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Do you think a rehardened stanley socket chisel...

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D_W

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They look great Dave. Would malleting damage the edge?
No, it's the same temper as a bench chisels and plenty stiff. You could excavate half blinds in rosewood if you could tolerate the ergonomics.
 

Stevekane

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Always interesting to read your posts Dave, but please dont think my lack of response is indifference, its just so technical and well presented that it doesnt bear comment from me. BTW the chisels look superb.
Steve.
 

D_W

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Thanks, Steve! I'm sort of kidding a little about the uncurious part - I didn't leave much time to respond between the two posts, and the question asked isn't exactly something someone would wake up on a saturday and say "you know, you know what I'd really like to know?"

hah.

I think there's a contingent (that I've run into) that believes that pointing this stuff out is unfair to current toolmakers, but I'm in the middle- accuracy is nice. Then if someone wants to buy new nicely finished chisels, by all means.
 

Tony Zaffuto

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David,

if you wonder in to the Home Depot in your neighborhood, if they have a Buck chisel on the rack, that resembles the defunct, but superb, Stanley #60 (yellow acetate handle, with strike button), pick one up and test. These are “made in the USA”, cheap (less than $10.00 each), and great carpentry chisels. I have a couple, and with 25* bevel, the edge lasts. To all reading this, these are carpentry chisels, not finesse chisels.

I believe these are being phased out, as they are no longer on the rack here in central Pennsyltucky.
 

D_W

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We've lost those on our rack here. I have to admit I had a set of three of those, but then sold them. what I gathered from them (by feel) is they're closer to the 0.6% carbon level than the more "dry" feel on the stones that a higher carbon steel would have.

0.6% carbon steel makes a great tough site chisel (Despite all of the whining people do about chisels like this and the stanley #60 chisels). They'll open a lot of paint cans before they break off (not to mention tolerate being dropped on a hard floor at a site).

HD here has been almost in a race to eliminate anything like that and replace it with something from china (for obvious reasons - I doubt the $7 chisel from china costs HD more than a dollar).

The set of 3 buck bros acetate chisels was only something like $18 at the time - you probably already know this, but there's a "how it's made" on youtube where they don't name the manufacturer but then clearly show the name being printed/stamped on the handles.

(I have a set of site chisels alreay or i'd have kept them. The handles are heavy!...my point about the 0.6% steel is that I think those chisels were probably close to optimized, and while it's too bad they can't hold higher hardness at a sweet spot temper, the steel is exceedingly fine).


If I'm right, that link will show 5160 (it's almost devoid of visible particles - actually, that's an SEM micrograph. It looks like clay)

O1 looks like this:

1095:

A2 (this would represent non-cryo, I believe. I think the carbide dispersion is improved with cryo - but another great benefit to woodworkers with cryo is that terminal hardness is increased by a point or two depending on the steel)

(this is the steel I like for chisels - for some reason, the toughness is double that of O1 - well, mine is - despite higher hardness and plenty of iron carbides. The iron carbides are probably not as hard and don't crack as easily - cracks generally start in the carbides and then propagate out, thus inability to have huge carbide volume and good toughness).


XHP, which is probably the same as V11 or at least very close (I can't discern a difference between V11 and my own irons). The carbides are in neat balls thanks to PM - this steel is made usable by PM and would likely be worse than D2 nonPM without it.


(you've probably seen all of this stuff before, but many here may not have).

When there's a highly alloyed steel (or A2 even though A2 isn't that heavily alloyed) and discussion o the fine grain is talked about at length, the question needs to be asked "compared to what". The older steels don't have much wear resistance, but their fineness is difficult to better.

With 26c3, I think I can beat commercial heat treat solely because of the level of excess carbide. I am just working in a forge, so resetting and shrinking of the grain is no problem. I *can't* normalize the steel because I'm not a human thermocouple, but that's OK - normalizing would put more carbon in solution (and show fewer carbides), but doing so apparently makes the matrix less tough.

the fact that i can beat commercial for 26c3 is probably a rare anomaly - I would never claim to be able to match commercial in general - you can only do it with a limited set of steels (luckily, I can match furnace schedule results with O1, because it's a useful steel and I have no interest in sending steel out to be heat treated as I think I can do it at least as consistently and if I mess up, I don't have to send it back somewhere to be redone).

Introduce surplus chromium outside of a PM, though, and I'm out. So no ingot stainless steels with excess carbon to form big chromium carbides.
 
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D_W

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I'll address what a matrix steel is, at least to my knowledge. It's usually a lower carbon version of something else such that the alloy is in a sweet spot, and it's finer grained than PM without being expensive.

I just love the way AEB-L looks (a stainless razor steel), but it's an ingot stainless so I struggle to get it anywhere close to the hardness of XHP. It is about 8 times as tough as XHP, though, and could be commercially hardened to 62 and have better toughness with wear resistance only slightly below. Carbon is actually less than 0.7 (I didn't reread, which shows how lazy I am, but I think the lack of carbon makes it easier to prevent carbides from forming with free chromium).


I can't find a picture of YXR-7 that's in the japanese HSS chisels that are super hard (it's often misstated as being HAP40), but matrix steel is tough enough to be driven to very high hardness and left there instead of tempering back.

But it's off of my radar as it has little carbon to play with and if you drive it up to high temp, I think it decarbs - a bad thing when there's hardly any carbon to start. It's commercial tool territory.

If LN could find a heat treater who could manage with AEB-L, I think they'd have a dandy plane iron - it's actually cheaper than O1 and longer wearing and much finer than A2.
 

baldkev

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I do like and read these threads, although a lot of it goes over my head.... i have limited capacity and lots of info going in each week 😆
What i can say though, is david makes great chisels and I love mine 😁
Each time i pick one up it makes me smile. They arent production line, they were made just for me, theres something special about that 😏

Im also very interested in knowing where all this knowledge will end up..... will you go into specialist production and quit you job? I should think you could make something to fit any requirement.......
 

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D_W

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I figured I should prove that malleting won't hurt these (they get malleted hard normally to set the handle quickly, but instead, I malleted a couple of halfblinds of indian rosewood.

Except this indian rosewood is 10% more dense than the book density (I've got a lot of blanks, and they do vary a lot - the lighter ones are guitar wood, the heavier ones are for handles).

The hardness of this piece of wood is probably closer to 3000 on the dent test than 2500 (I definitely have wood below the 0.83 on the wood database that I think is proably softer than the 2440 spec that they provide), which is about the spec for wood 10% less dense. Why lighter is nice for guitars isn't that important - but it's nice for guitars, and dense is nice for bass guitars.

More dense and smaller pores (that come with it) is better for handles because it's less work to fill the pores most of the way with dust and shellac.

You can see no signficant damage in the pictures. I'm sure there is small damage as the edge is buffed a little, but not hard (more buffing, more strong, but a little more cut resistance). I'd expect to do some small multiple of this and then resharpen. I don't expect anyone would build furniture with this wood, though - it's close to gabon ebony in density and the straws are more prominent and harder on edges).


20211205_091623.jpg

20211205_091551.jpg


That said, if you wanted to bury this chisel in something like this rosewood and start prying chunks out, the edge would chip (so would any edge). So, you don't do that - you just mallet the waste off and then pare the bottom of a socket and only rotate or pry when the waste is loose enough to do that.
 

D_W

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(separate comment based on chart above - i see wood by wright did a large test of chisels. I think standardized tests favor two things - hardness and grain size. )

The toughness chart would suggest A2 LN chisel should do as well or better than V11, but the two both didn't do that great, and richter did better. It's as hard and likely due to saving money by using cheaper (finer grained) more plain steel ended up making a better chisel as far as edge holding goes.

The chisel above is a very plain steel (and not horribly expensive - not cheap by any means, but probably slightly cheaper than A2, and about the same as ground O1) - I can't get inexpensive bar stock with carbon over 1% in the US other than this stuff as there's no market for it (this is supposedly engineered for straight razors, but who knows -it's been around a long time despite having never heard of it until last year - that being Uddeholm/Voestalpine 26c3. The maker of the steel is foreign, but the steel is made in the US otherwise the tariffs would keep me from getting it. I think English "silver steel" rod rolled into bars would be great, too, but it's not retailed over here.

The toughness of A2 above and beyond O1 doesn't seem to be functional toughness - but rather performance in a charpy test (which is taking a small bar of steel and allowing a huge sledge hammer on an arm to swing through it and break it, and then see how much energy the steel absorbed from the hammer as it passed through).

Long story short, the chart suggests A2 should beat V11, but I don't think it does (I can't think of a great reason for A2 in woodworking, though it's not horrible, it's just got no real redeeming attributes - V11 pretty much duplicates it in chisels and beats it in plane irons, but neither seems like a very good choice for chisels if you have a full menu of options).

I haven't used a richter chisel, so can't automatically say that they're great (they're kind of ugly, but so are most new chisels compared to old aesthetics). And they've gone up in price here by a lot since they were introduced (probably less due to cost to make them and more due to distribution and retail realizing they could get more for them).

Anyone on here who wanted to use the steel that I use, learn to harden it (not hard) and temper it could make a chisel that would beat all of the chisels in the "wood by wright" test.

The only reason the japanese chisel in the test didn't win is because it was just some commodity junker off of amazon that was undertempered. If it had been tossed in a kitchen oven at 350F for an hour, it probably would've won the test.
 

D_W

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Answering a question that wasn't asked, but I'd have - will the rehardened stanley tolerate the rosewood?

Yes, almost as well.

What about an older stock chisel - you'd get through about 1/4th as much with the rehardened chisel (testing against a socket chisel that's similar to the stanley, or perhaps slightly harder).

What do you do if you only have the stock chisel? Buff the tip of the tool a little more and then all of them should tolerate (which is a better lesson here than anything - accommodate the tool first and see how it holds up).

I don't, unfortunately, have any chisels left that are just soft, so I can't test something like that. The stanley chisel may have been the softest chisel that I had other than an old butcher that seems to have temper problems and wouldn't provide any useful information).
 

Tony Zaffuto

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Earlier in this thread, I mentioned Buck Bros. carpentry chisels, resembling vintage Stanley #60s, with yellow handles and strike button. These are “Made in USA” chisels, and are being phased out and replaced with “Made in China” Buck Bros., with different style of handle and a bit longer steel length.

I do not own any of the replacements, but I do have a couple of the original, finding them to be excellent for general carpentry use, suitable for wailing with a two pound mash (engineer) hammer!
 

Jacob

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You lost me at "boutique chisels".
Lost me with "paring the bottom of a socket" :unsure:
Best chisels for DT sockets and similar are short stubby firmers, then a short and narrow bevel edge to finish off corners out of reach. The last thing you use would be a paring chisel - which is basically for fine planing cuts in places where you couldn't get a plane
 
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D_W

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Lost me with "paring the bottom of a socket" :unsure:
Best chisels for DT sockets and similar are short stubby firmers, then a short and narrow bevel edge to finish off corners out of reach. The last thing you use would be a paring chisel - which is basically for fine planing cuts in places where you couldn't get a plane
I have no clue who would use butt chisels to make dovetails, but I've never seen you post neat work - ever, so I wouldn't take your advice on any of this.

Simple cabinetmaker style tang chisels would do it all.
 
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D_W

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You lost me at "boutique chisels".
LN, LV, woodpeckers. Whatever the flavor of the day is that gurus are pushing. The chisels I'm making are more or less copies of older English chisels, but maybe a little older yet in some aspects (no need for everything to be rectilinear as they're ground freehand and not across a wheel but rather parallel to it. Maybe they would be considered boutique. I will ask for $125 for the set of five above because that's what it costs to make them (not very boutique-y). I don't keep track of whether or not people pay, either - these chisels are shipped. It makes no real difference to me if someone pays or doesn't pay - I'm making chislels as a hobby.
 
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Jacob

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I have no clue who would use butt chisels to make dovetails, but I've never seen you post neat work - ever, so I wouldn't take your advice on any of this.

Simple cabinetmaker style tang chisels would do it all.
You need to have a go at making DTs. You might see what I mean.
Yes any chisel will do but with DTs one tends to be doing a lot at a time - a simple chest of drawers may involve 100 or more so every move has to be as efficient as possible.
Not that I've ever bought a "butt" chisel but worn-out short chisels tend to turn up uninvited.
 

Ttrees

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Cosman mentioned he lopped the plastic handles in half on some cheapies when he was starting off.
I haven't had the need to cut dovetails, but his methodology of pinching the chisels at the end looks very hard work on the digits.
Personally I find the longer the better, as there's less chance for an undercut, and I'd rather have the choice being a wood plugger.
 

D_W

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Cosman mentioned he lopped the plastic handles in half on some cheapies when he was starting off.
I haven't had the need to cut dovetails, but his methodology of pinching the chisels at the end looks very hard work on the digits.
Personally I find the longer the better, as there's less chance for an undercut, and I'd rather have the choice being a wood plugger.
it's sort of a beginner's thing. Not that only beginners do it, but it takes very little time to get over the idea that a 10 inch chisel is awkward to use if you just hold the handle and place the end in a marked line or ahead of it (whatever is needed).

I have an 1895 montgomery ward catalog. There are zero chisels in that catalog with short blades.

In the 1916 catalog, which would've been printed in the US after most of the furniture work moved to factories, there are listings for "short chisels" , but not many.

There are also parers in the early catalog (but I don't recall seeing them in the later). Bigger changes occurred in the US during that period than the UK, though -industrialization pretty much went full swing around 1900 (though there was some of it prior to that - stanley being a notable case).

Just in the 21 years between those two catalogs, the chisels seem to have gone from a combination of carver, bench worker (bevels relatively fine on the bevel edge chisels), and framing to a gaggle of socket firmer chisels that look like site work tools (as well as the "short chisel" listing that appears in the 1916 catalog).

I also have an old millwork catalog (in paper form) from about 1925 - by then, you could order doors and mantels, etc, cheaper than they could be made and that was the end of that.

For whatever reason, the people in 1896 were too dumb to know they needed short chisels to do nice work (if one were to believe the "improved" methods we know of now). This is, of course, farce.

I don't see any "butt chisels" in the seaton chest book, either. There are purpose made mortising chisels in there, though, which some gurus would tell us aren't practical. "butt chisels" are practical, and mortise chisels aren't, and somehow people working by hand 200+ years ago had it backwards.
 

Ttrees

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Although you have to take into account that folks may have had many or a few half worn chisels to use for other jobs where it might have been wanted.
I only brought a nice little Fuller chisel from the folks, not sure if it was originally short, but might come in handy someday.
I would have had one use for it paring in confined spaces, but just pulled the offending close tenons out instead.
 

D_W

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Earlier in this thread, I mentioned Buck Bros. carpentry chisels, resembling vintage Stanley #60s, with yellow handles and strike button. These are “Made in USA” chisels, and are being phased out and replaced with “Made in China” Buck Bros., with different style of handle and a bit longer steel length.

I do not own any of the replacements, but I do have a couple of the original, finding them to be excellent for general carpentry use, suitable for wailing with a two pound mash (engineer) hammer!
Hopefully my post didn't make it sound like they're not good chisels - they just aren't (based on the feel) a steel that will be that hardenable (the same buck brothers plane irons don't gain much of anything from rehardening after tempered).

That said, those acetate handled chisels are dandy - like anything else, they're good enough if the edge is modified to do anything (including joinery), and the fact that they can't be hardened a little further doesn't matter at all.

Where they shine is that if you put them into a toughness test, they would beat higher carbon steel by a lot (so someone dropping or prying something with them is unlikely to do serious damage. BB knows what they're doing making them (or did when making them here) - it would cost them almost nothing extra to make them out of higher carbon drill rod, but the splash harden and temper process would leave them 60 or a little more hardness and then people would break them.

Union carpenters here still have to buy a set of bench chisels for site work even though they don't really use them (based on a BM I talked to at a wedding a couple of years ago). He said something like "I still get out on the ground sometimes, but I haven't sharpened my chisels in maybe ten years. I guess I hadn't thought about it". They do mostly commercial work and I doubt much of the door bits are non-metallic these days, at least as far as the frame around the door goes.
 

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