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Thread: Why So Few Strike-Through Chisels?

  1. #16
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    The "strike though" or Everlasting design has an odd balance, imo, for pairing and such. It is a chisel designed more for the craftsman working in the electrical, plumbing or other building trades.

    There is another choice:

    Crescent Chisel.jpg

    The problem with these is they are no longer made.

    My one Stanley Everlasting chisel only gets occasional use. My Crescent chisel even less.

    One of the thoughts behind the Everlasting design is the handle will not need replacement due to cracking from being struck with a mallet or hammer.

    For people installing hinges, plumbing and electrical components, this is a big advantage. The disadvantage of balance doesn't even come into the equation.

    One big advantage of socket chisels, and tang chisels for some, is the ease of changing the handle on a moments notice. Only one of my chisels has had a handle slip off. A little rework on the socket handle interface seems to have put an end to this. Also the technique of picking them up has become habitual to prevent any catastrophe if one does slip.

    Over a few years of trying different handle styles my favorites have a few things in common. They are very comfortable in my hands.

    Five New Handles.jpg

    The ring towards the base is advantageous when pairing to push against. The rounded egg or ball at the top is also comfortable pushing against with the palm. It also is easy on the palm when levering a little side to side.

    Most of my bench chisels seldom get struck with heavy blows. There are other chisels with different handles for that kind of work. When they do get a bit of striking, it is easy to place the ring at the base of the handle between my pinky and ring finger for control and this also keeps the rest of my hand below the top even on the shorter handles.

    This works fine for me. This design may not work for anyone else, but anyone is welcome to give it a try. One thing that others may consider that has not been done to mine is to flatten one side of the ring to keep the smaller chisels from rolling.

    One big disadvantage for the Everlasting style is the inability to change handles if one so desires.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 02-03-2013 at 1:03 PM. Reason: spelling
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
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  2. #17
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    I am a big fan of the Stanley No. 60 yellow-plastic-handled chisels for the job site. The older ones have steel caps on the end of the handle. Granted, the cap and the tang on the chisel don't meet; but I've beaten pretty hard on my chisels over the years and have yet to lose a handle.

    $1 at estate or garage sales. Good steel that holds its edge quite a while.

  3. #18
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    Interesting cutaway chisel,Sean.

  4. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Cohen View Post
    Well Brody, I guess not everyone wants to wack their chisel with a claw hammer
    Yep, that'd be it.
    “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” -- George Orwell


  5. #20
    I have a few sets of chisels (too many). I will say that a decent set of steel capped chisels comes in handy, and I do havea set, but I would not want to use them every day. I couldn't give a whit about the balance, either. Much of the chisel work in fine cabinet making does not require a mallet, and thet steel caps dig into your palms something fierce over time. It's even worse if you took a metal mallet or hammer to the caps and they become dented or galled. That's why the fancy paring chisels of the day, like the Stanley 720's, had leather heels instead of steel. For what it's worth, I have a broad range of chisels including a set of LN's, a set of Stanley 720's and 750's, and a set of steel heeled Buck Bros. chisels I bought at one of the Borg stores, don't remember which one. The steel in the Buck's is actually pretty good and they're made in the USA. If you want a set a chisels with steel heels, they're well worth the money. Don't fall into the hype that your chisels have to be hand forged in a deep woods cabin by some guy who thinks he's John Galt and only uses exotic wood handles that probably would give you hives if not for the 37 coats of tung oil on them. But that guy's chisels are probably pretty good, too

  6. #21
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    Thanks for the photo, Sean; I had no idea.

    I've got one Stanley Everlasting chisel and I actually consider it a very good looking tool and I don't find it unbalanced or in any way awkward to use, but the steel isn't top quality and doesn't hold an edge very long so I've rarely used it. But as a user of Japanese chisels I don't at all agree with those who feel that a hammer is (necessarily) the wrong tool to use with a chisel. And of course not all hammers are claw hammers.

  7. #22
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    Thanks for the replies. Just FYI i'm not trying to ruffle feathers, just looking at it from an open minded POV and not seeing the logic.

    Derek/Glenn, you don't have to use a steel hammer with a strike through. It'll handle mallet/dead blow/anything without damage. You can also be certain your force will be more accurately transmitted without the disconnect of a ferrule, another pro for the strike through.

    Steve, I keep mine at 27deg and 6000 grit, so I'm confident my cheap chisels are sharper than most of their bretheren. I agree stronger alloys hold their edge better, that's why i'm here asking why nobody uses these better alloys in what seems to be a better chisel design.

    David, weight matters a bit, but frankly a few ounces should be a non issue to any adult, especially one with a mallet in his other hand. I'm sure they would cost more to produce, but lets be fair there are plenty of woodworkers happy to pay top dollar for top tools.

    Zach, what is inherently bad for cabinetmaking if a strike through chisel was produced in the same config of your favorite chisels? I'm not trying to talk up my cheap Stanleys, i'm trying to figure out why higher end companies don't adopt the more flexible/stable/durable design.

    Archie, thanks! I'll look into those everlasts. Any background on the steel? Other issues?

    Jim, I don't really get the "balance" complaints on such a light tool. I'm all ears (eyes), but unless you're hand cutting dovetails all day I just don't see it, particularly since most chisels are fairly tip heavy. I do like your handles since i too rarely use a hammer with mine, though the grippy rubber handles serve the same purpose.

    Richard, wouldn't damaged wood from striking dig into your palm all the same? Both seem easily fixed if you're being that rough. LMAO at the deep woods chisel maker comment.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brody Goodwine View Post
    David, weight matters a bit, but frankly a few ounces should be a non issue to any adult, especially one with a mallet in his other hand. I'm sure they would cost more to produce, but lets be fair there are plenty of woodworkers happy to pay top dollar for top tools.
    Brody,

    I can't speak for you (or any others), but if I were to try dovetailing with chisels that weigh 'a few ounces' more, I'd be dead exhausted after one side of a drawer. I use LN socket chisels, and while I love them, there are times I wish for something lighter! [Disclaimer: I suffered a neck injury many moons ago and have a loss of strength and feeling in my arms, so I may be on the 'wimpy' side of the spectrum.]


    daniel
    Not all chemicals are bad. Without hydrogen or oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brody Goodwine View Post
    David, weight matters a bit, but frankly a few ounces should be a non issue to any adult, especially one with a mallet in his other hand. I'm sure they would cost more to produce, but lets be fair there are plenty of woodworkers happy to pay top dollar for top tools.
    Well, one has to consider that there are very few cabinetmakers indeed compared to the general audience for carpenter's/homeowner's tools. It's a very tiny market, and tinier still when one considers that there are a lot of woodworkers that wouldn't even consider paying the cost of a set of L-N, Blue Spruce or L-V chisels. That doesn't mean that there's no market, just that it's really small when a company like Irwin or Stanley considers it and compares it to the market for BORG tools.

    As for weight, I was referring more to the toting around a full set in a tool box consideration rather than manipulating a single tool.

    And again, it's hard to know how many L-N buyers would rather have a set that resembles the new Stanley SW chisels with their "perma handle" design, but I'm betting it's a small fraction, particularly if the price point is the same or a bit higher for the perma handles.

    But - since Stnaley is coming out with just such a design in the next few months (at least rumored to be), we'll see.

  10. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Brody Goodwine View Post
    Thanks for the replies. Just FYI i'm not trying to ruffle feathers, just looking at it from an open minded POV and not seeing the logic.

    Derek/Glenn, you don't have to use a steel hammer with a strike through. It'll handle mallet/dead blow/anything without damage. You can also be certain your force will be more accurately transmitted without the disconnect of a ferrule, another pro for the strike through.

    Steve, I keep mine at 27deg and 6000 grit, so I'm confident my cheap chisels are sharper than most of their bretheren. I agree stronger alloys hold their edge better, that's why i'm here asking why nobody uses these better alloys in what seems to be a better chisel design.

    David, weight matters a bit, but frankly a few ounces should be a non issue to any adult, especially one with a mallet in his other hand. I'm sure they would cost more to produce, but lets be fair there are plenty of woodworkers happy to pay top dollar for top tools.

    Zach, what is inherently bad for cabinetmaking if a strike through chisel was produced in the same config of your favorite chisels? I'm not trying to talk up my cheap Stanleys, i'm trying to figure out why higher end companies don't adopt the more flexible/stable/durable design.

    Archie, thanks! I'll look into those everlasts. Any background on the steel? Other issues?

    Jim, I don't really get the "balance" complaints on such a light tool. I'm all ears (eyes), but unless you're hand cutting dovetails all day I just don't see it, particularly since most chisels are fairly tip heavy. I do like your handles since i too rarely use a hammer with mine, though the grippy rubber handles serve the same purpose.

    Richard, wouldn't damaged wood from striking dig into your palm all the same? Both seem easily fixed if you're being that rough. LMAO at the deep woods chisel maker comment.
    Hi Brody

    I had a set of Everlasting Stanleys once upon a time and sold them as I disliked their balance. For rough work I have a few of the yellow handled Stanleys, which do have steel through the handle. I think that these chisels were designed with the on-site carpenter in mind, not the cabinetmaker in a shop.

    In its earliest stage of design, the new Veritas chisels were a "strike through" (as you call them). Some of you may recall seeing them at a WIA a couple of years ago. I had a bunch of them on my bench for testing, and I must say that I hated them, and said so. They felt clumsy.

    You speak of feedback being a factor of the steel spine. There are many factors that contribute to feedback. Too much heft/mass will reduce feedback (as per the early Veritas design). What you hit the rear of the handle with affects feedback - a steel hammer, hard wooden - and rubber faced mallets all feel different, all transmit energy differently. Some like one style, other prefer another.

    Long bladed chisels feel different to short bladed chisels.

    The handle composition affects feedback. Hooped vs unhooped. Some woods are hard like steel, others dampen vibration.

    A discussion of chisels will elicit as many intellectual and emotional comments as a discussion of BD vs BU planes - which is best, tanged or socketed, laminated/O1/A2/HSS/PM-V11, hooped vs unhooped, long vs short blades, bevelled vs firmer, vintage vs modern, Sheffield vs US vs Japanese steel, best for the shop, best for the worksite, best value for money .....

    Oh lordie ...

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Keller NC View Post
    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 Stanley everlasting chisels on the 'bay that have been seriously messed up by repeated striking with a hardened steel hammer.
    The damage you speak of tends to result from unskilled or neglectful use.

    You will tend to find many plastic handled chisels are intended for use with hammers (Partly the reason for the existence of plastic handles) and Japanese chisels aren't the only designs available for such use. Bear in mind the fact you don't tend to strike the chisel handle using the hammer face, chisel handles (Including those found on Stanley 5001/5002's, etc.) don't tend to take much damage when struck using a hammer.

    A 38+ year old set of plastic handled 5001's I use very regularly for site work (Struck using hammers) bear witness to this fact.

  12. #27
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    Thanks for the reply derek. Many of those debates you mentioned were other smaller issues I'm reading up on, but frankly I'm having a little difficulty getting past this one. When I go back to my pro/con list its just heavily in favor of the strike-through design.

    Seems "balance" is a frequent complaint. Can you elaborate beyond "clumsy".

    I'm ready to invest in some good chisels, but trying to get a little direction.

    It seems laminated japanese steel in a strike-through design (with some awesome rosewood handles) would be the perfect chisel.

  13. #28
    I'm ready to invest in some good chisels, but trying to get a little direction.

    Hi Brody

    The important question is for what task do you want these chisels? Yes I know you want to chisel with them, but sometimes we want a chisel for a specific purpose, such as dovetailing, mortising, paring, heavy work, detail work ....

    When you write "It seems laminated japanese steel in a strike-through design (with some awesome rosewood handles) would be the perfect chisel", it seems to me that you are trying to build the perfect chisel from a composite of features you believe to be best. Have you tried many chisels available? You may discover that the sum is greater than the parts.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  14. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Brody Goodwine View Post
    Richard, wouldn't damaged wood from striking dig into your palm all the same? Both seem easily fixed if you're being that rough. LMAO at the deep woods chisel maker comment.
    the wood is more forgiving, it tends to mash under the hammer blows while the steel galls. if you get a sharp edge, it's a 10 second adventure to knock it down with sandpaper. Either way, I have a (relatively) light wood mallet I use for the fancy pants chisels. If I'm doing something brutal like chopping a deep mortise or slicking a lap joint in a big timber, then the steel heeled buck's come out and beat on them with a steel mallet without a hint of shame since the whole dang set of Buck's costs less than the boxwood handles on my LN's.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brody Goodwine View Post

    Zach, what is inherently bad for cabinetmaking if a strike through chisel was produced in the same config of your favorite chisels? I'm not trying to talk up my cheap Stanleys, i'm trying to figure out why higher end companies don't adopt the more flexible/stable/durable design.
    The high end companies don't make them because people who use high end chisels would, I expect, know not to hit them with an inappropriate tool. So the durability isn't important. The weight isn't an issue, but the balance could be. Think of all that heavy steel up in the handle and worse, on the end of the handle. The chisel would have poor balance for precise work. Nothing that you can't work around, of course, but it wouldn't be my choice.
    Your endgrain is like your bellybutton. Yes, I know you have it. No, I don't want to see it.

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