Winsted/Witherby Chisels - Size Curiosity
by Charlie Driggs
Despite our pronouncement of last week, this week
(post Ernesto's rains) proved that all things go in cycles once again. A
light seller's market this morning with many empty tables/spots, but roughly 1
table in four offered tools of various types.
Notably, two regular tool sellers were absent.
Now, much of what was offered fell into the 'beat up p*w*r tool' or the 'POS
when it was new' categories, but there were quite a few rusty and moderately
interesting items to pick through. Galoot Steve Kumpf had a booth, where
he offered a few dozen woodies and a dozen or so metal bench and block planes,
along with chisels, the wood items he offered on list a week or two ago, and
what looked to be SWMBO's excess/unwanted yarn supplies, and he was getting
quite a bit of action. I did return home with a few items, including
several nearly-new Winsted / Witherby butt chisels needing handles (courtesy of
Steve), breaking the drought. A sunny, dry, and delightfully temperate
morning after yesterday's soaking.
This isn't a huge problem, just a curiosity.
I'm just wondering... Has anyone else noticed this with their late production
Some may have read my yesterday's posting about
fleas and some chisels that came home with me. Spent a couple hours this morning
getting them ready for use.
They were virtually NOS, sans handles, and a good
buy price-wise. But I've noticed that the sizes didn't seem quite right... maybe
Winsted had a little QC problem, or maybe at least one was meant to be marketed
as a metric size.
The smallest one is just a tad under 7mm at 0.27
inches, but the other two measure 27+/64" (~10.8mm) and 13/32 (10.3mm), which
doesn't match up well with a common 3/8" or more unusual 7/16" nominal size.
When I bought them, I actually thought they were
three "different" sizes, so the difference between the two larger ones is
noticeable, but I don't believe they were intended to be graduated in 64ths.
I checked another NOS late production Witherby / Winsted paring chisel I picked
up a couple of years ago, and that one also measured a bit wide at 24½/64ths or
9.7mm vs. a presumably nominal 3/8" size. In comparison, nearly all other older
chisels I have (and a couple of very new) are nearly spot on nominal size unless
their edges show signs of being ground, and a few of those old ones are
The steel is good, and for butt chisels I wouldn't
think size is often critical. They'll be useful even if the sizes are a bit odd.
Handles are mahogany, turned from some cutoffs this morning.
As I said above, just a curiosity .... Anyone?
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