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I Forge Iron

making woodworking chisels


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I enjoy woodworking and make my own chisels. I either forge weld a high carbon steel to mild steel or just start with high carbon steel from say hay rake tines. For the handle, I forge a tenon and upset the shoulders using a monkey tool. This gives a better shoulder on which the end of the handle is supported. I just drill a hole in suitable handle material and pound on to the chisel tang.
The Japanese style chisels have a tenon or split tenon forged on a cone shaped section which gives more shoulder for the handle to rest against. I assume a clapper type die is used to forge the cone shape from the parent stock which is probably a 3/4 or 1' rd stock. Could someone who has made made Japanes style chisels describe their technique or post a few pictures? I also make socketed chisels but electric weld the sockets onto a stub tenon. I have a question on this technique as well if anyone makes these.

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Could you post pix of how you do it now? Something I've had on the back burner for quite a while and never quite gotten around to. Got a couple of "experiments" in the unfinished project drawer. Never really figured out how to make the handle/chisel transition really clean and strong.

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I dont have a camera so it will take a while until I borrow one.

I just forge a tenon on the 3/8 stock. I reheat and put into vise with the tenon and about 1/4 in of stock extending above the jaws. I then beat the monkey tool causing the shoulder to pinch down on the jaws and spreading enough for a good shoulder. Very simple. Not fancy looking but effective. Same with 1/2 in stock. Spread the working end like any other chisel. Really only takes one or two heats after you make the tenon.
I make the tenon in a clapper die under the hammer. You could freehand by using a butcher to form a crease around the stock and carefully forge the tenon. Use the monkey tool to clean up the shoulder and then follow the procedure above for more of a shoulder/bolster.

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I find that interesting. I have not shouldered any of my tools... just made a larger tenon for heavier uses. One advantage that I can see would be if ever rehandling was needed you could use the shoulder to apply the force needed to seat the tenon into the new handle... avoiding possible damage to the chisel surfaces. I can see it being especially convenient in the case of rather delicate small chisels and gouges.

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This is a corner chisel I forge welded from 3 pieces of steel. Socket and body are mild steel cutting edge a piece of 01. I forged the corner with top and bottom tools under the trip hammer.
Somewhere there is a demo where Peter Ross forges a socket chisel where the body and the socket are made from the same piece of steel. The socket was wrapped and welded closed. Very slick beyond my skill level.


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The pics will show different style tools I forged along the last 22 years
The first pic is a set of tools I forged 22 years ago when I only started and payed my tution at the art school with the tools I forged.
The other pics sows diferent aproch with no wood handle some are forged from c45 steel and some from miled steel with the cutting adge forge weld with a high carbon tool steel. som of them starts with upseting to get the mashroom head for hammering and protecting the hand









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I made about 18 bowl turning tools for a group of woodworkers in Louisville. They all had 90* offsets to reach deep into bowls with. Half had the 90* offset with a backwards bend. They had me make them all from O-1 round..They were very happy with them..

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Twhen I started 22 years ago to forge the wood carving tools the first thing I did was a guillotine with speciel dies to form the bolster and the shank.
on pics 001-004 one can see the dies shape and how thy are instoled in the gulliotine body.
pic 005 first step with 4# hand hammer and turn slowly
pic 007-008 finel step
pic009-010 with hand hammer or in this case with the air hammer forging the shank squer+round
011 vew into the gulliotine
012the operation vew
013-015 the same profile and operation with the air hammer















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