Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Marple Chisels Old vs. New

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    1,852

    Marple Chisels Old vs. New

    As usual I awoke early, too early to bang around in the shop. What will usually occupy my early morning time is just putzing around cleaning the shop or sharpening iron. This morning what caught my eye was a set of post WWII Marples London pattern firmer chisels. I picked them up several months ago on a whim, not a clue why because I will usually pass on post war chisels. Let's cut to the chase.

    As I was looking them over I was surprised by the weight and feel of the chisels. They felt heavy and unbalanced. I just happen to have a pre-WWII London pattern firmer to do a A&B comparison. The pre-war chisel weighed in at 92g, the post-war 102g. Handle size was also different. Pre-war handle measured just under 25mm, post-war just over 26mm. Anyway small differences but with a big difference in "feel".

    A photo of the two:

    marpleChiselsOldVsNew.jpg

    Pre-War on top. Some of the weight and length difference could be because of the number of sharpening but the post-War handle is much bigger.

    I haven't used the post-war chisels yet so no clue as to the quality of the iron. Anyway something to amuse and keep from waking MsBubba too early.

    ken

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sioux City, IA
    Posts
    762
    Blog Entries
    3
    I have nothing that old - but my blue handle most often used chisels are marked Sheffiled. Not sure that makes them any different than the Irwin, but my wife bought them for me when I got into woodworking about 20 years ago.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    1,852
    Quote Originally Posted by Don Dorn View Post
    I have nothing that old - but my blue handle most often used chisels are marked Sheffiled. Not sure that makes them any different than the Irwin, but my wife bought them for me when I got into woodworking about 20 years ago.
    Don,

    I've never used the blue handled Marples, my chisel jones has been for the boxwood carver handled or the Ash London pattern ones. I would expect the steel of your 20 year old chisels is as good as any, I know a lot of woodworkers swear by them.

    ken

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    1,179
    Ken, it would be interesting to find out why the change occurred. Was it re-adapting machinery used during the war years? Was it just someone saying that people are larger, with bigger hands? Was it a labor problem because so many were lost? Or was it just someone deciding that the previous model was too "old school" and needed modernization. It's kinda like a '47 Hudson looks similar to a tank or a DC 6 looks a lot like a B 17. Maybe a handle for a machine gun adapted to a chisel?
    Jim

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    1,852
    Quote Originally Posted by James Pallas View Post
    Ken, it would be interesting to find out why the change occurred. Was it re-adapting machinery used during the war years? Was it just someone saying that people are larger, with bigger hands? Was it a labor problem because so many were lost? Or was it just someone deciding that the previous model was too "old school" and needed modernization. It's kinda like a '47 Hudson looks similar to a tank or a DC 6 looks a lot like a B 17. Maybe a handle for a machine gun adapted to a chisel?
    Jim
    Jim,

    The difference surprised me and like you it would be interesting to know "why the change". The little pre-war chisel is one of my favorites, it has perfect balance, is light in hand and just a joy to use. The later chisels no so much. IIRC the reason I bought the later chisels was because good early London pattern chisels are getting hard to find and this was a four chisel set that looked in reasonable shape. I figured even if the steel isn't up to the quality of pre-war chisels I could live with it because of total balance of the chisels. That may still be the case but there is a difference in feel.

    ken

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Helensburgh, Australia
    Posts
    2,019
    Donning tin foil hat and advancing a theory of why. During the war a lot of unskilled labour was used to build stuff out of wood including boats and aircraft so it could be conceivable that they increased the heft of the chisels to limit breakages and never reverted to the old style after the war.
    Chris

    Everything I like is either illegal, immoral or fattening

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    1,852
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Parks View Post
    Donning tin foil hat and advancing a theory of why. During the war a lot of unskilled labour was used to build stuff out of wood including boats and aircraft so it could be conceivable that they increased the heft of the chisels to limit breakages and never reverted to the old style after the war.
    Chris,

    As good a guess as any . Another, we went through a period of bigger is better and maybe marketing got ahold of 'em. I'll bet the users had no input.

    ken

  8. #8
    Also - pre-war most chisels were available in almost a dozen handle profiles as well as unhandled versions "standard". After the war - demand was very high due to the effort rebuilding Europe, Asia, and Africa... They seem to have cut down on available options...

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •