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Frequently Asked Vintage Tool Questions

J. Howarth, Sheffield

CH170163 J. Howarth, Sheffield A long 5/16" firming chisel with an octagonal boxwood handle. Measures just over 11 3/4" overall. It has been overcleaned by an English dealer but it is still a great user tool and it will tone down to normal in a year or so. The handle has a rich and attractive patina. There is the beginning of a split in the top of the handle from idiot htting it with a metal hammer but this will be stable as long as you don't repeat this foolery. A great user chisel and a scarce and desirable form. G+ $45

J. Frost, Norwich

CH170166 J. Frost, Norwich A traditional morticing chisel. It measures 7/32". The bevel looks to me like the original factory grind and has only be honed, but never ground, since new. The handle has a few small chips at the top or I would have added a plus on this one. It is a nice one. G+ $39

J. Howarth/J. Woodbridge, Irongr, High Wycombe

CH170173 J. Howarth/J. Woodbridge, Irongr, High Wycombe A matched set of 3 boxwood handled bench gouges in 1/2", 3/4", and 15/16". All three also have the mark of the retailer, J. Woodbridge of High Wycome, once the chair making capital of Britain. These are in superb as found conditon with nicely patinated boxwood, a pleasing medium patina to the blades, and a mellow patina to the ferules. One ferule is split from the wood expanding in a humid period. These are from my personal collection and I rate them highly. G+ $129

I. Sorby

CH170134 I. Sorby A particularly nice 5/16" wide paring chisel with a London Pattern boxwood handle. As found with a nice light patina, I would not do a thing to it. G+ $48

I & H Sorby

CH170138 I & H Sorby A particularly nice as found 3/16" morticing chisel. The handle, which is original, is marked "S.B.&B." in two spots. I would love to know what that stood for. There is one spot of pitting on the blade, but it is right at the very end and on the left side where it doesn't matter. This is a great example. G++ Sold

W. Marples & Sons

CH170142 W. Marples & Sons A cranked in-cannel 1" medium-sweep gouge. The rosewood handle beautiful grain and color and the blade has an attractive even patina. This tool would easily rate fine but the ferule has been polished bright by an English dealer/idiot. What a shame, as it is otherwise a superb example. G++ Sold

S.J. Addis, W&P

CH170147 S.J. Addis, W&P A lovely 1/8" #27 spoon gouge with an exquisite rosewood handle. A fool has polished the ferule, for which I tacked on the minus. A gem. Fine- $48


CH170157 Ward A 3/8" medium sweep bench gougle with an exquisite London pattern boxwood handle. This handle has it all, perfect form, perfect color, and wonderful conditon. Even the ferule has been left with a lovely patina. A gem for the connoisseur. Fine- Sold

T. Marsden

CH17014 T. Marsden An lovely 1/8" morticing chisel. These proper old English morticing chisels have really gotten hard to find these days. They used to be common, and I guess that they still are if you aren't very discerning, but the goods ones have all but dried up. A gem. G++ Sold

Wm Marples

CH170111 Wm Marples A 1" in-cannel medium sweep bench gouge with a London pattern boxwood handle. The handle is marked with a screw and the word "brand", i.e. screw brand. I don't recall seeing this marking before. The ferule is polished but otherwise lovely as found condition. G++ Sold

I Sorby

CH170117 I Sorby A 1/2" swan-neck lock morticing chisel. Reasonably well cleaned by a collector and ready to use. G+ $65

Wm. Marples

CH170122 Wm. Marples A particularly lovely and delicate 5/16" paring chisel with an octagonal boxwood handle. There is one old chip from the top of the handle that is patinated in. A gem. G+ $35

J. Frost

CH161239 J. Frost A harlequin set of 3 boxwood handled paring chisels. These chisels really look like a matched set, but each of the three handles has a different owner's mark. They are each slightly over 1/8, 1/4, and 3/8. This will make a great starter set of dovetailing chisels for a gift price. They are quality pre-War Sheffield made chisels. G+ Sold

W. Gilpin

CH161248 W. Gilpin A 1 1/4" wide paring chisel with a London Pattern octagonal handle with lovely color. Measures 13 1/4" overall. Almost sharp enough to use, just needs a few strokes on an Arkansas stone. G+ Sold


CH161251 Unmarked A particularly nice 3/8" morticing chisel that appears to have the original factory grind on the bevel. It has a lovely even light patina and a nice original handle. This is just how I like to fine them. Fine- Sold

Frost, Norwich

CH161253 Frost, Norwich A lovely rosewood handled 1/4" #2 skew. This tool would rate fine but for the fact that the ferule has been polished bright. A really lovely example. G++ Sold

W. Marples & Sons

CH161257 W. Marples & Sons A 1/2" swan necked morticing chisel for cleaning out deep mortices. Nicely cleaned by a collector and showing very little use. A very nice example. Fine Sold

J. Frost, Norwich

CH161260 J. Frost, Norwich A very nice as found 5/8" wide #6 straight carving gouge with a boxwood handle. There is minor mushrooming to the end of the handle and the beginning of a split, from being struck with a metal hammer. It will not pose any issue as long as you don't abuse it. A great chisel that was almost certainly made by Addis. G= $28


CH16128 Mathieson A wheelwright's bruzz with a nicely faceted handle. It measures 14" overall. From an old collection. G++ $59

W. Butcher

CH161218 W. Butcher An 1/8" paring chisel in lovely as found condition with an applewood American handle with lovely color. The ferule is missing from the handle, having fallen off, as so many do even today. It really serves no function on a narrow chisel like this. A gem. G++ Sold

Frost, Norwich

CH161222 Frost, Norwich A similar but not really matching pair of spoon carving tools. The first is a 3/8" spoon chisel and the second is a 5/8" spoon gouge of about a #4 sweep. Both have mahogany octagonal handles. Nice clean chisels that are bargain priced. G++ Sold

Frost, Norwich

CH161224 Frost, Norwich A lovely as found 1/2" #3 straight gouge with traces of staw finish. The handle indicates to me that this chisel was surely made by Addis. G+ $35

W. Butcher

CH161228 W. Butcher A massive 2 1/2" wide firming chisel with an appropriately heavy ash handle that appears to be American and would date to when the chisel was new. Clearly oen that was sold into the American market. There are some shrinkage checks in the handle, but no real issues. It has an owner's mark of J.W. Tobey that appears is in the style of an early 19th Century font. Measures just over 15" long. A rare and impressive chisel. G++ $129

Frost, Norwich

CH161230 Frost, Norwich Two similar carving tools that are not original to each other. A 1/2" fishtail chisel and a 7/16" #4 fishtail gouge. G++ Sold

J. Frost

CH161233 J. Frost An attractive boxwood handled bench gouge, 5/8" wide and with about a #5 sweep. Nice untouched condition. G+ $29

Robt Sorby & Stormont

CH161235 Robt Sorby & Stormont A similar pair of boxwood handled pairing chisels which I bought together despite being by two different makers. They are 1/4" and a 1/2", perfect for a first dovetailing set. These are quality chisels in very clean condition. Fine- Sold

J. Frost, Norwich

CH161153 J. Frost, Norwich A group of three Frost fishtail carving tools. Two of these are from the same set and rate G+, having been cleaned to bright. They are a 5/16" fishtail straigh chisel and a 5/8" fishtail #4 gouge. The thirld tool matches in style but is from a different set originally and is in better condition, being untouched and quite clean. It is a 5/16" #5 fishtail gouge. These should sell for $40 each alone, so think of one as free. G+-G++ Sold

Henry Knapp, Carrollton, Ohio

CH161162 Henry Knapp, Carrollton, Ohio A 1" corner chisel measuring 17 inches overall. As found condition with a dark patina and spots of light pitting. I have never seen this mark before but the EAIA directory has Henry working around 1830. Ohio tools from this period are not exactly common. G+ Sold

Frost, Norwich

CH161168 Frost, Norwich A matched set of 3 carving gouges that all bear the same owner's mark. A 3/16" #3, a 1/4" #4, and a 3/8" #7. As found in nice condition. G+ Sold

T.H. Witherby

CH161130 T.H. Witherby A 1 3/4" wide heavy beveled firming chisel. It has what looks like the original handle but it has also been struck with a metal hammer without the handle installed and the top of the socket is deformed a bit. It is also covered with light suface oxidation. It will clean up and make a good user but it is not a TBT grade tool. Good $29

J. Frost, Norwich

CH161135 J. Frost, Norwich A 1/2" straight gouge that looks like a #5 sweep. It has a London Pattern handle in beech, which is very unusual. Nice as found condition. G+ Sold

Frost, Norwich

CH161140 Frost, Norwich A group of 4 carving tools that I bought together and have similar handles, but I can't say for sure that they started life together. The set comprises a 3/16" #3, a 7/16" #3, a 3/8" #10 and a 7/16" #2 skew chisel. I would ask $39 each for them individually, so this is a bargain as a group. G++ Sold

Frost, Norwich

CH16118 Frost, Norwich A delicate and attractive 5/16" wide straight #6 gouge with a slender and elegant octagonal handle. Highly recommended. G+ Sold

J. Frost

CH161113 J. Frost A matched pair of #5 straight gouges, 1/8" and 1/4". Lovely matching handles. I am not sure of what wood the handles are, but it is an attractive wood and the handles are elegantly formed. G+ Sold

W. Marples & Sons, Sheffield, England

CH161097 W. Marples & Sons, Sheffield, England A 1/2" beveled cranked paring chisel with a boxwood handle. Probaby adapted from a staright chisel. Presumably done to clean out the bottom of sliding dovetails. Fine- Sold

Moulson Brothers

CH1610109 Moulson Brothers A wonderful 1/8" paring chisel. This is a relatively early chisel with a great octagonal handle. Delicate chisels like this often did not survive. When you sight down the handle it is not lined up with the blade. I think that the handle was stock back on with the wrong alighment, but I can't pull it off. If it bothers you, putt the handle off and rotate it until you find where it belongs. This chisel is a real gem. G+ Sold

Frost, Norwich

CH1610119 Frost, Norwich A matched pair of boxwood handled bench gouges with about #5 sweep. These are not carving gouges, they are cabinetmaker's or patternmaker's. 3/8" and 5/8" wide. At less than $30 each they are a bargain. G+ $59

Early Slick Early Slick Early Slick Early Slick Early Slick

CH1610123 Early Slick A hand-wrought slick that I believe to be 18th Century. It was found in the Shenandoah Valley many years ago by a Virginia collector. The blade is 4 1/2" wide. The shoulders below the socket have decorative chamfering work on them. It is a bit over 17" overall, not counting the handle. The handle looks good on the slick but appears to be a later handle made by a collector for display. The handle has some age on it now, but is probably from the mid-20th Century or so.. It weighs about 6 pounds without the handle. This is the nicest slick that I have seen. G+ Sold

Marsden Brothers

CH161089 Marsden Brothers A 1" gouge with a very shallow sweep, similar to a number 3 sweep although this is not a cabinetmaker's gouge. I think that it was a patternmaker's gouge. It has a particularly nice octagonal handle. It does need a good cleaning and has surface rust overall, but it is well worth the effort. G+ $29

Akio Tasai

CH161035 Akio Tasai This is set of 3 Tasai Suminagashi chisels that were bought by our consignor from the Japan Woodworker more than 20 years ago. They all appear to be unused and could justifiably be rated mint, which of course means as new. The hoops are set, but it appears that they had been sold that way, as one of them still has the plastic shrink wrapping on the handle and it is set. The sizes are 5mm (3/16"), 9mm (3/8"), and 12mm (1/2"). The smallest one was sold as a 6mm, or 1/4", but these are hand made chisels and it is a bit undersized. Two of them have boxes and one does not, but that does not suprise me. We sometimes pull Tasai chisels out of sets to fill orders, and thus send out ones without a box. This is a rare chance to buy new Tasai Damascus chisels at a discount. Fine+ Sold

P.S. & W. Co. No. 1Framing Chisel

CH161056 P.S. & W. Co. No. 1Framing Chisel A first quality heavy framing chisel, 1 1/2" wide, with its original handle. The mark is very faint on the blade,and always has been. The handle is untouched but an idiot has lightly cleaned the blade with a wire wheel. I stress lightly and no damage has been done, although it would turn off a sophisticated collector. 15" overall. A great user by one of the best American makers. G++ $65

I & H Sorby

CH161012 I & H Sorby A clean 5/16" in-cannel gouge with a crisp London Pattern boxwood handle. The edge has a chip in it and needs to be ground but this is a great gouge that has not been messed with by any misguided antiques dealers. G++ Sold

John Green

CH161019 John Green A very scarce 18th Century woodturner's skew that is only 1/8" wide. Such a narrow skew is very scarce, an 18th Century turning tool is very scarce, and chisels by John Green are scarce, so really this is a rare tool. The handle is a later owner made replacement. The blade is 5 1/4" long to the handle. This tool was for very fine work in the hands of a highly skilled turner. G+ $59

James Cam

CH161025 James Cam A massive 5/8" morticing chisel in great as found condition. The massive handle has an iron hoop and a ferule, something that I have not seen before but it makes sense on such a heavy chisel. The handle looks original. The bevel looks like the original factory grind. The overal size is 14 1/4". Highly recommended. G++ Sold


CH160648 Unmarked A lovely 3/16" heaving paring or light firming chisel with a London pattern boxwood handle. The blade has been cleaned and the ferule buffed but still an excellent chisel. G+ Sold

Moulson Brothers

CH160558 Moulson Brothers A fat 3/8" (13/32) morticing chisel but a very well regarded Sheffield maker. The handle has some dents on the sides as if it was used as a mallet but it is a good old handle that I believe to be original. G+ $45

Wm Brady & Son, Mount Joy, PA

CH160542 Wm Brady & Son, Mount Joy, PA A 3/8" socket firmig chisel. The handle is a modern replacment but quite attractive. The mark is very feint and it is only because I know the mark that I can read it. A nice clean chisel by a scarce American maker. G+ $29


CH160545 Ward A 7/32" morticing chisel. The handle is old but probably not original. The bevel needs regrinding. A good user at a budget price. G+ Sold

Humphreyville Mfg Co

CH160439 Humphreyville Mfg Co A 1" corner chisel with a good original handle. Humphreyville made a lot of plane irons, but I don't see many chisels by them. This tool would be in very nice untouched condition, but an idiot has just barely touched it with a wire wheel. You can just tell around the socket. The rest of it appears unmolested. It is ground properly with the small protrusion at the center, but it is not sharp now and needs honing. A first quality timber framer's tool in nice condition. G+ $69

W. Butcher

CH1603107 W. Butcher This is a matching group of 3 short firming chisels from what was most likely a larger set. This is an unusual form. These chisels were made relatively short,. The sizes present are 3/8", 1 1/4", and 2". The two inch chisels is particularly unusual for its width. The handles are old octaganol handles that were presumably made and installed by the original owner after they were imported as unhandled new chisels into the US. The two larger handles have shrinkage checks caused by the tang keeping the handle from shrinking. These were glued to a display board and there is some glue on the backs, as seen in the photo, but these will clean up beatifully. The backs are polished and rust free, what you see in the photo is the glue, not rust. The wide one is worth the price alone. G+ $79

J & R Dodge

CH160351 J & R Dodge A 1/2" out-cannel bench gouge with a medium shallow sweep, equivelant to about a #5 in carving gouges. The handle is yew wood, and it has that lovely patina that is so distinctive of yew wood. I have seen this maker's mark once before but it is very scarce and I don't know anything about it. I really like this one a lot. G++ Sold

W. Butcher

CH160320 W. Butcher A very scarce, long and delicate paring chisel measuring 5/32". These chisels were all of course hand ground and this was probably sold as a 1/8" size. People didn't measure the width of chisels with a micrometer the way they seem to now. We get new chisels returned because they are not exactly the width specified, but in the days of high-class work and hand-ground chisels, nobody cared. It measures 11 3/4" overall with a nice original octagonal handle. There is some scatterd light pitting on the blade but none that impacts its functionality. A scarce form by a great 19th Century maker. G+ $65

W. Marples, Sheffield

CH160325 W. Marples, Sheffield A harlequin pair of medium sweep gouges, 1/4" and 3/8". These are out-cannel bench gouges, not carving gouges. They have similar boxwood handles, but not exactly the same. The 1/4" is as found and needs a light cleaning. The 3/8" has been cleaned. A great user pair rating a strong G+ $55

Robt Sorby

CH160331 Robt Sorby A good 3/8" morticing chisel with a user made handle that swells in the center to fit a giant's hands. The guy who owned this one had seriously big hands. It looks to be about full original length. G+ Sold


CH160299 Unmarked An as found 3/8" morticing chisel with very light surface oxidation overall. The handle is a nice old handle. This chisel has lost some of its original length due to use, but is still a good user that only needs a light cleaning. The blade measures 6" back to the start of the handle. G+ $25

Robert Sorby, Kangaroo Brand

CH160194 Robert Sorby, Kangaroo Brand This is a matching group of 2 gouges and a paring chisel, that are all also marked by the retailer G.T.L. (Gauranteed Tools Ltd.) The gouges are out-cannel, 5/16" and 3/8", and the paring chisel is a fat 1/4". Clearly once part of a larger set but still a very nice little group of tools. They are as found with a nice light patina on the bare metal and nice handles. The GLT decals vary from very good on one to largely gone on one. GTL was in business in the 20s and folded during the Great Depression. G++ $79

Holland, London

CH160116 Holland, London Holland is of course known as a metal planemaker, but I do occassionaly run across other tools marked Holland that leaves me to believe that he was also operating a small retail tool shop. This gouge in unusual in its lengh. Out-cannel gouges are not often this long. It is 7/16" wide and 14" overall. The sweep is around a 7 or 8. Nice untouched condition. G+ $59

T. J. Gardner, Bristol

CH160135 T. J. Gardner, Bristol A 3/8" morticing chisel with a boxwood handle. There is a slight warp to the handle and it goes off to one side. Nice as found condition. G+ $35

Isaac Greaves

CH1509111 Isaac Greaves A 5/8" paring chisel with a specially made fancy handle. The overall length is 14 1/2". The blade is in lovely condition and the handle is really cool. I think that it is maple and walnut. G++ Sold

C. Hunt

CH150930 C. Hunt This is a hand-forged American corner chisel by a maker that I am not familiar with, and of whom I have found no reference. The tool is in nice condition, with a good original handle, but the hoop is missing and somebody has taped a new replacment on that neither fits well nor looks right. It is an eye sore that should be discarded. The tool itself is very well made and probably early 19th Century. The size is 1". It is as found. In my opinion, this is a special piece. G+ $75

James Swan

CH150643 James Swan An original finger jointed wooden box that, according to the label, once held a half dozen 1/2" Socket Firmer Chisels No. 1010. A nice box for a Swan collector. G+ $38

I. Sorby

CH150533 I. Sorby A very clean half inch out-cannel gouge with a medium sweep. As found except that the brass ferule is polished. G++ Sold

C.E. Jennings

CH150464 C.E. Jennings A 3/4" wide out-cannel socket gouge in nice as found condition. Measures 13" overall. G++ $35

C. Nurse & Co. Invicta Works

CH150485 C. Nurse & Co. Invicta Works A matching pair of out-cannel gouges, both marked with the same owner's mark. Only one of the two gouges have are marked Nurse, the other has no mark, but is clearly from the same maker. Nurse was a retailer, so we don't know who actually made them. Nurse only sold the best. They are 3/8" and 1/2". The ferules are polished but they are otherwise in lovely untouched condition with polished boxwood handles. G++ $50


CH15032 Mottram A massive 5/8" morticing chisel in as found condition except for the bevel and the upper edge of the end, which have been recently ground. No damage was done except for removing the patina. The handle looks original but has some splits on the right side that might be hard to glue back down because the deformation to the end that caused them is keeping the wood from going back down all of the way. An early chisel by an imporant maker, in a scarce size. G+ $85

James Cam

CH150311 James Cam A nice clean 7/16" morticing chisel. There is a bit chip out of the top of the ash handle, but otherwise it is a nice G+ $55

T. Shaw

CH150323 T. Shaw A 7/8" turning skew. The handle is an old but later replacement made from some kind of exotic wood. 18th Century turning chisels are quite scarce and this is a nice example. G+ $75

Hale Bros

CH150289 Hale Bros A 1/2" wide, out-cannel, medium sweep gouge. Pristine original condition. Fine $35

Handforged Corner Chisel

CH140619 Handforged Corner Chisel This is a classic blacksmith made corner chisel. It is not a refined and sophisticated tool, just a very nice example of an American country blacksmith. G+ $59


CH140544 Hewes This is a rare early 19th Century (possibly late 18th) hand-forged Pennsylvania 7/8'" corner chisel. It is in lovely original condition, having been properly waxed by a collector. The maker's mark is struck in two spots and the base of the socket is faceted in a decorative way. It is a bit short, but not worn out. The handle looks to be original and is nice. If you just need a corner chisel to use, please don't buy this one. This is a rare early American piece that belongs in a good collection. It came to us from an important Pennsylvania collection, where it resided for many years. G++ Sold


CH140372 Oversruck This is an unusal shallow gouge that is the size of a slick. There seems to be a mark overstriking the maker's mark. I think that maybe it started life as a slick, and the blacksmith who modified it, struck his mark over the original mark. I think that both marks could still be read, but I don't have time to mess about with it The handle has a great patina, as does the blade, which is 3" wide and in-cannel. It really doesn't look modified, but I can't think of another good explanation. A nice early American tool either way. Measures just over 20 inches overall. G+ Sold

Buck Brothers

CH120436 Buck Brothers This is a remarkable set of 8 Buck Brother's chisel and gouges, all from one owner, and all is amazing untouched condition. They would all be bright except for old dried grease on the surface. There are four long paring chisels, 5/8", 1 1/4", 1 3/4" and 2. These measure 13 1/4 to 15 1/2". The gouges are of similar length, out-cannel, and measure 7/8", 1 1/4", 1 5/8", and 1 7/8". All but one has the early rectangular border mark, one gouge has the later stag head mark, but it is definitely from the same set. The socket handles are all original applewood handles. They are not marked Buck Brothers, which is consistent with there age, these chisels pre-date. that. One handle is missing and one handle has a split, which can be pulled up tight and glued. Besides this split, the handles and the blades are all Fine $465

Drummond Bros

CH120245 Drummond Bros A set of 12 special turning tools. The measure about 11 inches overall. All of the ash handles match. I believe that these are for ivory or other hard materials, not for wood. The bevels are very steep and they function as scrapers rather than cutters. They have some old dried grease on them and could use a bit of cleaning, but they are very crrisp and will clean up to at least G++ $199

Antique Chisel

CH1112210 W. Marples & Sons A lovely as found wheelwright's bruzz. Fifteen inches overall and 1/2" on an edge. Fine- $75

Antique Chisel

CH111246 Button Hole Chisel A really nice all metal button hole chisel that certainly looks 18th Century to me. Great untouched surface and still very sharp. One of the nicest examples that I have see of this scarce type of chisel. (Since I originally listed this chisel, it has come to my attention that these chisels, called button hole chisels by collectors, actually had nothing to do with button holes. I feel certain that they were for breaking wax seals on letters.) 11/16" wide. G++ $259

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