Tools of Yesteryear - Firmer Chisels archive
Tuesday 1 October 2013
The Editor looks at a type of chisel that has somewhat fallen by the wayside over the yearsError loading Partial View script (file: ~/Views/MacroPartials/cwsGalleryImages.cshtml)
This is yet another of my quirky choices, picking on a tool which you can, in theory, still buy... or can you? In the olden days when dragons ruled the earth 'and I were a lad' it was natural to own a set of firmer chisels, as well as the bevel edge variety. Of course, there are plenty of chisel types still available such as paring, registered mortise, sash mortise, corner, skew and framing. Unfortunately, the older type of firmer, with its lighter build and straight sides, has fallen prey to the more appreciated and versatile bevel-edge chisel. You can still buy some firmer chisels but the build is more substantial than the older ones I have chosen, so the definition of firmer seems to have moved with the times.
What is so special about a vintage firmer chisel? It feels good working with finer-quality tools and being able to grasp the flat shank between finger and thumb - no plastic handles in sight. The square sides act as a guide when creating a mortise as they tend to stay square in the hole or when cleaning out housings, and the steel, being older quality, will keep a good edge.