Can you handle it?

Posted on September 10, 2010


Well, as it turns out yes I can.

Claire’s father, Les, was a joiner by trade and no doubt had the usual set of joiners tools. The useful looking bits of his tool collection had drifted away over the years, so when we came to clear the garage prior to the house going on the market it was a fairly motley assortment of oddments left. In the bottom of one drawer were 4 chisels without handles, which to most people would not leap out as a useful thing, but being a bit strange I thought I would rescue them.

I transferred the chisels to the bottom of one of my own drawers where they lay for a further few years. Progress? well not really, but Les thought they were worth keeping and I shared that view. It’s a fact (not nostalgia) that the steel made in the past was generally of better quality than todays materials so there is real benefit as well as sentiment in making these old tools useable.

Over time I made new handles for all 4 chisels; first the socket chisel, then the 2 gouges and finally the wide chisel that I gave a paring style handle to. The gouges were done to enable the scalloped base to be formed on this jewellery stand – although they are both old and slightly wonky they did a great job.

I never had the pleasure of meeting Les, although I’ve seen enough of his work to know he was a skilled craftsman who would have valued his tools as an essential part of his trade. I’m not sure if Les would have had too much time for Cocobolo chisel handles, but hopefully he would have approved of me keeping the tools alive.


Posted in: Ed, Furniture