I wonder if you can help with a query about old woodworking tools. My son has asked me to try to put a date to two all-steel chisels found on an old estate. I have taken the liberty of attaching a photograph. I have searched high and low on the Web, but have been unable to find anything similar.


Incidentally, one of the chisels has a steel stud projecting - and the other has a hole where a stud was once located. I can't think of a purpose for those studs and live in hope that someone might be able to shed light on this.

I forgot to mention that the "handles" are solid and that a slight mushrooming shows that they were struck with a hammer for at least part of their lives. They are hand stamped 1/4 and 3/8. They are beautifully made and slight differences at the handles show that they were made by hand.

I would be more than grateful if you or a colleague can help identify the tools.

 John Weston


#1 M C Hendrikson OAM 2016-09-22 08:44
I believe they are from a hand or even a power slot mortiser.
I have made chisels like this in pairs for a Defiance Hub Mortiser used in making wooden wheel hubs.
My pick would be a hand operated mortising machine.
Please let me know if you get a positive answer different to mine. I am a wheelwright by trade retired in Australia. Good luck with the search. Mike.
#2 AndyT 2016-09-27 11:27
I can confirm that they are from a user-powered mortising machine. Machines imitated hand methods, with the chisel moved along in a series of steps, making a vertical chop down into the wood before moving along. The steel pin gives a definite alignment with the work. Machines had a way of revolving the chisel 180 degrees to change the direction of the work.
This link leads to a description of such a machine with pictures of the chisels.


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