View Full Version : Two Chisels came in the mail

steven c newman
08-13-2014, 2:11 PM
What is so special about that? Why they are the very first actual Mortise Chisels I have ever owned, let alone used. One has no markings at all on it, the other does.
Shorty has a little brass ferrel. Stamped on one side as W BARTON, on the other is a Dot of some sort, an arrow pointing to an *. Both are about 3/16" wide. Might not be too bad a deal, @ $25 counting shipping.....

Have tried them both out,and seem to like the long one better

Using a big wood mallet to drive these with. Better not use a steel hammer on these, right. No hoops on the handles. As for the mallet
the one standing up is the one I turned awhile back, seemed to fit my hands better. Spalted Maple.

Jim Koepke
08-13-2014, 8:11 PM
Sure you can make mortises with a paring chisel, but whacking a chisel made to be whacked is a kind of woodworking catharsis.


steven c newman
08-14-2014, 8:23 AM
Took the short chisel to work last night. There is a lighted magnifier at the bench. Checked out the name....Hmmm ...W. Butcher? On the other side, there is a face inside the "dot". then an arrow pointing towards the tang. Brass ferrel. At the arrow head, there is an *.... Measured how wide this was, with the digital mic....0.155" So, what would that be in fractions? Even under the lens, could not find any markings on the larger chisel. It is also 0.155" wide

Both just needed a strop to get to working. Somehow, I like the longer one, More room to hold, and move it around. Might just be a start?

David Weaver
08-14-2014, 8:46 AM
The handle and ferrule are replacements, but the chisel is a butcher tang chisel, a popular maker from a couple of hundred years ago, up to ???

Bill White
08-14-2014, 11:32 AM
I have collected W. Butcher tools for quite some time. I use them, and have found that the cast steel is vey high quality.
Look up W. Butcher.
Wish I had found the mortiser. I need one.

Eric Schubert
08-14-2014, 3:15 PM
The best part about this, for me, is the name W. Butcher. I've enjoyed straight razors for a little while now, and apparently this W. (William) Butcher was part of the firm Wade and Butcher, which made some of the best-known straight razors out there. They're quite collectible. Very cool!

Joe Tilson
08-14-2014, 3:19 PM
William Butcher passed away in 1870. His family then shut everything down. Good find!

Mel Fulks
08-14-2014, 6:09 PM
The Wade and Butcher razors are related to the chisels,there are several versions as to how. Not disputing Joe's info,maybe company and name were sold. Some reports say they were even making stuff on this side of the pond in Pennsylvania until open furnace competition made it too tough to keep going. Their stuff seems remarkably consistent in
quality for the era of production.

Jim Koepke
08-15-2014, 12:16 PM
Their stuff seems remarkably consistent in quality for the era of production.

With the difficulties encountered in attempts at consistency, I wonder if they graded their steel batches and only used the ones that came up to a set standard. The rest could likely be sold to other users of steel who weren't so picky.

I have seen manufacturing schemes similar to this for modern products.


george wilson
08-15-2014, 12:28 PM
Steel back then was graded by an expert who would break open samples and look at the grain structure. It was entirely subjective, Based on his opinion,not on chemical analysis. There were bound to be variations in every ingot of crucible steel,depending upon how each one was charged with ingredients.

I may be leaving one grade out,but the highest grade(highest carbon content) was razor steel. Below that was knife steel. The lowest grade of hardenable steel was spindle steel. It was the toughest grade,but only about .40 or .50 carbon.

Then,there were several different grades of wrought iron available to even begin the process of steel making. The best wrought iron came from Sweden,where it was smelted with charcoal. The English steel,smelted with coal,was exposed to sulfur,which made it "hot short". It cracked more easily during forging. The Titanic was apparently made with inferior steel,which cracked open too easily at low temperatures.

Butcher may well have checked the steel they purchased,to make sure it was satisfactory for their standards.

I have seen considerable lack of consistency,even in my fairly large collection of old 198th. C. Addis carving tools. Some have been so over hardened,I had to heat them up and draw some of the hardness back so I could get them to take a decent edge. And the ones I refer to were pre WWII ones,not all that old. But,they continued to do many things the old way in England.

But,I am forgetting too many things,and need to go back and re read some of my sources.

Roger Rettenmeier
09-19-2014, 5:09 PM
Here is a Butcher with clear makers mark