy0b7 said:
Iroko should work fine for chisel handles. It's sturdy enough to do a good job. The wood is relatively open grained however. Nothing wrong with that, it works fine though. You can achieve a very smooth surface that is very comfortable to touch if you fill the pores before finishing the handle.

Klaus
Thank you for the advice. How do you recommend filling the pores?
 

jimi43

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Depending on the cut...box and beech can have the most amazing figuring...(as can any wood) but generally speaking...I would use box because it colours to a wonderful hue...especially after treatment with linseed oil....

Box....



When it's new...it can be bland like this one I made...



...but the older it gets...the more beautiful it gets...



I tell you what though...the most beautiful wood I've worked recently is definitely lilac...



Now THAT is stunning stuff...(except if you use the species Lilac Woodblokensis...which is rubbish!!! :mrgreen: )

African blackwood is wonderful stuff...if you want to splash out...hard as nails too...





Jim
 

woodbloke

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i recommend Alf's tutorial (where is she btw?) on making LPOH (London Pattern Octagonal Handles) The two chisels shown below:





...were made in English Walnut and to get a really nice sweep at the front, the smallest ferule that you can get away with should be used. The deep 'V' half way along was made with a skew turning chisel. This is another small handle (blade has been replaced though):



...in African Ebony. They are surprisingly easy to turn and really do look good when complete...any close grained, preferably heavy wood will do the job (except lilac :mrgreen: (hammer) ) and follow Alf's excellent instructions (where is she btw :( ) - Rob
 

Cheshirechappie

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I have a set of firmers by Marples bought (in B&Q of all places!) in the mid 1980's, with handles in Ash. They have taken a fearful beating with a mallet over the years, and stood up to it very well. I have a vintage mortice chisel with an Ash handle, and that survives OK as well, though I've no idea whether it's original or a replacement.

I think the octagonal London pattern handles really look best in boxwood. Everything else looks second best, like a guitar made of plywood. Exotics like rosewood can look very attractive, but have a reputation for being brittle if they see much mallet action. Carver pattern handles in beech or boxwood are quite traditional of course - and with good reason; experience has shown that they last well, provided they aren't abused with hammers. Lemonwood (aka degamé) has been suggested as a boxwood substitute, but I'm not sure how mallet-resistant it is.

In passing, the model engineers' suppliers (such as Folkestone Engineering Supplies and The College Engineering Supply) stock thick-walled brass tube in sizes like 1/2", 5/8" and 3/4". Something like 16swg wall thickness (that's about 1/16") would be far more substantial than commercial ferrules, and not prone to splitting as some commercial ones are. Not cheap, but a foot length of each will provide enough ferrule stock to last most woodworkers for their lifetime.
 

Klaus Kretschmar

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DTR":3dk6ox4i said:
Thank you for the replies so far.

Blandness isn't really a concern. As nice as some exotic handles would be, I'd rather use the wood I have than spend money on something else and still be left with some twisty iroko.

Klaus Kretschmar":3dk6ox4i said:
Iroko should work fine for chisel handles. It's sturdy enough to do a good job. The wood is relatively open grained however. Nothing wrong with that, it works fine though. You can achieve a very smooth surface that is very comfortable to touch if you fill the pores before finishing the handle.

Klaus
Thank you for the advice. How do you recommend filling the pores?
The woodturner suppliers offer sanding sealers to fill the pores. I like to go with simple shellac that will be sanded wet. The sanding dust fills the pores. Pumice powder works as a filler nice as well.

Klaus
 

Jacob

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You don't have to turn them. You can shape them with draw-knife, plane, axe, spokeshave, etc. All sorts of non turned but interesting shapes are possible. "LPOH (London Pattern Octagonal Handles)" exist to sell tools but are otherwise utterly pointless.
Re finishing - these are working tools - "finish" not necessary. Tools for sale need to have "finish" to stop them geting grubby whilst on display etc but for your self "finish" is a complete waste of time.
 

Paul Chapman

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Jacob":3b0jdv4a said:
"LPOH (London Pattern Octagonal Handles)" exist to sell tools but are otherwise utterly pointless.
What a daft comment. Are you in a bad mood again, Jacob? :lol:

Cheers :wink:

Paul
 

Vann

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Like the OP I have some chisel "irons" that need handles, and like the OP I have almost no turning experience. I like the looks of LPO handles, but I wonder about their practicality. I know one advantage is that the shape stops smaller sizes rolling off the workbench. But how do they feel in the hand?
Jacob":1p5vl2fn said:
"LPOH (London Pattern Octagonal Handles)" exist to sell tools but are otherwise utterly pointless.
That's one opinion, but being Jacob's (and knowing that I need to take Jacob's opinions with a pinch of salt) it's probably bias. Can anyone else comment on the pros and cons of LPO handles?

Cheers, Vann.

(and where is Alf BTW)
 

Paul Chapman

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Vann":23qd86ou said:
Can anyone else comment on the pros and cons of LPO handles?
Hi Vann, I don't own any but I've used some and found them very comfortable. I have some cheapo chisels with nasty handles and plan on replacing them, so I'll probably have a go at making some myself.

Cheers :wink:

Paul
 

Jacob

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Paul Chapman":18yfi8o4 said:
Jacob":18yfi8o4 said:
"LPOH (London Pattern Octagonal Handles)" exist to sell tools but are otherwise utterly pointless.
What a daft comment. Are you in a bad mood again, Jacob? :lol:

Cheers :wink:

Paul
Bad mood, moi? No not at all. All I am trying to say is that if you merely want to "chisel" with your chisel then fancy handles like the aforementioned "LPOH" convey no advantage whatsoever over many of the alternative shaped lumps of wood for handles.
Or to put it another way - if you want to do woodwork then the handles don't matter much. They do matter a bit of course, but not a lot.
Or to put it another way - fancy shapes may well be attractive, so might tie-died and embroidered woodwork aprons with macrame fringes, but they wouldn't have much bearing on your woodwork.

PS BTW does anybody else wear an embroidered smock or is it just me?

 

Paul Chapman

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Jacob":312ni136 said:
All I am trying to say is that if you merely want to "chisel" with your chisel then fancy handles like the aforementioned "LPOH" convey no advantage whatsoever over many of the alternative shaped lumps of wood for handles.
Well, maybe some of us want to "chisel" a bit better with our chisels than you want to "chisel" with your chisels :lol:

Cheers :wink:

Paul

PS You've aged a bit :shock:
 

jimi43

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I think if you're into making soapboxes you can use any old chisel but if you appreciate art and form and you're not myopic enough to think that woodworking=furniture making....then I guess everyone has the right to own or make a chisel handle any freeking shape they want with any material they want just because they can. :roll:

I think apart from not rolling off the bench...the octagonal pattern does feel better in the hand. I also think it looks good and for me, that is one component of my love for tools for tools sake. 8)

Jim
 

Jacob

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The term "London Pattern" crops up all over the place. Does it mean anything, other than being a bit of commercial hype?

PS I see Derek asked the same question here, with one answer being to do with craft guilds and quality control.

I guess everyone has the right to own or make a chisel handle any freeking shape they want with any material they want just because they can
Yes by all means, but don't imagine that fancy shapes have much to do with utility and usability - they are (were) added to sell tools.
 

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