Thursday, September 29, 2011

No cheeky butt jokes, please

My only butt chisel. Which I acquired the old fashioned way - or what I suspect was the old fashioned way - by repurposing a rather worn down and handle-less Marples & Sons 1" bevel edged firmer.

Rehandled with boxwood - something I tend to avoid now, however much I love it (and I do). You know how folks lust after completing sets of Marples chisels with the boxwood carver handles? Well I've got quite a few of those handles as it happens - all in the pile of "small exotics" for turning into something else, because, yup, they've split. Of all the split and knackered chisel and gouge handles I've seen (and would you believe I've seen a few?) the bulk of them were boxwood. It's not fancy or even remotely sexy, but opting for ash and beech handles are to be much preferred if you don't want to get into rehandling. Tip o' the day.

So amazingly, no set of butt chisels here, but I do have another short and handle-less 3/4" Marples that's crying out for the same repurposing. Hmm, maybe I'll have to give in and make it a boxwood handle after all, just so they'll match...


  1. As always, Alf, you're right. Box takes on a wonderful honey colour with time but it also seems very brittle for use as a chisel handle.

    And the carver handles on the vintage Marples range are huge! I've sometimes wondered if they were actually intended to have a "sacrificial" inch or two at the end that could be trimmed if they got chipped.


  2. I'm delighted to have inspired these additional blog posts.

    Great job on the repurposed chisel; I assume the box handle is safe for this design/purpose? Must have a rummage through my acquisitions box and see if there's something suitable for this treatment. Don't have any box* though - might have to be beech or maple.

    * Actually, to be more accurate, I don't have any suitable box. A while ago I acquired a job lot of old boxwood rulers as source material for replacing boxing on wooden plane restorations. Handy for other small-scale uses too - don't pass them up at the car boots.

  3. I had to laugh, I thought it was just me who had awful luck with my own (expensively imported and purchased) boxwood. I gave up and started using a native Canadian hornbeam which grows outside the woodshop at the lake on the grounds that I would not mind re-handling in a couple of years...


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