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Thread: Lee valley chisel question

  1. #1
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    Lee valley chisel question

    Hi folks. Making a simple walnut (first time working with walnut, excited) chisel rack, and was using one of my 1/2 inch chisels, it's the "bevel edged bench chisel by lee valley with that transparent green/yellow handle, with black collar that's made in Japan. here's the link.

    https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop...l-edge-chisels

    My issue is that I really, REALLY don't care for the handle. I can't see a tang in it, and i'm only guessing that it has a socket. does anyone know if I can cut the handle off, remove it etc and be able to re handle these? or if they're just set in this weird composite handle that I shouldn't play with?

    PS: For affordable chisels, the steel in these LV chisels kick my narex's all over the place. little heavier feeling, but for literally less than 5$ difference, LV over Narex. takes and holds a better edge 2:1

    Thanks folks!

  2. Lee Valley customer service can probably answer this question for you if you email them. They have a really good reputation for that.

  3. #3
    Google “replacing chisel handle popular woodworking.” You should find an article from Popular Woodworking where the author shows the removal of those Lee Valley chisel handles.

  4. #4
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    twomiles from the "peak of Ohio
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    Get a couple of these....and experiment with their handles...
    chisel rack.JPG

  5. #5
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    Those are my everyday chisels as well. I am slowly buying LV PMV11 as replacements. But they are solid performers.

    Why would you be focused more on the handle over the edge?

  6. #6
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  7. #7
    This is on my to-do list, as I also like the steel and am not wild about the handles. If you do replace them, I'd be interested in hearing how it went.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowell holmes View Post
    I LOVE my set of these, but I don't think that they offer them anymore. Am I wrong and I just did not see them offered anymore?

  9. #9
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    I suggest you contact Rob Lee at Lee Valley. If anyone knows how you can get a set, he does and I'm sure he will.

    https://www.theunpluggedwoodshop.com...l-chisels.html

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gregory Mosher View Post
    Hi folks. Making a simple walnut (first time working with walnut, excited) chisel rack, and was using one of my 1/2 inch chisels, it's the "bevel edged bench chisel by lee valley with that transparent green/yellow handle, with black collar that's made in Japan. here's the link.

    https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop...l-edge-chisels

    My issue is that I really, REALLY don't care for the handle. I can't see a tang in it, and i'm only guessing that it has a socket. does anyone know if I can cut the handle off, remove it etc and be able to re handle these? or if they're just set in this weird composite handle that I shouldn't play with?

    PS: For affordable chisels, the steel in these LV chisels kick my narex's all over the place. little heavier feeling, but for literally less than 5$ difference, LV over Narex. takes and holds a better edge 2:1

    Thanks folks!
    Hi Gregory

    I'm 99% certain that there is a short tang inside the handle, located in the black section. It stands to reason because, firstly, a tang is easier and cheaper to mass produce than a socket. Secondly, this is how similar chisels, such as Irwin/Records/Stanley were/are made.

    Here is a Stanley I re-handled. It originally had a black plastic handle ...



    The discolouring is from re-heat treating it ...



    Note, I also reground the sides of this chisel to have minimal lands for dovetail work.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  11. #11
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    I have also re-handled several old chisels that started life with over-molded plastic handles. I generally hack-sawed off the handle, parallel to and close to the tang (not a tapered tang, but a cylindrical tang like the one Derek pictured). After the two big chunks are removed, you can pry off the rest of the plastic, or drive it off with a cold-chisel and some swearing.

    My favorite chisel for dovetailing is an old K-Mart branded 1/2-inch chisel that I bought 40 years ago for my first carpentry job and later I re-handled it much like Derek's, except that I used some hickory from a broken hammer handle, not the fancy Australian flint-hard downunderwood. ;-)

    To answer the question that Dave Zellers asked, "Why would you be focused more on the handle over the edge?" The edge I can sharpen, but I just don't like the feel of plastic handles on chisels. When I take the time to make a new handle, the tool becomes mine. It fits my hand, there's something of me invested into it. I get this little spark of satisfied joy every time I reach for it. I think, "I had a hand in making that and it's really nice!" instead of thinking, "Ugh, I really don't like the handle." It is subjective for sure, but that tiny amount of satisfaction multiplied over decades of regular use adds up to some significant happiness.

    DC

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Carroll View Post
    To answer the question that Dave Zellers asked, "Why would you be focused more on the handle over the edge?" The edge I can sharpen, but I just don't like the feel of plastic handles on chisels. When I take the time to make a new handle, the tool becomes mine. It fits my hand, there's something of me invested into it. I get this little spark of satisfied joy every time I reach for it. I think, "I had a hand in making that and it's really nice!" instead of thinking, "Ugh, I really don't like the handle." It is subjective for sure, but that tiny amount of satisfaction multiplied over decades of regular use adds up to some significant happiness.
    And I can certainly understand that. Right after I posted that I realized it was dumb and the obvious answer was yours.
    I don't have the means (no lathe) to replace a handle so I tend to just accept what is there. And it is fine for me but making your own handles would totally be cool.

  13. #13
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    Dave, you do not need a lathe for handles. Tapered octagonal handles are easy to hand plane, nice to look at, and importantly comfortable to use.

    Here is a vintage set ..



    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Cohen View Post
    Dave, you do not need a lathe for handles. Tapered octagonal handles are easy to hand plane, nice to look at, and importantly comfortable to use.
    Yes, I should explore that. Even shaping by hand.

  15. #15
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    Oh, the high cost of Neanderthalism in the 21st Century.

    If I was looking for a new hobby today it wouldn't be, couldn't be, woodworking ;-}

    $429 for 5 wood handled chisels? Yikes! I paid less than $40 for my 4 pc. set of Freud beveled in 1987 or so.

    IMG_4864.jpg
    IMG_4863.jpg

    They take an edge, hold an edge, pare and tap without fault. The set is missing a 3/8" so a few years later I bought a Nooitgedagt Butt Chisel to fill in. Only cavil is the sides are a bit thick. The Freud are marked Cr-Va, the Nooitgedagt are unmarked; neither seem to care what steel they're made from. A 3/8" Sorby London Mortice of the same vintage rounds out my "collection".

    I'm the guy that didn't want to buy a vise that didn't have a wooden handle so perish the thought of paying up for plastic these days.

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