No announcement yet.

Putting a new life into old chisels.

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Putting a new life into old chisels.

    Hi Guys
    I had a set of old Millers Falls carving chisels that have been kicking around for 30 years and never got used as they were about as rough as a chisel can get.

    Gave them a good buff up on the rotary wire brush and attempted to sharpen them but the steel was just so soft it was pointless as I couldn't get a decent edge on them.

    Heated them up to cherry red and dumped them in oil. Swirling it around in the oil to prevent gas bubbles forming on the metal surface.

    Cleaned the blue colour off back to shiny steel.

    Then tempered them by heating them up until the tip of the tool was blue then dunked it in oil again to cool it.

    This method we used to use for tempering tool steel and was one of the things I remember from engineering at High school. could only guess the chisels were made from this.

    Gave them a sharpen and it was immediately apparent that the steel was harder. I was able to get an edge on them that I would consider sharp.

    So if you have a few doubtful old chisels floating about this might be worth a try before you bin them or use them as tent pegs..


  • #2
    Excellent recovery.
    I was gifted a lot of junk carving tools. I now suspect they really were mini wood-lathe tools.
    You can carve steatite soapstone with a screwdriver. Alabaster is almost as soft.
    I bought some Brazilian soapstone to fool with and I have a fantastic set of stone carving gouges now.
    Brian T


    • #3
      Never thought of carving stone. Think I will stick to wood there are enough challenges in that to last my lifetime hehehehe.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Glenn Jennings View Post
        Never thought of carving stone. Think I will stick to wood there are enough challenges in that to last my lifetime hehehehe.
        Sometimes I think about going to clay.


        • #5
          Every knife/tool making video I’ve seen says temper to straw colour rather than blue. In fact, people say if a tool gets blue from grinding heat it is ruined.


          • #6
            What I see many knife making sites do now for tempering is putting the tool in a toaster oven at 400 degrees for half hour for one or two times. It seems much easier for progressive hardened tools that are softer at the back than the edge.


            • #7
              Hi Ed
              Only problem with clay is you need a kiln to fire it. Know a guy in Australia who does a lot of clay modelling. Mostly animals and snakes. He had a pile of stuff that had gone bad in the firing and he was one careful guy. The smalles air pocket trapped in the clay makes stuff crack in the kiln. We got him to make a couple of pieces for us.

              Hi Steev
              Thanks for that will see how They go. if they don't hold an edge for long I can always re-temper them. I used to temper silver steel to a straw colour when I made punches to be fitted to Die beds used to punch out panels for fridge units.

              Hi Buckbeans
              I would never have thought of that in a million years. hehe


              • #8
                It works very well and I have saved many tools that have come from the factory poorly hardened and tempered or with second hand tools that have been ground down to softer metal from years of use. This has really increased my armamentarium of great tools to experiment from. In addition to your great post, I suggest using a MAPP torch rather than a regular propane torch. It is a lot easier to attain the cherry red color. Also looking at the DIY knife making sites, they almost all use the toaster oven for tempering. I went to garage sales last weekend and saw many go on sale for 5 dollars each as people are now getting the air fryer/ toaster oven combinations for their kitchen.
                Last edited by buckbeans; 11-22-2021, 11:26 AM.