$1.00 chisels? Donít stop with just a few, Chad. Actually
between buying, rehabbing and selling off the excess or on
commission, I averaged slightly less than $4.00 a chisel for
When eBay came along I decided oldies were so cheap I no longer
had to compromise on tools. And later at morning coffee several
of the local shipyard friends who didnít use computers saw a few
and wanted to fill out their pre-war tool sets, too. So I guess
Iíve brought a few hundred back to life in the evenings. Pre-war
cutting tools were drop-forged instead of investment-cast like
today, and many prefer their edges.
I finished out my sets years ago so I donít have any to sell. But Iíll pass on what I learned.
As long as the chisel is old, factory-made, and intact with good
length remaining, Iím not too concerned about condition short of
severe pitting. For me, blade backs are easily ground on the
belt sander to flatten and remove pits, sockets can be repaired,
steel can be polished and blued to hide the staining, and
handles are easily made on the lathe.
Anything marked "Stanley", "Witherby", "Winchester", "Chas Buck"
or "L&IJ White" is generally going to a collector for too high a
price unless they are part of large, handle-less lots, along
with some Swan's.
Older (not newer) Greenlee and Buck Bros, New
Haven Edge Tool, Ohio Tool, DR Barton, Underhill, Union
Hardware, Jennings, GI Mix, Shapleigh Hardware, Eric Anton Berg,
Dickerson, Gillespie, Dixon, PS&W or PEXTO, Robt Duke, Fulton,
Merrill, Butcher, Stiletto, Hibbard OVB, Simmons Keen Kutter,
Lakeside and several other old makers and hardware store brands
are every bit as good as the collector prizes and are much less
Most unmarked chisels of that era were usually made
by one of the above makers for a hardware distributor and are
also generally excellent.
The only really poor socket chisels I've observed are newer
Craftsman (older socket Craftsman were often made by Greenlee)
of chrome-vanadium steel, some "Eclipse" brand and the
occasional Stanley Defiance that refuse to take an excellent
edge. Also, used tool dealers rarely know their wares well, and
you have to look at each and every listing in detail to find
what you need.
Paring Slicks and Gouges: