View Full Version : The Sheffield and Swiss chisel numbering systems

Phil Warnement
08-22-2008, 6:48 PM
Has anyone seen a chart that shows the Swiss and Sheffield numbering systems for chisels? I saw one that shows one system and what the equivalent chisel is in the other system. Unfortunately, I can not find it on the web. Any help here would be greatly appreciated.

Jamie Cowan
08-22-2008, 10:56 PM
Dick Onians has a book that lays it all out for you. The Woodcraft website has the Pfeil sweep chart, so that gives you the Swiss Made answer. As I recall, the Sheffield system is a little different. #1 is a straight chisel. A #2 is a skew chisel. In the swiss version, a flat skew chisel would be called a #1s, the s for skew. The Sheffielld #3 would look a lot like a Swiss #2, #4 like a #3, etc.

Swiss V tools are #11-17, each # being a different degree angle. Sheffeild system V tools start in the 30s or 40s, can't remember which. I only have a few Sheffield system gouges. Hope that helps. Search this forum, because I know I've seen some better answers around here. But check out the Pfeil site, too. For Sheffield, look at Ashley Iles site, or Henry Taylor's site.

Mike Henderson
08-23-2008, 12:43 AM
Jamie pretty well described it. I don't think there's any real equivalence between the two systems - heck, there's no equivalence between two manufacturers who use the same system.

I picked the Swiss system for my carving tools. When I buy a gouge marked in the Sheffield system, I measure the width in mm, then hold it up to my existing Swiss gouges and figure out what sweep it matches best. Then I mark that gouge with the nearest Swiss measurement. So if the Sheffield gouge measures 18mm across and is closest to a #5 sweep Swiss gouge, I mark it #5/18. I keep my tools in order first by sweep number (#1's before #2's, etc.) and then by width within sweep - so a #2/5 comes before a #2/10.


[Oops, I just noticed you said "chisels" and not gouges. Other than #1's (in the Swiss system) and #1's and #2's (in the Sheffield system) I don't know of any other system for flat chisels.]