Picked up an old hand-forged 1-1/2″ framing chisel. Actually, I don’t really know how old it is. There are remnants of a maker’s mark stamped in the steel but I can’t determine too much other than it was a recessed rectangle shape. There is also a crudely scratched “H+X” in the blade but it’s off-center and I suspect it was an identifier for a previous owner rather than something left by the smith. I had to spend about an hour lapping the steel flat just to see what kind of integrity the blade had. There are a couple of hairline cracks here and there but nothing near the bevel edge or around the socket. Someone was probably hammering it without a handle because the socket has plenty of fresh dings but it’s not malformed enough to prevent a new handle from seating properly. Overall, I’m pretty happy with it and I needed a big mortise chisel like this for timber framing so now I can cross it off my list. I might want a 2″ chisel down the road as well but then I’d need to get a 2″ auger bit, too, probably.
I went ahead and fashioned a hickory handle to fit in the socket and put a steel hoop at the butt. I think the hoop will settle down a little more, the butt should mushroom out over it and everything should stay in place securely. I must now get to work on a chunkier wooden mallet to drive this monster chisel. I’ll also have to finish the handle with the pine tar, boiled linseed oil, and turpentine varnish I talked about in a previous post. I have some other things that could use a coat as well but I’m probably going to wait until the weather is warmer to mix it up. Turpentine is not my favorite thing to use indoors.