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Thread: Why So Few Strike-Through Chisels?

  1. #1
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    Nov 2011
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    Why So Few Strike-Through Chisels?

    I have began using more hand tools in my hobby and have been considering upgrading my stanley 16-300 strike-through chisels. I'm sure their steel is somewhat inferior, but frankly outside of steel quality I'm having difficulty understanding why more top brands aren't designed as a strike-through (by strike-through I mean a chisel with steel extending through the handle). Help me out!

    Strike-Through Pro's
    - Can use any mallet/hammer in the shop vs just using a wood mallet
    - Chisel is more stable and won't fall out of socket with weather/humidity.
    - Will transfer more force if you decide to get aggressive with strikes.

    Strike-Through Con's
    - Fewer choices on the market (though this isn't a con for the handles, just the market)
    - You have to aim better with a regular hammer (though you can still use a big mallet and missing is user error, not a design issue)

    I'd like to justify some spendy chisels, but frankly I can't justify much more than just going to the Fatmax ones for the reasons above.

  2. #2
    Well Brody, I guess not everyone wants to wack their chisel with a claw hammer

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Clearlake, CA
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    If your chisels are sharp, you don't necessarily need a big, heavy (steel) hammer
    High quality steel alloys can take a finer edge and/or hold a sharp edge longer; enough force can be applied through the palm to effectively remove material from the workpiece, or more efficiently through the use of a light mallet.

  4. #4
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    Peterlee, County Durham, England
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    Much depends on whether or not the chisels are going to see combined service in workshop and on site, because it's not necessarily practical for someone to carry a mallet on site. With practise, a hammer can serve the same purpose as a mallet (Striking the chisel with the hammer's cheeks provides more control) when chopping for hinges, locks and joints, so .... much depends on the where's, when's and why's surrounding the end-user's options.

  5. #5
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    There are a couple of other reasons why they're aren't more of the "everlasting" design:

    1) They're heavier than wood/plastic tanged chisels

    2) They're a lot more expensive to manufacture, because they need to be machined from a solid billet of tool steel. Ideally, they also need to be differentially hardened - the chisel blade itself needs to be hard, the handle part needs to be less hard to avoid fracture from repeated blows. Differential hardening isn't as inexpensive as putting the whole chisel in the oven.

    3) The market for high-end chisels is very small, and a lot of the customers for that market don't want bomb-proof chisels, they want traditional designs. The low-end market won't pay the premium for the everlasting design.

    Also, keep in mind that no chisel outside of the japanese designs are intended to be struck with a steel hammer. There are a lot of antique Stanely everlasting chisels on the 'bay that have been seriously messed up by repeated striking with a hardened steel hammer.

  6. #6
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    I would imagine that a "strike through" chisel would have terrible balance for cabinetmaking. I can't see a benefit to the design, unless you really, really like using your claw hammer instead of a proper mallet.
    Your endgrain is like your bellybutton. Yes, I know you have it. No, I don't want to see it.

    Ask me why I use hand tools, and I'll tell you

  7. #7
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    What's a "strike through" chisel. I'm just curious. Can someone post a pic?
    Woodworking is terrific for keeping in shape, but it's also a deadly serious killing system...

  8. #8
    Newer Fat Max Stanley chisels....or the older Everlast

  9. #9
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    Last edited by Sean Hughto; 02-03-2013 at 10:51 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zach Dillinger View Post
    I would imagine that a "strike through" chisel would have terrible balance for cabinetmaking.
    Yes, this.

  11. #11
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    Feb 2010
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    Thanks Sean and Archie. I thought people loved the everlasts for cabinet making? Aren't they sorta a bench chisel/butt chisel hybrid, like the AI "american pattern" chisels. I would think they would have most of there weight in the blade and have a very nice balance when chopping. I must be missing something? What makes them "strike through"? Does that mean something specific or is it just the general name of the style? I can see that they would not great to pare with and so not a great all around bench chisel, but why would the balance be so bad?
    Woodworking is terrific for keeping in shape, but it's also a deadly serious killing system...

  12. #12
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  13. #13
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    My chisels are sharp enough I often don't even mess with a mallet. Putting my weight behind the chisel is usually enough to take out the material (small bits at a time, to ensure precise cuts).

    If I'm chopping dovetails or paring on a line, using the mallet slows me down. I hold a mallet+chisel differently than a chisel by itself. So picking up the mallet, rearranging everything, hitting the chisel, putting the mallet down, rearranging again, etc seems like a big time sink if I've got to do it half a dozen times per tail or pin.

    FWIW, I use the fairly inexpensive made-in-the-USA Buck chisels sold by Craftsman Studios. Most are only a few dollars more than those sold in the Big Box stores, but these take and hold a beautiful edge.

  14. #14
    So, is the center pin spun welded into the casting, or threaded?

    I can't imagine replacing a broken handle, based on the cut through example...

  15. #15
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    I don't know the details of the pin/cap attachment, but it is not removable. A clever person might be able to replace the wood by gluing in piences and then shaping it, but it would be significantly more difficult and time consumign than turnign a new socket chisel handle or remounting a tang and ferrule.

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