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Explanation of Our Condition Grading System

Frequently Asked Vintage Tool Questions

W. Marples & Sons

CH150388 W. Marples & Sons A pristine boxwood handled 9/16" long paring chisel. This is as good a condition as it gets, as close to mint as an old tool will come. The boxwood is still light in color and the original French polish is bright like new. The blade is bright and clean. The tool has only been honed. It measures 13 3/4" long overall. For the true connoisseur. Fine Sold

Tho Ibbottson

CH150391 Tho Ibbottson A 1/8" traditional morticing chisel that has been properly cleaned by a responsible collector and has a lovely patina and a nice original handle. There is one small old chip out of the top of the handle, but overall this is a great handle. G+ $35


CH150393 Unmarked A 2" (really 1 15/16") firming chisel in nice untouched condtion with its original leather blade guard that has kept it razor sharp to this day. This chisel intriques me becaue is is so carefully made. The chamfering of the bolster is much more perfect than is usual. It is so well made that it is odd that it is not signed. I don't know if it is American or now, but the handle is certainly American and original to the chisel. The handle is a lovely patinated oak that just speaks to me. There is some gummy residue on the handle from a sticker than an idiot antiques dealer put on it. I find that wax usually takes this right off because the solvent in the wax acts as a cleaer. I particularly like this chisel. It needs some light cleaning, primarily on the blade where it was not covered by the blade guard. Should clean to at least G++ $45

W. Butcher

CH150331 W. Butcher A very scarce set of 4 turning tools by the legendary edge tool maker, Butcher. From his small factory in Sheffield, William Butcher once dominated the U.S. market for edge tools. This set was found in New England. There are two skews, 1/2" and 1", and two gouges, 1/2" and 3/4". The way that the gouges are ground is representative of how antique turning gouges that I see are always ground, with the ears ground way back, or what is called "fingernail" today. They are much easier to use this way. There is some light powder surface rust, that should easily clean off, and is not near the cutting edges. One tool is missing its handle. If you have a treadle lathe and want a genuine set of antique turning tools to use with it, this is the chance. I don't know why, but I rarely see 19th Century turning tool sets of any size. G+ $119

James Swan/ CE Jennings

CH150338 James Swan/ CE Jennings A 1/4" long socket firming chisel by C.E. Jennings and a similar 3/8" chisel by James Swan. Great users at less than $30 each. G+ $59

W. Butcher

CH150357 W. Butcher A pair of true new old stock Butcher tools, a 2" firmer chisel and a 1 3/16" gouge. Neither of these tools have ever been sharpened and have the original factory grind, which is to a blunt edge. 19th Century makers sold chisels with blunt edges, knowing that the buyers were skilled craftspeople who would sharpent them. These chisels have never been handled, which is now they were sold. That is why we see so many English made chisels with American made handles. There are two user made applewood handles with these two tools, but they were never fittted. They were all found together and belong together, but clearly the owner never got around to fitting the handles onto the tools. These tools are bright and clean like new, except for some scattered rust spots. As close to a time machine as you will get. Fine- $ Sold

S.J. Addis

CH150291 S.J. Addis A nice clean #11 carving gouge in 1/8". A very useful tool but not easy to find. Perhaps that's why. This one is as found, but still quite clean. The handle, which I would say is the original boxwood handle, is not perfectly aligned with the tool (between 1 and 2 degrees off). I have found with our Ashley Iles customers that people obsess about this. I don't think that the old timers cared that much. You sight down the tool, not the handle, when you are using it. These tight radius gouges are one of the tools that really show off how good the grinding is on the best old carving tools. The other one that springs to mind is V parting tools. G++ $45

Ward, W&P

CH1502101 Ward, W&P A matching pair of as found morticing chisels that need a light cleaning with wax and synthetic steel wool. They both have light pitting overall, but with minor attention they will make great users. The 3/8" chisel has never been honed and clearly is unused. The 9/16 has been honed, but still has the original factory grind. These are best quality traditional morticing chisels. G+ $79


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

Potts & Co, Cast Steel

CH150315 Potts & Co, Cast Steel This a 45 degree swept parting tool in nice as found condition. I have never seen this maker's mark before and have not had time to research it, but I am curious. G+ $45

Wm Marples & Sons

CH150319 Wm Marples & Sons A matched set of 5 spindle turning tools in a roll. The tools are on the smaller size, more for furniture sized turning work. They have the Marples decal on the handle and are mid-20th Century. A great working set. G+ Sold

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

Wm. Marples & Sons

CH150326 Wm. Marples & Sons A untouched 1 1/4" wide pattern maker's paring chisel with a London Pattern boxwood handle. Needs a light cleaning with wax and a white synthetic pad. The blade has old dried grease on it. Measures just a bit over 16" overall. Finding these chisels in this untouched condition has become very unusual. G+ $95

Ward, W&P

CH150246 Ward, W&P A good 3/16" traditional morticing chisel with a dark patina but a nice smooth blade that is not rusty and will make a great user. The handle is a good old handle that is probably original. It looks to be full original length, or near enough. G+ Sold

S. J. Addis, London

CH150257 S. J. Addis, London Also marked by the dealer, Worship, Finsbury, this is a 1/2" spoon gouge with about an 8 sweep. It has a nice rosewood handle. The ferule has been polished but there are no other issues on this first quality London made carving chisel. G+ Sold

Dovetailing Set

CH150265 Dovetailing Set This is a set that I put together of three quality boxwood handled beveled paring chisels for dovetailing. Two are marked Marples and one is marked Nurse, but Nurse was a retailer and it was probably made by Marples as well. The sizes are 1/4", 1/2" and 5/8". A perfect group of chisels for dovetailing. G+ Sold

S. J. Addiss, London

CH150277 S. J. Addis, London A 1/4" wide #41 V parting tool. The edge needs some light grinding. An untouched chisel with a nice original handle by a maker that set a standard that is not even approached today. G+ Sold

Hale Bros Ltd

CH150285 Hale Bros Ltd A 1" long thin beveled paring chisel. The overall length is about 13 3/4". The boxwood handle still has traces of the original Hale Brothers label. A nice clean user chisel. The blade rates about Fine-, but the handle is a bit lower so I gave it an overall rating of G+ Sold

Hale Bros

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

Robt Sorby

CH150211 Robt Sorby A 3/16" tranditonal morticing chisel with nice patina and a nice original handle. There is some very light pitting at the very tip that might need to be polished out. It might be fine as it is, but you'll have to try it. Still a very nice chisel and if the pitting does cause any trouble it is so near the tip that it can easily be dealt with if necessary. G+ Sold

Set of Firming Chisels

CH150219 Set of Firming Chisels This is a matching set of 3 firming chisels, 1/2", 3/4", and 1 1/2". These were bought by the British government, and are marked with a contract number. Two of them have the contract number struck over the maker's mark. Those two are dated 1962, and the third is dated 1963. They are an original set, or at least what is left of it. The lengths 9 1/2", 9 3/4", and 12 1/2" respectively. The finish on the handles is deteriorated and makes them look scruffy. They are actually a pretty nice set and priced really cheap for what must be amont the last of the hand-made Sheffield chisels. G+ $79

Wm. Marples & Sons

CH150229 Wm. Marples & Sons This is an in-cannel gouge, just shy of 1/2". The sweep is appropriate for sash coping. We get frequent calls from people wanting to know if they can use our new gouges for this. I tell them no, but they invariably don't like that answer. I don't know of any new gouges that are appropriate for sash coping. This gouge has a lovely boxwood London pattern handle. The ferule been polished which is why I rated a bit lower. A nice gouge. G+ Sold

Hearnshaw Bros

CH150232 Hearnshaw Bros A superb quality chisel that looks about unused. It measures just shy of 3/16" (remember these were hand ground). I would call this a firming chisel. The narrow sizes like this were made thicker to compensate for being so narrow. They were oten used for cutting the mortices in sash bars. This one looks like it was stored in a clean chest and never touched. Connoisseur grade. Fine+ $45

Wm Marples & Sons

CH150235 Wm Marples & Sons A long socket morticing chisel measuring about 7/32", or a fat 3/16", depending on how you like to call it. About 12 1/2" overall. The steel hoop is loose because of how dry it is here now. That is normal. This is an unusual form for Marples. A very nice chisel. G++ $45

Moulson Brothers

CH150124 Moulson Brothers A 5/16" traditonal morticing chisel. The blade has been "cleaned" with a wire wheel. The handle is quite nice. Measures 12 1/4" overall. A good user. G+ Sold

I. Sorby & Wm Marples & Sons

CH150155 I. Sorby & Wm Marples & Sons A composed pair of in-cannel pattern maker's gouges, both with London Pattern boxwood handles. The Marples gouge is 1 1/8" wide with a shallow sweep, about a #5 sweep. It is about 14 1/2" long overall. The I. Sorby is 1 1/2" wide with about a #4 sweep, and is 15 1/2" long overall. G+ Sold

Ward, W&P

CH141263 Ward, W&P A lovely swan necked morticing chisel with a more pronounced sweeping curve than most. Measures a fat 3/8". It has been nicely waxed by a collector and has a pleasing medium patina. The stubby socket handle is commonly seen with this form and looks original. G+ $75

J. B. Addis & Son, Sheffield

CH141273 J. B. Addis & Son, Sheffield A group of 4 small Addis carving tools that I bought together, but which all have slightly different handles and may or may not have had the same original owner. They are all nice as found Addis tools. 1: A 1/8" #39 60 degree V parting tool. 2: A 1/16" straight gouge, not marked but likely a #10. 3: A 1/4" straight gouge, not marked but likely a #10. 4: A tiny 1/32" straight gouge, not marked but likely a #10. This last tool has been completely misground and needs to have the edge complete reground and sharpened. This is less than $25 each. The V alone is worth $50 alone. G+ Sold

Hunber & Brigham, Clyde, O.

CH141227 Hunber & Brigham, Clyde, O. A timber framer's 7/8" corner chisel in nice as found condition with an Ohio blacksmith's mark that I have never seen before and is not in the EAIA Directory of American Toolmakers. This chisel has light surface rust over much of the other surface, although not near the cutting edge, which is still sharp and will ground. I hope that a collector of early Ohio hand forged tools will buy this as it just seems to rare to use. It has a nice original handle. I would clean it off with wax and a synthetic steel wool pad, and it should rate better than G+ $89

I. Sorby

CH141049 I. Sorby A 1 1/8" wide heavy firming chisel, 14 1/2" overall and with a nice boxwood handle. The ferule is polished and the rest of the chisel is cleaned more sensitively. A great quality user. G+ $49


CH140918 Slick A lovely 3 1/2" slick with a pariticularly nice original turned maple handle, retaining its original finish with great color. It is marked, but I don't recognize the mark. The mark is an anvil, with A.T. inside the anvil, and Trade Mark outside the anvil. This is a high quality American slick, presumably 19th Century but possibly early 20th. Measures 29" overall. G++ $165

Ohio Tool Co

CH140858 Ohio Tool Co This is the first set of Ohio Tool Co. chisels that I have had, comprised of 9 long Carpenter's beveled firming chisels. The sizes are 1/8", 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 5/8", 3/4", 1", 1 1/4", & 1 1/2". The blades look like they were cleaned off with fine steel wool at some point and the handles have been lacquered. Not all of the handles have leather bolsters. From a distance, the handles look matching, but they probably are not. The chisels are certainly all from an original matched set. The lengths range from 13 1/4" to 15 1/2". This would be a great set for a user or a collector. G+ $389

Charles Buck

CH140834 Charles Buck A superb set of 7 matching cabinetmaker's gouges, and one similar in-cannel gouge. All 8 gouges have beautifully patined cherry handles. The sizes are 1/8", 1/4", 1/2", 7/8", 1", 1 1/2" and 1 3/4". The in-cannel gouge is 3/16". One of the best sets of this type that I have had. G++ Sold

Buck Brothers Buck Brothers

CH140624 Buck Brothers This is a matching original set of 9 beveled socket chisels. They are just a bit longer than butt chisels and are an ideal lengh for cabinetmakers. One handle has a bit darker wood and may have been switched, but it is the proper handle in every way. The handles are all marked Buck Brothers and have leather caps. The sizes are 1/8", 3/8", 1/2", 3/4", 1", 1 1/4", 1 1/2", 1 3/4", & 2". In addittion, I have 1/4" and a 7/8" chisels that are of the correct type, but are not from this set. If you want these two to fill out the set, for an extra $60 you can buy them with the set. This set ranges from 8 1/2" to 9 1/4" in overall length. They have some light surface staining and a few have some very light pitting in patches, but nothing to worry about. This is a fabulous set of Buck Brothers chisels from their golden age. G++ to Fine- Sold

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++ $159


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+ $89

T. Turner, Sheffield

CH140316 T. Turner, Sheffield A scarce sash coping chisel, with the original handle, also marked T. Turner, and 9/16". There is a shrinkage check on each side of the handle where the bolster goes in. It is stable and I would do anything about it. Possibly lightly cleaned, but essentially as ffound with a dark patina on the wood amd a medium patina on the metal. G+ $95

Two Horn Handled Carvers

CH120692 Two Horn Handled Carvers These two carving chisels were found together, and both have horn handles similar to the handles on horn handled cutlter. First is a #46 swept parting tool, 11/16" by S.J. Addis, London. Second is a swept straight chisel, 9/16" wide. This one is marked with an early Herring mark that I don't recognize, I. Herring & Son. The sweep may have been added at a later date. I only say this because I have not seen a similar example. Both of these are nice examples that have been properly cleaned by a consciencious collector. G++ $145

Wm Brady & Son, Mt Joy, PA

CH120512 Wm Brady & Son, Mt Joy, PA An eight inch socket morticing chisel, this is a rare form for Brady, who was more known for axes and big slicks. Nicely cleaned by a collector. There is some light surface pitting, but nothing serious. The handle is marked Buck Brothers, so obviously it is not the original handle. A nice example of a rare American blacksmith made chisel. G+ $65

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

Antique Chisel

CH110734 Ibbottson & Co A 3/8" spoon gouge from a genuine 19th Century English carver's kit. Well worn, but still very sharp and ready to use. This tool is probably mid-19th Century, which is early for a carving chisel. G+ $36

Woodcock, Sheffield

CH150147 Woodcock, Sheffield A 1/4" traditional morticing chisel that is little used with a nice original handle. Rust on a chisel may not matter, depending on where it is. A chisel may be an ugly old thing with lots of rust and if the criticial spots near the end are OK then it will be fine. This chisel has a bit of medium pitting, just where you don't want it. On the left side right at the end where it matters. It is restorable, but it is not TBT grade. Free to the first person who orders it along with two other items from this page that are not free. Good $0

Antique Chisel

CH110644 I Sorby, Punch Brand A 1/8" paring or fine morticing chisel. The punch logo is stencilled onto the polished boxwood handle. The handle is not on the chisel straight. It may have been pulled off and stuck back on at the wrong orientation. I don't know, but the chisel is not bent. Nice uncleaned condition. G++ $29

Antique Chisel Antique Chisel

CH110294 John Brown's Patent, Sheffield I have had this chisel for over 10 years trying to find out something about it, and I have utterly failed. I have never seen another similar example, nor have any of the other experienced dealers and collectors whom I have shared it with. It is a 7/8" firming chisel with a most unusual bolster design. Measures 16 inches overall with a London pattern boxwood handle. G+ $385

Antique Chisel

CH100158 Buck Brothers This is a very unusual tool, the purpose of which I don't know. I have never seen another like it. It has a socket type handle, but the the socket is keyed so that the handle can be used to twist. The blade is 3/8" wide. It has been speculated that it is a screw driver, but I don't buy that. The handle, which looks original, has leather washers at the top. Measures 12 inches overall. The metal appears to have been lightly wire brushed. A nice tool, whatever it is for. G+ $39

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