Router Forums banner
1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Retired Moderator
Joined
·
16,385 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
At first I thought this was a mortise chisel but the more I look at it the more certain I am that it isn't and I'm not sure it is even a chisel at all. I bought this in a lot of chisels I purchased from a seller on ebay in the UK. There is no makers name on it.

The pictures are poor but the best my cheap camera will manage. They do show that the blade is 3 sided and that one side is convex. The convex side has striations on it that are similar to a sharpening steel. In fact I tried sharpening a chisel from that lot on it and it worked. If it were a mortise chisel then the end of the handle should be hooped to withstand mallet blows. The last picture shows that there are no signs that the handle has ever been struck.

The tip doesn't appear to have ever been sharp. It is almost uniformly dull in fact with a slightly rounded flat that has a slight taper from one side to the other that is around 1/32 at the thickest.

I thought for a while that maybe it was a burnisher but the two bottom edges are fairly sharp, more so by quite a bit than the tip. A burnisher should have rounded edges. So I'm at a loss to figure out what it was meant for and I've never come across another like it or or have seen a picture of it anywhere. Anyone know what it is?
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,459 Posts
Maybe it was handcrafted...a very long time ago (pre Lee Valley)?
My grandfather was a part time blacksmith ( in only that it was part of the skill set required to be in the horse trading business).
He made all his own tools. If had an old triangular file, worn down, I'm pretty sure he would have turned it into something like what you've got there, Charles...waste not; want not. :)
Maybe it was for wood turning?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,212 Posts
It looks like it was used for cleaning out mortises, whatever its origin. I recall that for a very long time, German machinist apprentices first effort was making their own basic tools. The age on the handle and patina on the steel sure looks like it has some serious age on it.
 

·
Retired Moderator
Joined
·
16,385 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It may have been a prototype of something that didn't turn out as very practical and it doesn't have any of the indications of hand made and all the indications of factory made. The real head scratcher here is the convex side with the striations in it. They are too uniform in my opinion to have been hand cut. And they are exactly like the ones on a sharpening steel. And likely put in while the steel was soft and then hardened after. But if it was only for sharpening then why triangular instead of the standard round? And why the sloped nose? Keep in mind that I got it from the UK and the origin is likely the UK (although one of the chisels is stamped China) and that Sheffield was the chisel making center of the western world at one time.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Danman1957

·
Retired Moderator
Joined
·
16,385 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It looks like it was used for cleaning out mortises, whatever its origin. I recall that for a very long time, German machinist apprentices first effort was making their own basic tools. The age on the handle and patina on the steel sure looks like it has some serious age on it.
My original thoughts Tom but as I stated, it doesn't appear to have ever been sharp or sharpened after manufacture for that matter. Very few amateurs sharpen without leaving a scratch pattern that shows it. This doesn't have that anywhere on it. It also doesn't have a hooped handle that I would expect to see on a mortise chisel. The straight chisels are expected to be struck, hence the reinforcement on the handle to resist splitting it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
213 Posts
One of the woodworking magazines have a monthly feature on tools with apparently unknown uses. It’s amazing the feedback they get. Someone always knows what it is and how it was used. If you don’t get your answer here, perhaps you could submit it to the magazine. They may even give you something for the submission.


In woodworking there is always more then one way to accomplish something.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31,264 Posts

·
Retired Moderator
Joined
·
16,385 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·

·
Registered
Joined
·
31,264 Posts

·
Retired Moderator
Joined
·
16,385 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Not serrations, striations as in grooves. The convex face is grooved like a sharpening steel and it will sharpen. I tried it on one of the other chisels although it would more suited to something like a knife, or maybe a card scraper. For a while I thought it might have been intended as a tool for removing a dull hook and burnishing a new one but if that was the case the corners would be rounded instead of sharp. The edges are much sharper than the tip is. If this tool was home made then the maker had some impressive equipment for his time. I estimate that it is at least 50 years old and may be much older. I have quite a few old Sheffield origin chisels and this one is indicative of that era.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
966 Posts
Chuck,
Maybe it was made to be a chisel but used for another purpose. There are a few similarities to a tool my father had to spread lead after heating it with the old kerosene torches.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
159 Posts
Maybe it was handcrafted...a very long time ago (pre Lee Valley)?
My grandfather was a part time blacksmith ( in only that it was part of the skill set required to be in the horse trading business).
He made all his own tools. If had an old triangular file, worn down, I'm pretty sure he would have turned it into something like what you've got there, Charles...waste not; want not. :)
Maybe it was for wood turning?
I aggree with that !

Old files are still a good source of good steel.
I believe it was a file that had been turned into a chisel .
just grind it and you got it.

Regards
 

·
Retired Moderator
Joined
·
16,385 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Here are some better pictures that my daughter took for me. It's possible it was meant to be a file but I can't imagine why there would be no teeth on two sides. I have chainsaw files with no teeth on the edges and I've seen files that have only teeth on the edges and none on the flats but why only one side of a semi-triangular file? I've also repurposed files as Gerard suggested but if someone repurposed this tool he had both impressive skills and tools to do it with.

I tend to rule out the possibility of this being a mortise chisel. Even without considering the convex side with the striations on it, the end doesn't go to a sharp edge (still no good picture of that). There is a sort of micro bevel but it's thick and slopes the wrong way. Also the handle isn't hooped and there is still the tiny pinhole in the end of the handle from when it was turned on the lathe. It's never seen a mallet blow and with the geometry of the tip it would have to be struck to work.
 

Attachments

  • Like
Reactions: Danman1957

·
Registered
Joined
·
31,264 Posts
the steel was hot drawn and those serrations are from the extrusion die...
any hot bolts (shanks) will have them if the die is worn or scaled...
force a piece of hot steel trough an anvil's shaping hole... you'll see the same results...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,299 Posts
I thought I had the answer & then you posted more pictures Charles.I was gonna say it's an unfinished dovetail chisel from a triangular file. My father used to make some really good Bowie knives from worn out files. James.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top