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Marples/Stanley Chisel Challenge

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jimi43

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Hi Guys and Gals

Last week, Douglas and I discussed the merits of the 70s plastic handle Marples and Stanley chisels.

I don't know about you but I think that the day they started putting plastic on any tools was the day that the slippery downward slope into rubbish tools started.

However...there is a short period of time where only the handles were the naff part...the steel on these chisels being surprisingly good.

Because these chisels were bought in their millions by the emerging DIY market...they are really easy to come by at bootfairs and other fairs for very little dosh...indeed most of my fair collection cost less than a squid each.

Since I absolutely hate holding plastic...it was decided to follow in the shoes of the great Derek of the Antipodes and others and make some decent handles for them.

A parting challenge ensued where Douglas and I took one each with a view to seeing who could come up with the best re-handle.

This challenge has expanded a bit with MickCheese and Chris rising to the task as well....

So here is my submission...pretty classic really....alongside the crappy blue plastic one...



I chose to use African Blackwood...which is highly figured (although the photographs will need to be in natural light to show it)....



I also opted to replace the white impact (rubbishy trim really) washer with a nice brass one...



That was the difficult bit...I searched high and low for a suitable washer and then a brainwave hit me...



...use the round end of a brass key! I luckily found one just the right internal and external diameter and set about hacking it up!

I am quite happy with the result...must be worth more than a quid!?

Ok guys...the gauntlet is down...do yer worst!!!

:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Jim
 

MickCheese

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Jim, that is very nice.

As soon as I have some time and finish the project I am on at the moment I will give it a go.

Of course if I make a real hash of it I will just keep quiet and hope no one notices! :D

Mick
 

Jacob

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In my opinion plastic handled chisels are brilliant. It's the best possible material, especially if you are going to give them a bashing. I've never broken one, hardly damaged one, even when the steel is past it (too short etc from years of misuse).
But if you have to replace them then wood is obviously easiest (for us woodworkers). Beech/ash seem good. Rosewood is bad (the only one I have has a split). Box looks nice but splits.
 

Vann

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Aaarrggh, dammit! I have to agree with Jacob (wash my mouth out !! ).

My son-in-law is a chippie (house builder). He needs chisels he can beat the snot out of with his claw hammer, and a tough resin or plastic handle is just the thing.

But I quite agree - for paring (and other non-violent chisel work) a wooden handle is much, much nicer. I've got some old chisels awaiting new (wooden) handles - just waiting for the tuit.

Cheers, Vann.
 

jimi43

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I would probably agree with you too Vann....however this thread is about making new handles for them...I have created a new thread just for our dear friend to play in....here :mrgreen:

Jim
 

woodbloke

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Jim, I got on of they blue plastic handled Marples jobbies and whilst the steel is pretty good (dating from the 70's) the tool sits in my house toolbox as I use it as the 'chisel of abuse'...one than can be belted with a hammer, used for lifting tacks, opening paint tins and assorted other sundry uses. I like the A Blackwood conversion but for my money, you've left the handle too sharp at far end...that corner will dig into you palm when it's used for say, hand paring. This is the reason that I modified my Jap dovetail chisels:



...lop off the hoop, and dowel on a small bit of English Walnut. They're a bit longer now than standard, but supremely comfortable for hand use only...no tapping with a maul (single 25deg bevel as well) - Rob
 

Evergreen

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Jim, Steve and Rob

Those new handles look beautiful; I admire your skill.

I have a liberal view on the material used for chisel handles. As others have pointed out, plastic is a very practical material for handles that are going to be, literally, hammered and we've all seen many, many old wooden handles that have been done to death by use of the hammer.

It has to be said that in the early '70s, the Stanley 5001 was the sleekest, sexiest chisel on the block and for me, it was an early object of tool-lust. And I'm quite happy to confess, here on a public forum, that I was also strongly attracted to the Marples range with the "Splitproof" plastic handles. They appeared to be made of an indestructible amber, or perhaps it was because they reminded me of barley sugar. I certainly bought at least one on the strength of that handle.

The trouble is, plastic doesn't age prettily and now that I'm sliding into old age myself, I have a preference for tools that look mellow and feel comfortable. For me, that means wooden handles and as you'll see on another thread, my favourite chisels are vintage with a mixture of beech, box, ash and fruitwood handles. But I still keep my 5001s as back up.
 

jimi43

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Do you know Rob...I cut the rough end off after lathe work to get rid of the drive marks and was just about to do a nice round off and I had a sudden urge to leave it flat with a little bevel on it and polish the end.

After I photographed it I had second thoughts...and you have amplified those doubts now.

It actually feels very comfortable but I didn't use it for any length of time but as you point out...some (most?) Japanese paring chisels are flat too....

I'm not 100% sure the look works though...I might round it off gently eventually....

But...for the "challenge" entry it stands... :mrgreen:

I have seen some old Stanleys that Douglas has rehandled and honestly EG...they look gorgeous...kind of where this germ of interest started...furthered by Derek's excellent examples.

Jim
 

Jacob

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jimi43":8tplfck6 said:
I would probably agree with you too Vann....however this thread is about making new handles for them.......
It's also about the statement; the handles were the naff part...the steel on these chisels being surprisingly good.
This is wrong on both counts. The handles aren't naff in any way. The only drawback with plastic is the weight - it doesn't work so well with bigger handles. The shape of these is perfect. I'd follow the shape if I had to make wood replacements.
Secondly, there is nothing surprising about the steel high quality - anybody who ever has used these Marples/Stanleys will confirm this.
I make these points because many beginners might wrongly take it for granted that these tools are inferior in some way.
No objection to anyone making weird (vaguely oriental?) shaped handles from impractical expensive hardwoods but nobody should run away with the idea that this is in any way necessary.
If you just want to do woodwork they are best left alone. The "tools as ornaments" thing is just a different game altogether. :lol:
 

Pete Maddex

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Hi,

I have two sets of day to day chisels a nice collection of old cast steel ones and a modern set of marples/stanley ones that I take out to jobs etc. I don't risk my best ones any more after hitting a nail and having to spend a lot of time regrinding one.

I much prefer using to old ones so much nicer to handle, but the plastic ones have there uses as well.

See Jacob a compromise :wink:


Pete
 

condeesteso

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Very nice Jim - here we go then:
It's a 1/4", usual blue handle etc
ch1.jpg


The blade was OK, not excellent. I wouldn't bother with badly worn ones as there are enough around.
I needed to take around .7mm off the primary to get back to a good flat back. then a quick flatting and polish on the back, then a secondary. In this case I've gone for 28 and 33 degrees - a reasonable balance for general bench use I feel.
ch2.jpg

The handle comes off quickly... hacksaw across then down beside the tang, then a wrench
ch3.jpg

Here's the handle 'inspiration' - the excellent LN. I like the shape, and it's low mass and feels good in the hand.
ch4.jpg

Stock is Lemonwood - quite like box but not quite so hard. Light but tough - ideal for balance and handling close to the cutting edge
ch5.jpg

Shaped, but not yet fully fitted down:
ch6.jpg

This is why I like light handles, makes control close-in very good:
ch7.jpg

Back got a final polish on Autosol / mdf... takes 15 seconds and checks the back is truly flat:
ch8.jpg

And here are a couple I did a while ago, but I now prefer this (LN-style) handle shape, and it's designed for hitting with a mallet too.

The new one goes back to the owner now.
 

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jimi43

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Very nice indeed Douglas!

Are you going to epoxy the two together or is it just a firm fit?

I think that I will be handing the glove to you my friend on this one....for the time being....until the other combatants present their entries.....

I think I will make a set and a little box to put them in...the presentation boxes from Japan that Derek showed us before are rather nice...just plane pine to show off the contents...

I doubt if I would be hitting mine but the African blackwood is pretty tough stuff...I suspect the lemonwood is able to take a few knocks too....rather nice isn't it!

I might be using that where a light wood is necessary and size precludes the use of expensive boxwood.

Cheers mate...

Jim
 

condeesteso

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I will not accept 'the glove' - just interesting the different approaches, yours is more refined. I was actually thinking as I did mine that I wasn't making jewellery... I mean a working tool. Just re-handled the 1/2" the same as it worked well on the quarter.
I don't think any of us said or implied the steel is under doubt, I most certainly never have. But the plastic handle is heavy and a bit cumbersome. Also it's ugly and I never pick anything up if it's ugly... goes back to when I was at college.

(Studder's London pattern... now, I'd pick one of them up.)
 

studders

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condeesteso":3587f2sx said:
(Studder's London pattern... now, I'd pick one of them up.)
They are very nice to hold but, as you can see in the pic, getting all the 'bits' the right size, the right shape and in the right place was a bit of a mare for an inexperienced turner like wot I is. I might have another go when I've got some spare time, see if I can't get them a bit better.
 

woodbloke

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studders":33458al0 said:
This is the result of my efforts to re-handle some plastic handled horrors, of varying makes.


Not too good but an improvement on what they were.
If I can offer a little helpful advice to improve the next ones you do, I'd suggest that the curve in the handles immediately after the ferule is too shallow. It really needs to be much steeper:



...as I've done with these old skews and a nice brass ferule helps as well - Rob
 

adidat

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my entry wont be ready for a few days, although i think i misunderstood the brief :lol:


adidat
 

studders

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woodbloke":4cdwrtcr said:
...as I've done with these old skews and a nice brass ferule helps as well - Rob
Yes, that's more wot I woz aiming for, better adjust my sights on the turning chisels. :)
 
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