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Thread: Stanley Everlasting Chisels, how good?

  1. #1
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    Stanley Everlasting Chisels, how good?

    I swear I posted this topic this morning, but it's not showing up in the forum.

    Decent woodworking rust is hard to come by on my side of the big river and since I don't have tons of time to travel for flea markets & tool swaps, I unfortunately have to rely heavily on Ebay. I also find the prices on old tool web sites absurdly high.

    As vintage chisels go, I find the Stanley #50 Everlasting pretty ubiquitous and not too pricey. The tang/handles should hold up to the most ham-handed use, but how good is the steel?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Everlast chisels are usually pricey on Ebay -- but they are very very good chisels. In particular if you find the ones from 1911-1930 or so ... I have 3 full sets of Everlasts, not matched however plus probably 20-30 individuals.

    The pricing comes & goes but you can find a lot of other good chisels from that time frame, like Greenlee, Dunlop, GI, Peerless, Mix, etc... a lot cheaper. From my experience (over 300 chisels in the collection & still counting -- no it's not an obsession I always tell the wife) most of the chisels in the pre WWII era were much better than you find now.. unless you pay a premium price, plus the old iron just feels better to me ... That said the Stanley 40 & 50 series are my favorites and what I always grab first as I find the handles are very comfortable and steel is as good as I've come across.

    You mention #50's ... you can see a link:Stanley 50 Type Study here ... it's got some good info.
    Mike-in-Michigan (Richland that is) <br> "We never lack opportunity, the trouble is many don't recognize an opportunity when they see it, mostly because it usually comes dressed in work clothes...."

  3. #3
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    Wow, thanks for all the info, Michael.

    Chisels have become something of an "interest" of mine also, but to date my only "vintage" finds are a nameless (and handleless) 1/8" socket mortise, 5/16" Woodcock Sheffield, and 3/8" James Swan . I need to post a pic of the latter as I'm not sure how to classify it, square-edge (not beveled) but tapered quite a bit, like a mortising chisel but not nearly heavy enough, with a hexagonal handle.

  4. #4
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    Another chiseler

    I dont have 300 chisels, but I bet I have at least 100 of various kinds, mostly vintage. I use the dozen or so Everlastings I have for everything but woodworking. They are tough, with terrific steel and you can beat the living hell out of them with framing hammers during your worst temper tantrums (which is what I do and what the guys who had them before me did...and the guys before them even...). They are in a rack and always at the ready for the down, the dirty and the butt-ugly. The edge is a tough as any of the rest the pre WW2 chisels I own. The handles are substantial, comfortable and manly...their weight and balance reassuring.

    The prices you pay from online dealers are high all right. And that is fine if you are well-to-do. But trying to build up a collection by this means will result in some slow acquisition. I also dont recommend Ebay as a source for chisels. You pay a premium price to start with....let's assume $25 for an average chisel you can get in other venues for $10.....or even less. Remember you have to outbid the guy who wants it at least as much as you do. You must add $6-$8 for shipping and you are in to $30 or so for the same $10 chisel. Multiply that x 10 and you are into some serious and needless overspending for a mismatched set of user grade tools. You can get a nice set of reasonable quality new chisels for about the same or even less. Unless you can get a decent price on several chisels as a lot, it just isnt worth it, in my view at least, for a tool you are "taking the ebay chance" on to start with. If running around to flea markets is a waste of time (and I agree that it is), I feel that surfing Ebay for high priced, risky stuff is an equal waste. Five years ago, different story. But today, Ebay is a seller's market for vintage tools and no longer a source for deals.

    You might consider joining the MWTCA. There are certain to be members in your area. Some of these guys travel to MWTCA events all over the country as a form of recreation. One or two might be happy to score you a handful of decent chisels at a much more reasonable price than online, if you ask them real nice. If your work or your vacation involves even occasional travel, you might coordinate trips and go to a meet sometime. There are always plenty of tools at these events and most are priced sensibly.

  5. #5
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    Jim,

    I concur with the other responses. The prices you pay on Ebay seem to be far higher than those you find out in the wild, although some of the higher prices are really for collector grade. It seems all sellers and many bidders think all Everlasting chisels are worth that much.

    Up here in PA, I've found numerous Everlasting chisels for $5.00 to $15.00, with a few in poor condition for a buck or two and some collector grade much higher. I have a number of them in my collectio.....I mean user arsenal.

    My opinion-they feel great in the hand, and from those that I use, the steel is excellent quality. I also use other chisels for different tasks--some Witherby, Swan etc. for paring and mortising.

    My advice: buy them if you find them, but don't limit your looking to just these.

    T.Z.

  6. #6
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    Well, you're probably correct about paying too much on Ebay. Unfortunately, Texas is old tool hell, unless you're into ranch and oilfield stuff.

    I'll try SWTCA, keep meaning to send in the membership enrollment.

  7. #7
    Yep, TX is old tool he!!. I've recently acquired a bunch of chisels on ebay, paying, I would say, about $5 to $7 each for the keepers I've gotten, including shipping. I look for the lots of chisels with mixmatched and unidentified stuff mixed in with a few known good names. Three or four at a time with a couple larger lots. Some of the stuff in the lots are trash or good beaters, but there are ussually a couple or four diamonds in the rough.

    Since I'm usin these, I don't mind having a Greenlee hangin next to a Fulton (the last of the really good Sears stuff maybe) and a Witherbee next to that. I've even gotten some no names that cleaned up nicely and cut a darn good shaving.
    Someone said the real test of a craftsman is his ability to recover from his mistakes. I'm practicing real hard for that test.

  8. #8
    Odd....I buy lots of 5 to 40 handleless chisels almost every month on Ebay and average 2-10 bucks each including shipping. 2 bucks for most of them and up to 10 for the odd size I need to make a set.

    I've done sets for family, crew and a few local shipwrights who prefer them....and still am.

    And I'm talking the Lie Nielsen's of the 19th Century....Witherby, Swan, PS&W, Buck, Chas Buck, Greenlee, Gillespie, Robt Duke....all those with lovely glass-like cast steel.

    Stanleys are OK chisels in 750, 720 and Everlast...but the collectors own the market and the prices are generally too high. Stanley Defiance are of the same quality steel but poorer finish and aren't expensive. I have several that have come in large lots but they are nothing to write home about. PS&W, Witherby and Gillespie are my favorites.

    Rehabbing Old Chisels:

    http://www.cianperez.com/Wood/WoodDo...on_Chisels.htm

    More Chisels:

    http://media5.hypernet.com/cgi-bin/U...=1&t=010117&p=
    Last edited by Bob Smalser; 09-10-2004 at 12:11 PM.
    “Perhaps then, you will say, ‘But where can one have a boat like that built today?’ And I will tell you that there are still some honest men who can sharpen a saw, plane, or adze...men (who) live and work in out of the way places, but that is lucky, for they can acquire materials for one third of city prices. Best, some of these gentlemen’s boatshops are in places where nothing but the occasional honk of a wild goose will distract them from their work.” -- L Francis Herreshoff

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the info and the links, Bob. I had everyone of your rehab posts saved, unfortunately, my HD crashed & burned last month. If I ever get LOML's honey-do list subdued, I've got a couple chisels and planes in need.

  10. #10
    3 Swan firmer or (probably) mortise chisels....24 bucks...high for me but mortise chisels aren't common:



    6 first-quality chisels and gouges for 36 bucks...two of them mortise chisels:



    8 first-quality gouges...66 bucks:



    Witherby, Swan and Defiance...for $4.54 plus postage:



    Last month's steal was especially rewarding....36 bucks plus another 10 postage:

    Last edited by Bob Smalser; 09-10-2004 at 4:29 PM.
    “Perhaps then, you will say, ‘But where can one have a boat like that built today?’ And I will tell you that there are still some honest men who can sharpen a saw, plane, or adze...men (who) live and work in out of the way places, but that is lucky, for they can acquire materials for one third of city prices. Best, some of these gentlemen’s boatshops are in places where nothing but the occasional honk of a wild goose will distract them from their work.” -- L Francis Herreshoff

  11. #11
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    I don't have a great deal of money to spend for tools or a flea market to purchase them at where I am. I did a little research & found out that the chisels labeled Ace brand sold at Ace Hardware are made by Buck, so I picked up 1 or 2 at a time until I had the whole set. They have work fairly well for me. They are not old by any means or have a well known name but they work good & if something happens to one I know right where I can get another. Bright yellow handles imprinted with Ace with a metal shank up through the handle & a metal top cap to beat on. I guess I don't see where to be a chiseler the tool has to be old, expensive or a well know name.... in any case they are not available here.
    Last edited by Bart Leetch; 09-10-2004 at 5:15 PM.
    I usually find it much easier to be wrong once in while than to try to be perfect.

    My web page has a pop up. It is a free site, just close the pop up on the right side of the screen

  12. #12
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    Bob you are right about not spending a lot of cash ... The stanley's go for big bucks but I like the everlast handles and the steel is good. I have 2 complete matched sets of PS&W's though -- look like they came out of the hardware store last week... very very nice chisels. I think I paid 25-30$ for each set at a garage sale & an estate sale. I also have sets of Dunlop, Buck (which are my least favorite to use), Greenlee's (good chisels), etc.. plus a lot of individuals... All 300+ chisels are cleaned, sharpened, etc.. and ready to use.. to leave them otherwise is crime in my book.

    I personally would be happy with any of the pre WWII chisels, they are pretty much a commodity market as to quality. The SWAN and Whiterhby's don't command the same prices on Ebay as the Stanley's but they go for a premium compared to the Peerless, Dunlop, PS&W. Buying mixed sets like you are talking about is a good way to go. I've built several sets of 720's & 750's buying 5,10,15 pieces cheap to get 1 or 2 Stanley's. Then I rehab, build up a 4-7 piece set & resell them occasionally at a very high premiums on Ebay. Don't count out the later Stanley Celluloid handles in black & yellow from the 50's -- they still better chisels that most today & usually available at a bargain basement price. Lot's of buyers must be collectors because a little rust & dirt don't hurt a working chisel and most all will clean up fine and be great user chisels. But a dirty old mixed lot rarely get's a bid up like some of the more pristine single/double items.
    Mike-in-Michigan (Richland that is) <br> "We never lack opportunity, the trouble is many don't recognize an opportunity when they see it, mostly because it usually comes dressed in work clothes...."

  13. #13
    300 chisels? 300?

    Golly...I defer to you, Michael, on old chisels.

    There are other makers I like, although I haven't seen a Dunlop or Peerless yet.

    Barton, Union Hardware, Swan, are excellent.

    Buck's vary in edgeholding ability based on when they were made I believe...the later Buck's aren't very good, while I have some older Buck socket gouges that I literally use on the lathe as they hold an edge as well or better than modern Sorby M2 but cut cleaner.

    Eclipse seem to be good steel but poorly finished like a Defiance. Lakesides hold an edge well but aren't as pretty a steel as some of the others. Same for Keenkutter.

    I don't keep them...I have a list of guys in the shipyard who are waiting for rehabbed sets when I get to them in my spare time. I do have for the first time in my life complete sets of firmers and gouges, tho in addition to my usual bench, butt, framers and a slick....thanks to Ebay.
    Last edited by Bob Smalser; 09-11-2004 at 12:09 AM.
    “Perhaps then, you will say, ‘But where can one have a boat like that built today?’ And I will tell you that there are still some honest men who can sharpen a saw, plane, or adze...men (who) live and work in out of the way places, but that is lucky, for they can acquire materials for one third of city prices. Best, some of these gentlemen’s boatshops are in places where nothing but the occasional honk of a wild goose will distract them from their work.” -- L Francis Herreshoff

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