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Thread: Stanley 720 Chisel Advice

  1. #1

    Stanley 720 Chisel Advice

    So long story short I picked up this set of stanley 720 chisels on ebay about 8 months ago for 100 bucks. They were listed as "stanley chisels" no mention of them being 720's and one grainy picture with no description whatsoever. so I bid 100 and won. Got the chisels and well they are NOT marked 720 it is obvious that they are in FACT 720's by there length. Say what you will about marked vs un-marked stanley chisels, I for one believe there to be no difference whatsoever in the chisels, especially when it comes to this set, which is so obviously a set of 720's. But I digress.

    Here is what I have noticed about these chisels. They came as a set of 6, BUT one of them is marked differently, it has the stanley logo down on the blade (see pic 4) and only "made in usa" on the socket, and the others have "stanley" AND "made in usa" on the socket(see pic 3), may be that they are a set of 5, plus one. This makes sense. The MAIN point I would like to ask though is to USE or NOT TO USE??? Here is what stops me from using them..... THEY'VE HARDLY BEEN USED. I would almost say they've never been used but someones appears to have tried to put a micro bevel on them recently... but as the backs have the original grind marks on them 100% and the rest of the bevel has NEVER been touched by anything at all.... kinda a weird combo... I mean one could say without that attempt at a mirco bevel they'd never even been handled in any sort of woodworking... may have just sat in a drawer somewhere. so basically I have a 99% un-used set of stanley 720 chisels... do I sharpen them up and get working? Or do I collect them and get some Lie-Nielsens as they are better chisels anyway.... of course one could argue these are not direct comparison to bench chisels such as the Lie-Nielsens because they are 720's not 750's...

    Also pictured in pic 1 is the last chisel, without the handle, is a TRUE NEW OLD STOCK chisel. I found it at an estate sale, the owner had NO other tools at all in his house, nothing that even resembled a tool shaped object!I found this in a desk drawer in the house, or mansion as is more accurate, it was very out of place... and it has never been touched, the bevel is untouched, the back is too... only wish there was a handle... any idea what I should do with this?

    here's the pics.
    IMAG0320.jpgIMAG0321.jpgIMAG0322.jpgIMAG0323.jpg

  2. #2
    Sharpen and put them to use!

    W/o the 720 mark, they will not command the collector price (as you discovered). I've picked up several vintage Stanley's (750 and 720) along the way and really like them. IMO, that's a good set of users, perhaps functionally as good as LN or LV.

  3. #3
    DON'T USE THEM! Send them to me - I'll give you $110 for them.
    Maurice

  4. #4
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    My shop seems to be getting too small for my user tools. There really isn't any room for collector tools, even though it looks like I have a large collection.

    Surely if you put them to use, you will get more than a $100 worth of woodworking enjoyment during their use.

    A new set will cost a lot more. You may also decide a set of butt chisels and square sided chisels to be good additions to your set.

    As for the one without a handle, that is the reason my preference is for socket chisels. It is easy to make new handles for them when they are needed. It is helpful if you have a lathe, but still possible to make a useable handle without one.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  5. #5
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    nicee.... that is an amazing find I think

  6. #6
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    If I has that set I would use it. I hate to say it but if the handles are flawless they are are worth just as much as the steel or more - in MY shop they would get glue on them, stain, etc get malleted and it might be worth it to make new handles and put the red ones in a box. If they are VGC. That way if you ever go to sell them you can pop the sweet handles back on and presto, sales appeal.

  7. #7
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    I would use them, too. Make the ones other people have a little more rare as a public service and enjoy using properly made chisels while you're at it.
    Unleaded tastes a little tangy, supreme is kinda sour, and diesel tastes pretty good.

  8. #8
    I do have a lathe and I actually like that idea very much. THe suggestion to get another set of butt chisels and square sides is also a good one, I forgot to mention that while I do not have any "sets" of modern chisels, I do have about 60 or so more vintage chisels, firmer, paring, butt, etc.. including about 10 stanley 750's, some of them doubles (which I need to sell when I get around to it, Hate ebay) but I basically have a full set of user 750's in all the sizes I use. Also the other 50 or so vintage chisels are all from high end makers and span basically every size from 1/8 to 1 3/4 in all sorts of variation from square sides to butt to paring as i mentioned. SO, does that change any of your opinions?

    By the way one thing I do like about USING these 720's is that since they are un-used they'll require little set up, where as my other ones are in a range of conditions, some of which will take a LONG time to get set up properly.... especially without a grinder. I suppose that should be on my short list of purchases though.

    I do agree though with the point that since they are not marked "no. 720" they may not be worth all that much.

    Any idea what they may sell for on ebay if I were to re-list them with a detailed description and lots of big pictures showing off their almost un-used status?? Any guesses?

    Another weird thing is also that they appear to have a different "finish" than my un-handled "marked" NOS stanley 720 I have pictured above. The finish on the other 6 un-marked ones seems to be more shiny, almost like old stanley plane blades/chip breakers look. where as the "marked" stanley 720 has more of a "honed" finish, not as shiny, and by honed I don't mean sharpened I mean like when tile or Granite is compared and they use the term "honed" to describe a more "flat" less shiny finish... alot like the finish on most of my other vintage chisels, a much more common look on chisels in general in fact. Any idea what this means? I know there is a few stanley chisels experts on SMC...

  9. #9
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    You never know on ebay, there are two truths there:
    1) anything that's not collector grade stuff is a crap shoot
    2) collector grade stuff will make you realize that you don't want to be looking for users that collectors are lusting after

    They could go for $125, and they could go for $250. Knowing that they're not marked with #s that collectors would want, and especially that you don't have a 720 marked 1/8th chisel (if there is such a thing) or something where people are always buying one chisel to round out a whole set - and for ridiculous dollars, I'd just keep them to use.

    You're not likely to find much better chisels for $200 and in the end you'll have time wasted. I personally like stanley steel a lot. It's fairly plain, even on the newer stuff that's got a brushed finish and no number on it, and the profiles are nice. You can interchange handles as you wish, and use them sparingly and I doubt if you use them for 5 years, they'll lose much length and you can revisit the exercise of selling them later if you wish.
    Unleaded tastes a little tangy, supreme is kinda sour, and diesel tastes pretty good.

  10. #10
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    They still don't hold a candle to Berg.

    Sorry I shouldnt have said that.
    thinking out loud.

  11. #11
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    Also the other 50 or so vintage chisels are all from high end makers and span basically every size from 1/8 to 1 3/4 in all sorts of variation from square sides to butt to paring as i mentioned. SO, does that change any of your opinions?
    My "extra" tools are often ones that will be sold when some new tool appeals to my desires.

    You might want to set these aside in a safe place to use as "fund raisers" when the time comes for a new high dollar purchase.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  12. #12
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    I like the steel on stanley chisels.And the Anton berg i have is some what better for chopping.But in the end the road leads to Japanese steel.Tasai is #1.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Hughes View Post
    ...But in the end the road leads to Japanese steel.Tasai is #1.
    You got that right; although Tasai has some competition these days.

  14. #14
    Haha bergs are pretty nice! I have a few, including an 1/8th that is my go to chisel for that size. Like i said, out of my 50-60 plus other chisels i have just about every brand youd ever want. I am however lacking on the japanese chisel front. Im thinking about selling off my extra planes and maybe a bedrock or two to finance a set (or a set of my most used sizes) of the koyamaichi chisels from stu... only question is dovetail or reg profile? Ive heard mixed feelings when it comes to chopping with the DT profile.... if anyone wants to tackle that one id be interested in opinions... haha

  15. #15
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    They look like they are in great shape. I would sharpen them up and use them. You may make some cash on them if you sell them but would then just spend that cash to replace them. they are good so just be happy you have a good set of chisels for a good price and use them

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