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Sledgehammer and other smiths...toolmaking


dads706
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I believe I have seen you make knives and other cutting tools. My question...... have you ever made "wood chisels"? I've always drooled over fine chisels. I'm not talking about the cheapo home store five pack assortment. I'm talking the high $$ that you can shave with or take off a sliver of wood that you can almost see through.

I had one years ago that I picked up on a sale when I was still in high school. You could tell it was hand forged, it was to rough to have been manufactured. Even when given a novice sharpening, it was still fun to use. Besides appearing to be forged, someone (I wish I knew who so that I could beat them bloody) 60 or so years ago appears to have used it as a pry bar. I say this because it was broken clean, about an inch back from the cutting edge. Almost as if it was two types of metal and it broke where the two met (or were welded together)

While I only have a handful of antique woodworking hand tools, I admire the craftsmanship needed to build these tools.

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It very well could have had a hardened tip...some of mine do some dont. I dont know why exactly but i have some ideas. Anyways if u cant find someone on here to make u something, look to the japanese and russian tool makers, a quick google should net some results. Also wife showed me etsy and it was game over. 

That said i have picked up all my timber framing tools and general wood tools at antique shops....and ebay. 

One more note...not all hand forged tools have hammer marks in them. I have a Japanese gouge and ud think it was machine made. Its fn flawless.

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I personally have not made any wood chisels.  I doubt the procedure would be much different than that of a knife really. The single, wedge shaped cutting edge would be simpler to grind compared to a knife edge. I would suspect that @Twolines may be right about the tip being the only hardened part on many tools like that.  It could even be made of mild steel with a bit forge welded in like a hatchet or tomahawk. If used for turning on a lathe you probably would not want a super hard edge to keep from possibly catching and breaking (harder=more brittle). I have made tooling for specific things but never thought of wood chisels. A person could handle them as finely as you wanted I would think. It’s an interesting idea. Damascus would be neat to see also. Things could quickly get so fancy that a person would be afraid to use them. 
 

As for the finish, I could make something carved out with a band saw and add hammer marks at the time of heat treat to look totally hand made. On the flip side, many people don’t like the hammer marks and grind them out before heat treat leaving a machined look. The physical appearance can be made to order, so to speak. Cool idea and a neat topic. 👍🏼👍🏼

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Been recently watching a guy on YouTube Blacktail Studio that does a lot of nice tables and he switches between good chisels and these Damascus Japanese chisels, he only uses those for very fine detail work and I think he mentions numerous times on not wanting to break them, gotta think they would be stronger than that, maybe the sticker shock prevents him?

I recall watching another guy years ago with a Damascus knife that he takes and beats it on the spine to cut through some thick nails then shoves it into a brick wall and stands on it and then cuts paper like butter, now that impressed me, not even a hint of rolling the edge

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2 hours ago, hardtail said:

I recall watching another guy years ago with a Damascus knife that he takes and beats it on the spine to cut through some thick nails then shoves it into a brick wall and stands on it and then cuts paper like butter, now that impressed me, not even a hint of rolling the edge

Eat twill keelll!!!

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Old timber framing chisels were tool steel welded onto wrought iron. You can usually see the difference on the back. I have one with a piece of white oak stuck between the steel and iron, and one that cracked just behind the cutting edge.

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I forget the tool steel might be 1045? But we made some tools in tech school on the lathe and milling machine. Once done heat to cherry red the tip you want hardened and dip in oil. Then reheat till it just starts to change color and let cool on its own. This is what I remember from 88-90 years 

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I have made many tools through the years , mainly for machining metal. You can add a HSS (high speed steel) tip to shank and handle of your choice. When making a tool of this type I might start with a chisel that I have around that looks good and feels good but won't hold an edge. Select a piece of HSS that will be large enough for the finished tip you want. Pre heat the HSS ot apx 500F ( I use a small toaster oven on small jobs) then Tig weld HSS to shank with 312 or 309 filler metal.  Take your time , weld a little at a time.. Do NOT quench. Grind to desired shape. Finish grind with a fine sanding belt or similar. You can find smaller pieces of HSS readily on ebay, collections of small pieces from a retired Machinist's tool box. A broken tap shank is a choice piece of HSS that often goes in a trash can HSS can also be melted over a surface much like hard facing, it takes a little practice but would maybe a good way to go on wood chisels.

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This is 1045 but doesn’t have a cutting edge obviously. It was water quenched (can use oil or water for 1045) and tempered to roughly 55 Rockwell. 

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I do some post and beam frames for myself and have worked on others, I have found a lot of nice ones on flebay the japs make some nice ones also I did make a slick out of 1045 once but you can buy the old school ones cheep if you look for them trick is to keep them sharp

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