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making chisel sockets

timber slick chisel socket spring

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#1 Prokopto


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Posted 13 February 2014 - 09:57 AM

Hello smithy types,


I have a quick question:


I am forging a couple of 3 1/2" wide timber slicks for a pioneering program I help teach at two youth camps in the summer. I have a few pieces of 5160 truck leaf spring that are 5/8" tapering to 1/4" thick. What is the best way to go about forging the sockets. Would it be best to roll the socket and forge weld it (I have gotten to about 90% success rate with fire welding) or would it be best to forge a socket from a piece of pipe and then forge weld it to a tang drawn on the chisel?

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#2 ThomasPowers


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Posted 13 February 2014 - 10:18 AM

In your case I would forge out the socketmaterial and roll it and then have it arc welded by someone who knows what they are doing. (preheat and post heat)  Do this before heat treating the chisel and make sure the socket end is drawn all the way back.


Leafspring can be hard to get to forge weld to itself.

Thomas Psychotic Psychobabblonian Powers

#3 bigfootnampa


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Posted 13 February 2014 - 11:09 AM

I mostly agree with Thomas... BUT... I have numerous timber-work sized chisels and gouges, that I have made, which have unwelded sockets and work flawlessly!  Therefore I would suggest that welding the sockets is more of a blacksmithly ego massage than a practical approach!  The real weakness with all such tools IME is nearly always in the transition between the socket and the blade of the tool!!!!  Here I try to leave as much meat as possible and it helps if you are willing to allow the socket to roll open a bit at the tip rather than having a super neat and precise looking transition!  I would suggest using the thicker end of the springs as the socket material and forging them to about 1/8" thick at the top edges of the sockets.  Create sockets of sufficient length and diameter to accept most of the diameter of the handle material you will use for the tools... the rolled but unwelded sockets will be stronger than the handles will be... even if you use hickory!

#4 IronAlchemy


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Posted 13 February 2014 - 11:36 AM

Excellent advice. I have a collection of old socket chisels and can confirm that historically socket chisels were forged both ways; integral socket and separate socket forge welded on. With 5160, I agree that actually welding the closure on the socket is probably overkill functionally. With old wrought iron chisels, I do see the forge weld of the socket closure separate if the socket has been abused by striking it directly with a hammer without a handle in place. Welding the closure is also something that you could easily come back to do if you find it necessary after some use.


Please post back your progress for us to see. I always like seeing how these things turn out.


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#5 dimenickel



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Posted 13 February 2014 - 12:23 PM

ditch the 5160 ..as it can be problematic to forgeweld

-also a decent way to make a socket is to get some thick wall black iron pipe and forge a taper on the end


- then make the blade of the chisel with a tang, and forgeweld that in...   make sure to grind to bare metal in the socket and the tang

-even more important is to bevel the end of the tang and bevel the end of the socket ...  you don't want a 90deg edge here as it will shear into the metal !


i can make a small diagram if that is too vague..

also, i made a real crappy long video of welding a spear socket  for a friend, and you can kinda make out the tang at the beginning of the vid  (blurry ... )


once you do it this way, it becomes very simple to do

#6 Prokopto


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Posted 13 February 2014 - 12:23 PM

Great advise thanks. I am taking a lunch break. As a pastor I rarely get time to just play all day but since my children are out of school for a snow day I have to work from home today. So I got up early put in a few hours of administrative work and now it's play time for the rest of the day.


So far (doing this all by hand with a 4lb hammer and a 168lb Isaiah Hill anvil) I have the width of the cutting edge drawn and yes I am leaving the 5/8" thick end for the socket. I will also be sure and allow plenty of material for the socket/ bit transition.


I'm also making a little wood marking knife out of a scrap of 1095 while I wait for the thicker spring steel to heat up.


Thanks for all the help.



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#7 DSW


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Posted 13 February 2014 - 06:06 PM

I'm interested in seeing how this turns out. I love timber framing and building a few nice slicks are on my "to do" list when I get a chance to play at the forge. I can't wait to see how yours turn out. I'm taking notes for doing mine.

#8 Chestnut Forge

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 07:04 PM

Since I suck at forge welding. I would make the blades with a long tang, like a file and make the socket more of a bolster to keep the handle from splitting. Think file handle. I have wood chisels with bolsters on both ends of the handle. May not be or look period correct though.

#9 Frosty


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Posted 14 February 2014 - 08:19 PM

Picture an unwelded socket but instead of one non-lapping space, there are two gaps and socket halves with matching rivet/bolt holes. The handle slips between the halves of the socket and you drill it for the bolts/rivets. I figure two through rivets/bolts and it'll be as secure as you'll need.


I know this type of socket has a correct name but it's lost in my scrambled brain filing system. <sigh>


Frosty The Lucky.

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#10 Prokopto


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Posted 16 February 2014 - 07:40 AM

Got the bit forged mostly working on drawing out the material for the socket when I get another chance to burn some Sewell Seam gold.    The material at the socket end is nearly 5/8" thick so it's slow going.
Walking in agreement with lies will only serve to enslave you to the past actions of others.

#11 canada goose

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 01:52 PM

Check out Woodenboat mgazine issue 205 p33 An article there describes making a nice slick with no socket using a truck spring. Worth the 7$ for a back issue.

#12 SJS


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Posted 25 February 2014 - 09:18 PM

One trick I like to use in making sockets is to get my fan drawn out slightly oversized for the diameter of shaft I am shooting for.  Then I shape it up, and allow the socket to overlap just a bit, then take a right angle grinder with a slitting disc and clean up the line. You can also just butt the two edges together and run the grinder through to clean up the edges so they meet nicely.  Then you can either leave the socket open, or weld it up with a welder.  I have also used the angle grinder to bevel the sides of the slit to use it like a pencil sharpener to dress the angle of the shaft I was trying to fit the socket too...  But Bigfootnapa is right the transition is what is really important, and if you have sufficient thickness in your socket and transition it should be more than adequate...  If you want to fireweld the socket use wrought iron from an old wagon tire and steel the edge with a short section of the spring, but do a sandwich weld, not a lap weld. Lap welding wrought and spring makes for a nasty heat treat.  Sandwiching the bit in the edge is easier to get a nice flat bit after the quench.

Shane Stegmeier
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The rest just gets in the way...

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