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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
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Default Jerry Changed His Mind

If you have been following my thread on Blue Chip Chisels this thread will make sense to you. As you know, i asked a lot of questions about the aforementioned chisels and did get lots of good information. However, at the last minute I changed my mind and bought a quarter in "FOOTPRINT" chisel. Mostly to due with availability and it looks like this brand is made in England and not in China. No big deal, this a very inexpensive purchase but it's the one on mind today. Does anybody have any comments on the Footprint brand?

Jerry
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 02:11 PM
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Did you get the blue handle chisel? Amazon has good reviews.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Jerry Bowen View Post
If you have been following my thread on Blue Chip Chisels this thread will make sense to you. As you know, i asked a lot of questions about the aforementioned chisels and did get lots of good information. However, at the last minute I changed my mind and bought a quarter in "FOOTPRINT" chisel. Mostly to due with availability and it looks like this brand is made in England and not in China. No big deal, this a very inexpensive purchase but it's the one on mind today. Does anybody have any comments on the Footprint brand?

Jerry
Hi Jerry - I haven't heard of them so I did a bit of a search, here's a blog you might be interested in:
Blog: Footprint Tools - The End of an Era

My guess is they are a pretty good product, just won't be able to get any more.

John Schaben

The problem with experience is I usually get it immediately after I need it.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 02:39 PM
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Hi Jerry - I haven't heard of them so I did a bit of a search, here's a blog you might be interested in:
Blog: Footprint Tools - The End of an Era

My guess is they are a pretty good product, just won't be able to get any more.
More research reveals they rebranded to "Footprint Sheffield" and added product lines. They are still in business.
http://www.footprint-tools.co.uk/

Last edited by richtink; 01-07-2013 at 02:46 PM. Reason: add link
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 05:16 PM
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More research reveals they rebranded to "Footprint Sheffield" and added product lines. They are still in business.
Footprint Tools - A mark of Sheffield, a mark of quality
Thank you for that Richard. Sounds like some tools to keep an eye out for.

John Schaben

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 05:34 PM
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Jerry... here ya go.. I've owned and used a set of Footprint chisels for years. Pro's are that they are affordable. When properly sharpened they will cut nicely, including endgrain. Mine have held up well over the years to the mallet. Handles are fairly comfortable....

Out of the wrapper they were so/so at best! The back of each chisel took a good deal of effort to get flattened out. Probably no more so than should have been expected for a chisel in this price range. Putting an edge on them is not difficult. I would suspect that their edge holding ability is on par with the price. After a busy day using them, a quick touch up is required. They will rust up quickly if you do not apply some sort of preventitive overcoat. I use Camellia oil which works very well.

All in all, not necessarily my chisel of choice, but a good chisel to begin with!! Get em tuned up and I think you'll be very happy with em!!!

Bill

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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Did you get the blue handle chisel? Amazon has good reviews.
Yes I did get the blue handled ones, and it seems that I read that that red handled ones are discontinued.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 06:50 AM
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I'll be interested to see what PhilP has to say - since he is super observant of tool quality, extremely articulate and complete. This is sourced from his "neck-of-the-woods".
Thus far, my experience with Sheffield tools is limited, but I've been pleased with what I have been exposed to. About rust: often high quality steel has a tendency to oxidize and it is not always an indicator of edge-holding ability, it simply means protection is required. I've heard good things about camelia oil, as was noted above by Bill.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Jerry Bowen View Post
However, at the last minute I changed my mind and bought a quarter in "FOOTPRINT" chisel. Mostly to due with availability and it looks like this brand is made in England and not in China. No big deal, this a very inexpensive purchase but it's the one on mind today. Does anybody have any comments on the Footprint brand?
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I'll be interested to see what PhilP has to say...
Hi Jerry and Otis

Footprint Tools Limited were a mid-range tool producer, never in the same league as Record-Ridgeway (who owned the Marples brand) in their Sheffield days. In terms of fit or finish, but nevertheless their tools were generally made from decent quality steel and were properly hardened (their auger bits were particualarly good). They were a family run concern and unlike so many others never took the easy way out by buying-in from the Far East and relabelling, so at least if you bought their stuff you'd be assured that the steel was of good quality, even though you'd probably have to regrind and sharpen their chisels before first use (as Bill also says above). With the sale of Record (and Marples/Ridgeway) to Irwin in the 1990s (and the subsequent removal of almost all Record/Marples manufacturing activity away from the UK) and the demise of Paramo (who owned Clay) in 2003 we were left with only 5 tool firms in Sheffield who produced their own chisels so far as I know (the others being Henry Taylor, Robert Sorby, Crown and Stanley Works UK). Footprint's demise in 2008 came as a bit of a shock to me, but they have subsequently re-organised as Footprint Sheffield Limited and are continuing to manufacture in the city, including their range of chisels

As to the quality - generally the steel they use is pretty good, and they at least know how to harden it properly. Marples, by comparison, has gone downhill a lot since the 1980s and I know of joiners who've bought sets or individual Blue Chip or the "other" range, the carpenter's "lollipop" chisels in recent years (since about 2004) and who've been less than pleased with their performance.


Above: Marples "lollipop" chisels. Same blade as a Blue Chip these days, different handle, supposedly more durable than the Blue Chip. Aimed at site joiners, etc

Received wisdom seems to be that Marples chisels whilst well ground are very variable in hardness and edge holding ability these days and that the modern ones aren't a patch on the older ones. Unlike others here I couldn't recommend modern Marples chisels

Jerry - the best thing I can say about your chisel is sharpen it and try it. If it works well then go buy more as and when the need arises. remember that mortising tends to knock the edges of any chisel about so some way to sharpen and hone quickly is a must

Regards

Phil

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Last edited by Phil P; 01-14-2013 at 07:21 PM.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2013, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Jerry and Otis

Footprint Tools Limited were a mid-range tool producer, never in the same league as Record-Ridgeway (who owned the Marples brand) in their Sheffield days. In terms of fit or finish, but nevertheless their tools were generally made from decent quality steel and were properly hardened (their auger bits were particualarly good). They were a family run concern and unlike so many others never took the easy way out by buying-in from the Far East and relabelling, so at least if you bought their stuff you'd be assured that the steel was of good quality, even though you'd probably have to regrind and sharpen their chisels before first use (as Bill also says above). With the sale of Record (and Marples/Ridgeway) to Irwin in the 1990s (and the subsequent removal of almost all Record/Marples manufacturing activity away from the UK) and the demise of Paramo (who owned Clay) in 2003 we were left with only 5 tool firms in Sheffield who produced their own chisels so far as I know (the others being Henry Taylor, Robert Sorby, Crown and Stanley Works UK). Footprint's demise in 2008 came as a bit of a shock to me, but they have subsequently re-organised as Footprint Sheffield Limited and are continuing to manufacture in the city, including their range of chisels

As to the quality - generally the steel they use is pretty good, and they at least know how to harden it properly. Marples, by comparison, has gone downhill a lot since the 1980s and I know of joiners who've bought sets or individual Blue Chip or the "other" range, the carpenter's "lollipop" chisels in recent years (since about 2004) and who've been less than pleased with their performance.


Above: Marples "lollipop" chisels. Same blade as a Blue Chip these days, different handle, supposedly more durable than the Blue Chip. Aimed at site joiners, etc

Received wisdom seems to be that Marples chisels whilst well ground are very variable in hardness and edge holding ability these days and that the modern ones aren't a patch on the older ones. Unlike others here I couldn't recommend modern Marples chisels

Jerry - the best thing I can say about your chisel is sharpen it and try it. If it works well then go buy more as and when the need arises. remember that mortising tends to knock the edges of any chisel about so some way to sharpen and hone quickly is a must

Regards

Phil
.

Phil,
This is a very good post and I thank you for taking the time to write it. My quarter inch Footprint chisel along with a guide did arrive, but to date I have not been able to try to sharpen it. I need to find the various grits of paper and will do that soon. The new chisel appears to be well made but of course one can't tell the quality of it until it is used for awhile. I am glad that I did end up getting this tool instead of the other one, expecially after what you have said in your post. Once again, this forum has been of valuable help to me and I trust that it is also of great help to other members. I have to admit that you more advanced woodworkers talk about tissues that I do not yet understand. Perhaps, for the sake of this forum, my limited experience, is off-set by me long winded replys and attempts to learn and understand.

Wishing the best to everybody in the coming new year.

Thanks Again Phil,

Jerry
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