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Re-handling ward mortice chisels?

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matmac

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Like some good reliable info on putting new handles on old ward morticing chisels if possible? I bought some from a car boot and the handles need re-doing.
Thanks
Matt
 

jimi43

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I think that if you are going to re-handle the pig stickers then Derek's method is superb...and some of the woods that you can use make these ancient gems really nice tools.

I prefer to keep as much of the original history of these things as possible so I tend to graft rather than replace.

Here are three I have...all superb steel....



The top one was complete and has not been altered in any way. The middle one had half of the side missing very much like the one at the bottom which is awaiting a graft.

The method I use is to plane the shear flat. The next step is the most important. The key to a successful graft is grain matching. On the middle one you can just see the grafted piece here:



...but you wouldn't know unless you were looking for it.

The end grain is the give-away....



...mainly because the graft is new wood and therefore needs a bit of bashing about a bit. Once time works its magic...it will be difficult to determine where the graft is and using Titebond Original I can guarantee that the wood would split again before the glue joint gave way.

You will also need to be able to mix powder stain...I use leather stain powder...to the right hue and tone to match the original.

This thread reminds me I have the bottom one to do! :roll:

Hope this helps.

Jim
 

matmac

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Cheers they look wicked. I wondered if i might be able to improve on it by putting a feral on the end, not traditional i no but wonder if it might increase the length of life.
Matt
 

marcros

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I have a ward 1/2" that I have been using to put some big mortices in 4x4" bench legs. Fantastic bit of kit- by far the best £5 tool purchase that I have made.
 

jimi43

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matmac":3622sg06 said:
Cheers they look wicked. I wondered if i might be able to improve on it by putting a feral on the end, not traditional i no but wonder if it might increase the length of life.
Matt
They should not need such a whack that they split the wood...that happens when they are used blunt.

With large mortices the bulk of the stock should be drilled out and the mortice chisel firmly tapped to cut the ends and the corners.

I think that the ones that are split are usually abused by someone who really doesn't know how to use them. A ferrule not only would not be traditional...it shouldn't be necessary at all.

Jim
 

Cheshirechappie

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matmac":1jahhj5g said:
Cheers they look wicked. I wondered if i might be able to improve on it by putting a feral on the end, not traditional i no but wonder if it might increase the length of life.
Matt
With the contact area provided between handle and blade by the big oval bolsters, ferrules are not necessary. Making an oval one would be tricky, as well. I gather that the leather washer sometimes seen between handle and bolster is not required, either. Make sure you use a tough wood - beech is traditional, of course (and long experience suggests that it serves very well), but I have one with an ash handle and that seems OK as well. Don't use anything even vaguely brittle - if you use these properly, you'll be giving them some fearful welly with the mallet, especially the larger ones.
 

marcros

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jimi43":10r49b50 said:
With large mortices the bulk of the stock should be drilled out and the mortice chisel firmly tapped to cut the ends and the corners.


Jim
I dont quite get the reasoning behind that Jimi, and it may be my inexperience. The bulk behind these pig stickers must me able to cut a large mortice without having to hog out most of it first, and the rectangular cross section designed to resist bending if the chip is levered out. The geometry of these things drives the chip into the space left by the chisel in its last position. Or is the reasoning for your statement in the aims of expediency, better quality end result or something other than because the chisel wouldn't take it? I would be less inclined to just "go for it" on the more modern type of mortice chisel, and instead would more likely do it as you describe.
 

jimi43

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marcros":2qm81yx0 said:
jimi43":2qm81yx0 said:
With large mortices the bulk of the stock should be drilled out and the mortice chisel firmly tapped to cut the ends and the corners.


Jim
I dont quite get the reasoning behind that Jimi, and it may be my inexperience. The bulk behind these pig stickers must me able to cut a large mortice without having to hog out most of it first, and the rectangular cross section designed to resist bending if the chip is levered out. The geometry of these things drives the chip into the space left by the chisel in its last position. Or is the reasoning for your statement in the aims of expediency, better quality end result or something other than because the chisel wouldn't take it? I would be less inclined to just "go for it" on the more modern type of mortice chisel, and instead would more likely do it as you describe.
I drill out mortices but the pig sticker was meant to cut at an angle across the grain, slicing out chunks...and the amount cut out should never stress the handle in my opinion...even when the pig sticker is used alone.

In the days of this type of chisel the twybill would have been used to cut the sides...usually between holes made by the brace and bit. That way large amounts of stock can be removed very quickly. The pig sticker would sever the fibres across the grain....and of course trim up the ends to the corners.

That's how I was taught anyway...

Jim
 

condeesteso

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sorry Jim - not sure about pre-drilling / boring and the trad mortice chisel (pig sticker). I reckon select a chisel a little under width, start at centre of mortice, slice deep vees working towards ends. Stop when close and use a finer chisel to clean up. The really key ability of these chisels is in removing big amounts of stock very quickly, using a hefty mallet. In a way they are the chisel equivalent of a scrub. But I agree they are for cross-grain only.
 

jimi43

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Hi Douglas...no reason to apologise...as I said...I drill out the mortices and agree the pig sticker can be used stand alone, particularly smaller mortices. With large (read wider) mortices, traditionally the twybill would have been used...there was something about it in a thread here somewhere but WIKI (if it's to be believed) will suffice for now....

The correct use of a twybil is highly specialized, that of rapidly clearing out mortises. Mortises are rectangular holes used to take a tenon for several forms of joint, most obviously the common mortise and tenon joint. Mortises are always cut so that their long axis is along the grain of the wood. Traditionally these were first cut by drilling with a brace and bit to mark out each end, then the twybil used to break out the wood between them. The axe edge is used to split the intervening timber away from the sides of the mortise, then the other end to lever out the split block.[2] Their short handle allows them to be easily flipped end-for-end, making for quick working as each blade is used alternately. This is quicker to use than swapping between a chisel and a separate lever, safer than using a carefully sharpened chisel edge for levering.

The mortise chisel, even in its heavyweight "pigsticker" form, is used differently to a twybill, although the two may be used together. The twybill cuts the sides of mortices, along the grain. Its action is a splitting and prying one, so only requires a handle for leverage and is never struck. Mortise chisels are used for heavy chopping across the grain, are nearly always struck, and are used to square up the ends of square-ended mortises. Both tools are used for levering out chunks when first clearing out a mortise and so have similarly shaped bevels, often with a curved bevel surface for a better fulcrum action.
Watching the video....(thanks Pete)....the angled slicing across the grain is shown and the small progression across the cavity is also shown...listen to the taps...no hefty bashes there and certainly nothing to cause the handle to split.

I fear with all these ancient tools...their use is fading fast into the past as mechanisation takes over completely.

One reminder in the above quote for me to do when I sort the iron out...rounded bevels...Jacob!!!?

Jim
 

Pete Maddex

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Hi, Jim

I think its the use of hammers that causes the most damage to chisel handles, that and blunt chisels.

Pete
 

Jacob

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jimi43":75bi2zzk said:
.......... a curved bevel surface for a better fulcrum action.........


...rounded bevels...Jacob!!!?

Jim
Absolutely.
The rounded bevel is very useful for leverage. When the fulcrum point is closer to the edge the leverage is more powerful and helps with cleaning out corners. It's the same principle behind all those other curved prying and levering tools, wrecking bars, claw hammers, nail pullers.
Utterly ingenious in fact - a claw hammer has most leverage when the nail head is tight in, and as the nail comes loose the leverage reduces and the action speeds up.
The rounded bevel is essential for the mortice chisel. Useful for other chisels of course as you may well want to lever out from the corner of a housing etc.
The fact that it works OK on a MT chisel made me realise that it will work perfectly well on any other chisel or plane edges, even where leverage doesn't come into it. It's just so easy to do freehand.

MT chisel is the one chisel where a bit of polishing of the face and the bevel is useful. Say 30mm - more than the max depth of a single cut. It'll go in further and come out easier if polished. This is the main reason for stropping (or strop like actions) any chisel or other cutting edge - it's primarily for the faces, not the edge, though obviously they merge and you can't do one without the other.

I fancy a go with a twybil but I've never had the pleasure.

PS new handles - is best to start with a blank which has been riven rather than sawn, as it will help avoid cross grain.
Even better to start with hedgerow stuff about the right size which will be straight grained, free, and just about useless for anything else. Just saw a bit off your nearest ash sapling, or save apple tree prunings etc.
 

Jacob

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jimi43":wh3506hm said:
....
Watching the video....(thanks Pete)....the angled slicing across the grain is shown and the small progression across the cavity is also shown...listen to the taps...no hefty bashes there and certainly nothing to cause the handle to split.
....
Jim
I wasn't at all impressed by the videos. No "technique" at all and quite wrong IMHO. Some deceptively soft wood!
You do have to bash them hard, you don't have to lever (except near the end with a bilnd mortice), you don't do angle cuts - chisel should be vertical with every stroke.
PS and no you don't need to drill out first. It can make the work more difficult as the chisel tends to go off line. Though when you go above a bout 5/8" it gets to be hard work and a bit of pre drilling could be excused!
 

Jacob

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woodbutcher2":2qhkny1h said:
Afternoon all.
Educate me please,what is a twybil


The mortice chisel has been in continuous use (just about) from a long way back - the twybil is long gone, but being rediscovered.

Just had another look at the Krausz video. Appallingly amateurish demo, everything done really badly!
http://www.popularwoodworking.com/video ... nder_glass
By and large "the circus" does come up with interesting stuff but every now and then you get a clown!
Perhaps it was April 1. Doesn't do to take them too seriously.
 

matmac

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I gotta be honest i drill mine to get the bulk out then with the combined use of ward chisel, 2 inch bevel chisel and what ever size width bevel chisel fits width wise tidy it up. For me its fast and effective, so thats how i role. Also score around the mortice firth with scalpel then with bevel so prevents break out from the drill.
Been making a workbench having to cut like 8 mortices by hand then 4 through mortices i have it down to about 25 min's a mortice. One of those twybill looks really useful tho. If i have many more to do it might be worth the investment :/
Matt
 
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