Timber Framers Guild

Chisel Brands

Posted By: Francis

Chisel Brands - 10/15/20 10:54 AM

I am located in Australia so I have very little chance of picking up any used chisels especially locally.

What to get?
1 ½” Framing Chisel - a must
1” timber framing mortise chisel
Corner chisel 3/4 to 1 inch wide (optional)

Slicks optional? What size 2 to 3 1/2” wide 27 to 35 inches long overall

Brands?

Barr Framing Chisel
https://barrtools.com/product-category/framing-bench-chisels/
Popular amongst the time framing community

Auntine
http://johnneeman.com/en/tools/chisels Auntine
9HF high carbon steel 64-65 (HRC) getting right up there maybe too brittle. This is getting up there in hardness, is it going to be like a japanese steel maybe a little to glass like for a ham fisted newbie. If you ever worked with Australian hard word Janka ratings up to go from about 7 up to 15.

https://www.timbertools.com/Chisels/ Buffalo Tool Forge
Looks like a copy of the barr framing chisels

KharkivForge small custom forge 52100 steel HRC 60-61
https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/665...hisels?ref=shop_home_active_15&pro=1
https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/668643405/set-of-five-big-chisels-with-beveled?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=chisel+timber+framing&ref=sc_gallery-1-15&plkey=d32443523fcaede069b3b7cd6fa3409d0d619b67%3A668643405&pro=1&frs=1
https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/679...chisel?ref=shop_home_active_10&pro=1

Obviously Barr appears to the go to, timber tools seems on par, auntie john neeman seems to be well liked as well. Kharkiv have a few reviews all the products sold look goods and are made from decent steel.

Price, well importing to Australia means freight, to give you an US based users an idea I purchased the paper based timber framing book from the guild and the shipping was more expensive the the book! So Price wise they will all come in pretty close

I will probably buy a Veritas MkII Honing System again (I owned one decades ago)
Posted By: Will B

Re: Chisel Brands - 10/15/20 12:59 PM

Buffalo Forge chisel will have a 30-degree bevel (at least mine does) that is better for hardwoods than the 25-degree bevel on the Barr (better for softwoods).
I use planes now (easier to sharpen and carry) instead of slicks; either is used mostly on big tenons or scarfs, so if you're not doing those you can get by without.
Posted By: Jay White Cloud

Re: Chisel Brands - 10/16/20 04:27 AM

Hi Francis,

Your location and hemisphere has some outstanding Bladesmith, that are more than skilled enough to make timber framing tools, and some have in the past (retire or gone now that I have know.) I would reach out to some of them first to see what is possible? There seems to be a very healthy, thriving and growing interest in traditional building methods including timber framing in Australia, so there is certainly a market for these tools.

Your current list is very comprehensive, and seems like you have researched some of the common options thoroughly. I can no longer recommend Barr Tools to students or DIYers. The results over the last decade have been spotty, at best, with many of their tools getting returned from those I know. To Barr’s defense, they have always stood behind their tools (thus far?) but the quality is just not what it once was (I own some near original tools.) Nor are they comparative in price, from my perspective and experience, when up against some of the young tools Smiths out there making very affordable alternatives…that are equal to or better in quality and workmanship...

Of your list, I have only heard great things about Sergey’s work, and his prices are near the lowest out there for the great quality he produces. He is also open to custom work as well from what I know, but there will be a wait for that...

I would recommend Janis’s (aka: Autine) work over the “Northmen Guild '' just because he is one of the first doing it there and has been now for almost 20 years. Jacob (aka “Northmen” or “John Neeman Tools” a made up “marketing name!”) has done well with his company and compatruats for sure, and makes fine tools. However it is all a bit too “glitz and glamour” for my personal taste ($$$)...with way too much marketing. I tend to be faithful to those that communicate directly with me as Janis has always done about his tools and what a Timberwright may want. I still recommend him when this topic comes up for ordering from that region...

As for, “...What to get?...”

That all depends on your style of timber framing, and experience for the most part. I use (and have used) a lot of very brittle Japanese timber framing tools over the years and I love how they work...when well made. I hit them a 3 pound steel stone carvers mallet whether working hard or softwood. Breaking them is a matter of skill set, refined technique, and understanding the wood being joined...not necessarily the Janka rating of a wood...at least in my experience. Pick your style and refine it...don't worry too much about wood hardness...

So, for me, I would start with gouges, as that is my got to chisel for most of my day to day work, whether its a out cannal spoon or pattern makers gouge and I never go without a 90% V gouge (aka corner chisel) being within reach. From there it would be a 30 mm to 90 mm slick or long neck paring chisel...and good selection of planes. Many of these are going to most likely be Japanese or custom made tools. All of these that are striking tools will be hit most often with a 3lb (or larger) stone carver's mallet, usually a bell style from Trow and Holden. Yet again, that is just my style...

As for sharpening...that too is style and personal. For me if I can’t get a shaving hone in less than 90 seconds from a dull (not damaged) chisel or edged tool I would change the system if using a powered sharpening method. By hand, it all depends on what works efficiently for you? I like diamond and water stones with honing methods down to 0.01 micron.

Hope that helps...
Posted By: Francis

Re: Chisel Brands - 10/18/20 07:01 AM

Hi Jay thanks for the feedback. Sergey Ivin at KharkivForge makes what appears to be well priced well made chisels from quality materials. At least Sergey tells you what steel you are getting, buffalo forge when asked what metal they use they me and told me they used was high carbon steel no other details.

I dont have much woodworking experience, like I have built timber stick houses before and done a bit of trim carpentry albeit not naked wood, as the expression goes a bit of caulking and paint makes a carpenter what he aren't.

There are a few different styles Sergey makes. Links below obviously some are full kits/set but I can probably buy a smaller set and my silly questions.

Mushroom head socket type handles, will these take being pounded with a mallet without a metal retaining right or is this designed to be pushed by hand more like a slick? These are straight
https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/679141681/set-of-long-timber-framing-chisel?show_sold_out_detail=1
Basically the same thing but angled handle, I assume these are better pushes like as slick?
https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/665...sels?ref=pagination&pro=1&page=2


Metal ring retainer socket handles. Long
Obviously I would probably get imperial widths as the timber framing books plans etc are all imperial. Going to drive me crazy a little learning and using imperial.
https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/668643405/set-of-five-big-chisels-with-beveled?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=chisel+timber+framing&ref=sc_gallery-1-15&plkey=d32443523fcaede069b3b7cd6fa3409d0d619b67%3A668643405&pro=1&frs=1
Metal ring retainer socket handles shorter.
https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/631...=shop_home_active_30&pro=1&frs=1

I assume straight is what I would want except for something I was going to use as a slick.

Any feedback regarding ring bound and mushroom head handles.

Anything else you would consider I would order at the same time a splitting froe, draw knife/rounded draw knife, I see the carpenters axe some people say they use them others never use.

I only really noticed the axe because I am left handed and it was right handed but i could get a left handed one made. I have a couple japanese left handed (asymmetric blade on one, edge on the other and lefty handle on both) knives I like Blue steel #2 and white steel #1 for knives.

Good diamond stones are $$ but last a long time, I do love my Japanese Naniwa Chosera water stones my 5000 and 10000 cut fast and give a razor edge.
Posted By: Cecile en Don Wa

Re: Chisel Brands - 10/18/20 09:40 AM

Originally Posted by Francis



Any feedback regarding ring bound and mushroom head handles.

Anything else you would consider I would order at the same time a splitting froe, draw knife/rounded draw knife, I see the carpenters axe some people say they use them others never use.



All great tools in and of themselves. If they are right for you depends on the nature of the work you do just like any sensible advise would.
It seems the kind of steel used is particularly important to you but this is only part of what makes a good tool. Equally important is what the smid is capable of doing with that material. In particular the subtitles of the heat treatment and this depends on knowledge and experience along with a keen intuition of the smid. So, I would say when going the custom made route you ought to have a relationship with the one doing the work, otherwise stick to more standard or well-known products.
Posted By: Jay White Cloud

Re: Chisel Brands - 10/19/20 11:52 PM

Hi Francis,

I couldn't agree more about Sergey’s work. All that I have seen or heard from folks is very positive, especially for the price he charges. I’ve seen others work that are not quite as nice, charge twice as much. I also agree that I like more disclosure from a Smith about what alloys they are using and Sergey is more than willing to discuss tempering and heat treating methods as well...

If you have “stick built” and done trim level carpentry you should have more than enough foundational skills to get into this craft without issue. Timber framing is a craft often better served by a novice not having preconceived notions about woodworking, like wood having to be dry before it can be used, or how to approach certain aspects of the craft like layout.

As for the chisels and related tools, once again it will all depend on where you think your style of timber framing will take you or what styles of timber framing you aspire to try first. The link to the slicks is an example of a very nice set, but I’m not certain I would recommend a novice Timberwright spending that money on a pair of slicks. A 1.5” slick and a good #4 smother and a block plane would serve you better than that set of slicks...as just one example…

As to striking slicks, that is a huge NO!!! Those “mushroom heads” are for comfort in pushing with the shoulder, hand, or even stomach...not striking of any kind…Furrel chisels (aka “metal ring retainer”) are the type for striking with a mallet or hammer.

As for whether metric or imperial, that again is up to you. 98% of my tools are metric and at this point from tape measures and squares to most chisels, saws, and even electric tools. I like working in metric but can work fluidly in both. I can say that I don’t use fractions anymore that often as whole numbers are easier and the rest of the world “speaks metric,” rather than fractions of an inch so all blueprints and CAD modeling is done in millimeters...as found in 98% of the world...

Originally Posted by Francis
I assume straight is what I would want except for something I was going to use as a slick.


Not necessary...again it depends on style. I do a lot of work with butt chisels and many types of carving chisels as well in the timber framing I do, like Japanese tea house gouges as just one example. So your style is going to dictate the chisels and related tools you will find useful. At this stage, a very basic set is more than enough. I would also note that many slicks are straight and not offset.

Originally Posted by Francis
Any feedback regarding ring bound and mushroom head handles.


All my chisels meant to be struck have striking hoops and anything meant for pushing is ergonomically comfortable with most of my tool handles wrapped in wool felt then leather as a number of my handles are all metal rather than wood...

Originally Posted by Francis
Anything else you would consider I would order at the same time a splitting froe, draw knife/rounded draw knife, I see the carpenters axe some people say they use them others never use.


All of those are useful and will be used if one stays in this craft and style of woodworking...
Posted By: Francis

Re: Chisel Brands - 10/20/20 11:54 AM

Thanks Jay and others for the feedback and answering my silly questions as I teacher once told me well I should say taught me, ask a silly question remain a fool for a minute remain silent and remain a fool for a lifetime.

I am looking at something simple and following pretty closely a plan from one of my timber framing books.

Furrel chisels a 1 1/2' maybe a 2" or metric equivalence and maybe a corner chisel seems to be a good starter kit.

Interesting you are using metric for layout, I see a lot of the layout looks especially mortice templates borneman square or the one from timber HQ etc are imperial, as are most of the plans I have come across online and in books. Builders squares are still 2" and 1 1/2" even the metric ones on the market in oz. There is a little bit of me says get a metric one machined out of a solid block of aluminium kinda like the timber HQ model but all a single piece you could machine a relief fillet at the L plates too just like a builders square as at the L. I designed a grain mill for home brewing mashmaster.com that is all metric except for the keyed drive shaft it is imperial 1/2 couplings are easier than 12mm and get this the mounting bolds are UNC. Even in oz people just assume the drive shaft is 1/2" but the mounting blocks catch people out.

But I guess there is not a big difference between 1 1/2" and 40mm. Actually I read your comment over on the forestry forum (I assume it was you same user handle)

Quote
"2. Likewise, I’m using 1½” and 2” wide chisels (also used to check your mortise widths)."

Still use my "Barr" Chisels and other big old "bucks," among others. You can really pry with them and there the one's I let students use. The Japanese chisels are for me only. Now for their width, they are perfect. One cuts my 40 mm mortise, the other cuts the 50 mm mortise. They are both "over-sized," just enough to make a nice snug, but not overly tight joint.


I will have to have a think about metric, converting plans. I really think it would make working better.

As for measuring errors I know americans complaint about burning an inch, lol better than burning 100mm ahaha
Posted By: Jay White Cloud

Re: Chisel Brands - 10/20/20 07:38 PM

Hi Francis,

Your welcome and correct...LOL...No such thing as a stupid question when sincerely asked…

Originally Posted by Francis
I am looking at something simple and following pretty closely a plan from one of my timber framing books.
If that is the format you like and your intended project parameters then you will be best served following the tool suggestions of that author and their plan…

In a sense, they are the “primary teacher and facilitator,” and deviating from their guidance is not in your best interest typically.

I see many DIYers trying to “change” or “modify” a plan they find, or they try to augment or adapt two styles into one. If there is a foundation of experience to draw from this isn’t a huge issue, but too many “think” they know enough (not knowing what they don’t know) when in reality they truly do not have enough experience and should wait until their experience in timber framing grows before attempting to modify a design or plan. I see this most in those coming from the construction industry and the hubris it tends to breed in modern builders...

Originally Posted by Francis
Furrel chisels a 1 1/2' maybe a 2" or metric equivalence and maybe a corner chisel seems to be a good starter kit.
Yes...that is a very good start and a common recommended starter set for timber framing. You can get by with just the smaller chisel if the budget is tight, however, the chisels employed on a project are often also the template for the mortise/tenon widths…

Originally Posted by Francis
Interesting you are using metric for layout
Here in the United States it is much less common yet more and more are converting and/or using both. Everything in the world is metric for the most part, including most tools and tooling. The only primary “island” of resistance is the United States, though that is changing rapidly as most industries (and the military) are virtually all metric now.

The “borneman” and related are the exception to the rule and understandable as they came from companies that are imperial users. However, most of the world is not...including modern framing squares in most regions of the world. For example, Steve Chapel still makes one of the best timber framing squares on the market (that's a personal bias I own) and, of course, Steve makes it in metric and imperial both, thus my square is 50 mm wide on the long arm and 40 mm wide on the narrow, which sets the parameters for templates used for all such sized mortise and tenon. It is a choice of course, and Imperial still dominates here in the United States for many (not all) Timberwrights…

As for construction plans, most actually are in metric as most timber frames are designed and built globally are outside the United States, with Asia still dominating the volume of frames built, which of course is all metric, as are there tools and most of Europe where the other lion’s share of timber frames are constructed. Case in point all of Makita, Mafell and related major companies only make metric tools and these must be modified and/or adapted to imperial.

Often here in the United States, there is a bias that forms because of the common books found on the subject, but by an industries standard and a global perspective of volume, most timber frames are actually metric. As another interesting example, if I open a CAD template its “go to” templates are always metric and have to be converted to imperial if a client requests that.

Originally Posted by Francis
There is a little bit of me says get a metric one machined out of a solid block of aluminium kinda like the timber HQ model but all a single piece you could machine a relief fillet at the L plates too just like a builders square as at the L.
I am very active in many other traditional art forms, such as textiles, so the idea of having your own template made is a logical one that could serve you very well...

I do a fair amount of weaving, and still tailor most of my own clothing, thus templates and patterns are a mainstay of my daily life whether timber framing or creating a garment. Tailor templating (now a plastic sheet rather than goat vellum) is what I use for all my timber frame templates. In reality, for the last 25 years, I only layout joinery once for a timber frame project. These templates all get checked for there fit and balance before ever being scribed onto a timber. Thus, the target points on the snapped line of a timber (I use traditional Asian format line rule) indicates where a template is positioned. The traditional line rule systems are not to be confused with the modern modalities of what many call "line rule" which is completely different than the traditional context found in Middle Eastern and Asian modalities. "Modern edge rule” with snapped lines as employed now by many contemporary timber framers are an adaptation, have nothing to do with the traditional methods of "line rule" nor how "edge rule" was originally taught or used. Few of us left living that actually have been taught or apprenticed in the original context of "edge rule," and not the modern interpretation of it. When asked by students, my recommendation is learn "line rule" and "scribe/stereotomy," as these are the most acient and accurate forms of layout...

Originally Posted by Francis
I designed a grain mill for home brewing mashmaster.com that is all metric...I guess there is not a big difference between 1 1/2" and 40mm.
Cool website...and very interesting business. As you have learned, metric is seeping in everywhere...LOL!!!...from plywood (2.4mx4.8m) to machinery...it's all metric for the most part...

When I teach a workshop or deal with a client that has resistance to metric, I get the plethora of reasons why imperial is better (all unfounded of course) but once they actually work in it for any length of time, they never go back fully to imperial. Dealing with hole numbers like a millimeter (especially in timber framing) is so much easier than fractions...

Originally Posted by Francis
I will have to have a think about metric, converting plans.
Like I tell students and clients alike...don’t convert...or think of it that way…

Start using metric along with imperial and it just happens naturally. Another trick is to start thinking and “designing” in what some euphemistically is call the “metric foot,” which is 300mm long...thereby the “metric inch” is 25mm (actual inch is 25.4mm.) That little “mind trick” alone makes the concept of converting not only simple but natural. I still use the language of imperial talking in “feet and inches” so clients can relate to a discussion graphically about their project, but the project itself will still be metric in design and process.

Originally Posted by Francis
As for measuring errors I know americans complaint about burning an inch, lol better than burning 100mm ahaha...
LOL...exactly!!!

I design frames to zero tolerance in CAD, of course, but in reality I only have to worry about a whole increment of 1mm and thereby making measuring really easy as they are always a whole number…

Good Luck and do report in as your project progresses...
Posted By: Francis

Re: Chisel Brands - 10/21/20 10:40 PM

I have not decided on layout method yet most books have square rule focus.

I was thinking of using an offset method of line layout from what is called the Reference Edge Rule which I assume is what you refer to as "Modern edge rule". This method, though not centre lined/asian line/soul line rule stops being edge rule and once again becomes "line rule" layout. This "Modern Edge Rule" is what is taught in the majority of the books I have so I am loathed to stray from it in my first build. If you have a good book you can recommend for asian line rule centre line rule I would be interested.

As for altering plans the only thing I really need to look at for my plans is roof overhangs or lack of them to be more precise I need them for the hot and wet climate I live in. Thankfully I am saved from worrying about snow loads. But wind loads for cyclones. Sadly I have seen a lovely timber framed building in state with ugly metal bolts holding down all the rafters, reason given it was either that or metal strapping because the engineers would not sign off on the wind loading without something they where familiar with and local government authorities prescribed all the requirements under code for stick framing.

Posted By: Will B

Re: Chisel Brands - 10/22/20 12:58 PM

Francis,
The layout method you choose depends more on the quality of material than your abilities. If your timbers are crowned, twisted or out of square than edge rule/square rule will be frustrating and will yield poor results without some serious planing. We use edge rule at Heartwood but our timbers are always within 1/16" - 1/8" of square and wind (twist) over 12' in length or we go to snap line square rule, as we would with hewn timbers. There are some good articles on this method in the Guild's Journal "Timber Framing". For severely wonky timbers we would then go to scribe rule. Good luck.
Posted By: Jay White Cloud

Re: Chisel Brands - 10/22/20 11:46 PM

Hello Francis,

Originally Posted by Francis
I have not decided on layout method yet most books have square rule focus...I was thinking of using an offset method of line layout from what is called the Reference Edge Rule which I assume is what you refer to as "Modern edge rule".
Again, I would stress, if following a given Author and their text, unless you have extensive experience in timber framing, to not deviate from what they are employing for layout in their text. Mixing and matching layout systems without intimate familiarity can lead down some “rabbit holes,” that may not serve a first time project well...

Originally Posted by Francis
...This "Modern Edge Rule" is what is taught in the majority of the books I have so I am loathed to stray from it in my first build...
And I don’t believe you should…The text you are reading and learning from currently, and planning a project around, should be the format to follow. If you select one that employs a line rule system, if that interest you, then you may be better served as the system is broader and much more flexible in context, and history...

Originally Posted by Francis
...If you have a good book you can recommend for asian line rule centre line rule I would be interested...
Publication wise, if possibly considering actual line rule layout, there are a few good ones out there in English. I have written and/or photo documented on different forums and blogs also some basic steps and your free to contact me directly should you choose...

The following are currently the best examples out there that illustrate “Line Rule,” modalities. There are many more going back over 1000 years in other languages of course:

Master's Guide to Timber Framing” by James Mithcell

Link to a great review by: Jake Jacob’s...

Master’s Guide to Log Building” by James Mithcell

If you think you will ever work in the round or in live edge materials, this is a must have publication as well…

The Complete Japanese Joinery,” by Hideo Sato

This is a wonderfully illustrated book that covers traditional templating and line layout modalities. However it is wickedly written and a very poorly edited book. I have been in contact with this publisher for decades over the typos, mislablings and confusion found within the details of this book. The book originally was actually two construction manuals from Japan (of course written in Japanese) and they themselves the amalgamation of about 10 plus other books and illustrated manuals with similar examples found in Korea.

Originally Posted by Francis
...This method, though not centre lined/asian line/soul line rule stops being edge rule and once again becomes "line rule" layout...
“Snap Line Square Rule,” the common vernacular now in contemporary reinterpretation of “line rule.” This started in the late 70's here in North American timber framing with its dominant progenitors being Jack Sabon, Will Beemer (Heartwood School), et al. from their publications, classes and related venue.

To be very clear, the actual (et: traditional) “Edge Rule Layout,” (or “Rule Layout” as another historic term for the same modality) had nothing to do...at all...with any snapped lines of any kind anywhere on a log or timber…

“Edge Rule” systems of layout, as it was traditionally taught and performed, has only existed for about 350 to 250 years with the historical origins most certainly coming out of mass production of large timber Mills, Barnes and related heavy timbered architecture of the early colonial periods here in North America transitioning for the more labor intensive, cumbersome and bespoke “Scribe Rule” modalites of timber framing. Edge Rule employes, as its key elements, a large framing square, dividers very often, levels, story poles and related board reference tools. A length of string was often part of this arsenal, as was a plumbob, yet no snapping of lines. There are strong indications of Edge Rule perhaps also being employed by production Shipwrights as a modality for mass producing timber structure of a uniform context out of...nonuniform timbers...for the mass production of certain ship elements.

My context to this understanding was taught from the perspective of a group of Old Order Amish Barnwrights ranging in birth dates between 1877 and 1898. Within this appreciation it was made clear the distinction between scribe, edge and line layout methods of layout. This and over 4 decades of continued passion for understanding historic layout systems in woodworking, has led me to a keen perspective of their application and very distinct characteristics in use and application. Thus, I tend not to follow reinterpretation of these systems, as they work well as they had been developed over centuries or millenia (depending on type) and rather lean toward the original contextual definitions.

I should also be clear that they are not always in the center of a timber or log, and there may well be more than one line within reference context as well, especially on rafters, or heavily curved livedege timbers as just two examples which may have multiple reference line elements that work more within a plane of context than just the “soul line” alone...

Originally Posted by Francis
...As for altering plans the only thing I really need to look at for my plans is roof overhangs or lack of them to be more precise I need them for the hot and wet climate I live in....
That is very understandable, as many designs are sorely lacking in proper roof overhangs so that modification is more than justified in my opinion. I typically never have less than a two foot (600mm) eave overhang on a structure, and larger is not uncommon…

Uplift, shear and related wind loads with these larger roof overhangs can be arduous to deal with but not insurmountable at all. This is where a PE with actual timber framing experience is a valued member of a project team. Even for small projects they are worth what they have to charge for their efforts. I would also offer, from my experience, to never hesitate “pushing back” on their solutions. I have a very personal and long lived relationship with the PE I work with, and seldom (never actually...LOL) accepting or liking the first solutions to a given challenge they may foresee. Because of this the project is always made better by this push and pull between what the “engineering” states needs to happen in a frame and what the final solution ends up being. PE, when good, makes you a better Timberwright, and I certainly give those I have worked with for over 30 years a lion's share of influence on projects I have been fortunate enough to be part of...
© 2020 Timber Frame Forums