As The Wood Turns

My entire life i’ve lived a couple doors down to what I now know was a great craftsman.  Mr. Nichols. He lived right beside my best friend growing up and I always saw him out working on his house even into his later years. Just recently he moved into a retirement home as he has entered his 90’s and was having a hard time taking care of the house. Just recently from him, I received a beautiful set of Buck Brother paring chisels which are at least 50 or so years old. The age is irrelevant because of how well this man took care of his tools. The handles are wood (possibly ash) and they have received a bit of wear and tear over the years. Even as paring chisels they obviously saw a great deal of abuse from a mallet.

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I just loved the fact that not only are they a great set but I can clean these up and use them for probably the rest of my life. Based on the quality of these, I don’t think i’ll ever need to buy another set and the best part of it is the fact that I can carry these on from someone I knew very well.

Since I just recently got the lathe, I figured it was a good time to clean them up and turn some new handles. That and I really need the practice on the lathe. I took one of the handles from the set that I liked the feel of and setup a gauge to lay it out. I tried to keep it as true to the original handle as possible and this was the result.

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They are made from white oak as I had lots of it laying around my shop for the past year or so. I roughed out the shape and all of them match fairly well except the top of the chisel. This is where I attempted to use the skew chisel and needless to say I was catching edges all over the place and having to continuously  trim it down even more. But I got them all rough turned in a day or so for the smaller range of chisels which totalled 7 handles. All of them except 1 requires drilling a hole for the tang but I also need to make 1 more with a socket instead of the hole so this one isn’t finished yet.

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I think the easy part is done of these and the profile has been setup. The next task is trimming down the portion where the ferrule goes and getting the ferrule attached. Then we drill a hole, cut the end, sand, coat and start making some shavings. After a generous blade sharpening and cleanup of course. Might be a lot of work but I think for the experience and not too mention the history I think it’s well worth the work.

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