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  • Talk me out of this idea....?

    I inherited a second set of Marples chisels. They are in pretty good shape. I was thinking of making the second set into Butt (short) chisels. Shorten the blade, and shorten the handles, or perhaps turn new, rounder handles. Thoughts???

  • #2
    Considering your time/labor, wouldn't you be better off just buying what you need, rather than altering those? Take into consideration first, where are they made and the probability that the 'temper' of the steel may well vary over length of the blade, with the hardest temper being at the point where the best sharping edge will need to be at the point and the softest temper at the handle area. If I recall correctlly, the blades temper would not be the same along the entire length of the blade.

    I have a set of four, Marples' chisels that I bought in somewhere around 2000-2003 and they were made in the UK (Sheffington ?) and they're not bad, but I recall that either here on this forum or over on the Ridgid forum, that someone posted a picture of one of their 'Marples" that was made in China, and it had a cracked blade; with the crack traveling from the blade's edge downward toward the handle.

    It would be frustrating, IMO, if you were to put a lot of work into modifying these to form "Butt" chisels, only to have your final results less than you expected because of poor steel and/or a temper that is too soft to hold a sharpened edge.

    CWS
    Think it Through Before You Do!

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    • #3
      Some methods of cutting and grinding could ruin the temper.

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      • #4
        If you shorten the chisels, they will still not be wide chisels which is part of the point of having short chisels according to Lee Valley

        "Butt chisels are made in wider sizes than most chisels, making them efficient for wasting out large areas, such as the mortises for installing butt hinges. They also have shorter blades that some woodworkers find offer improved control."

        Seems like a waste of a nice set of chisels. To grind away all that good metal. And the profile may not be right in the end.
        Last edited by LCHIEN; 10-04-2020, 03:24 PM.
        Loring in Katy, TX USA
        If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
        BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

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        • #5
          I agree that shorting the chisels will be more work that you probably want to undertake, unless you are a machinist. Water wheel will be glacially slow. CBN wheels will be better and quicker, but the price of getting a CBN wheel set up might cost as much as buying a new set of stubby/short chisels.

          Hank Lee

          Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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          • #6
            Since the Marples are paring chisels and don't have the striking face like most butt chisels have, I'd think they are best left alone and used as they were designed. I really don't think the effort to shorten the Marples is worth the effort, considering what a set of butt chisels cost. I have a set of Marples (down to 1/8") and two sets of butt chisels (Stanley and Craftsman). Both sets go down to 1/4", so they are most useful. Having two sets of paring chisels would let you continue to work with them if one gets dull and you would not have to stop to sharpen. I have a wooden mallet (Record) for striking chisels, but rarely, if ever, use it on the Marples and even then lightly.
            Jim Frye
            The Nut in the Cellar.
            ”Sawdust Is Man Glitter”

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            • #7
              Sigh...OK, you all talked me out of it...I was hoping someone would pop up and say something like they had done this with success, but alas, the time and cost for the heat treatment make this a bad idea. Cutting & grinding would take little time, and turning new handles would be fun, but bringing the temper back would not be worth it...As the subject of the original post indicates, I thought it might be a bad idea, even if it would be fun to do. Sad to get rid of good chisels. Jus too much in my shop now...

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              • #8
                I just remembered a tongue in cheek article many years ago in Mad Magazine. It was a spoof of Popular Mechanics magazine. I think the story started out by showing how to make a chisel in a pinch from a screw driver. Then because you needed a screw driver, it showed you how to make one from a knife. Since your knife was now gone, the story showed how to make one from a file. The tale went on and on until you needed a chisel again.
                Jim Frye
                The Nut in the Cellar.
                ”Sawdust Is Man Glitter”

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