My Great-Grandfather’s Lathe Chisels

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by JoshOne posted 05-10-2012 09:49 PM 1962 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Last week for my birthday I got a rather remarkable present from my grandparents: my great grandfather’s Craftsman lathe chisels. My great-grandfather died in 1974, well before I met him, and they passed to my grandfather. He is a consummate craftsman and artist and through the early 90s owned a lumber yard in Yardley, PA. I feel tremendously lucky to be from a line of craftsmen and to have inherited the proof.

These chisels have now passed to me, and to be honest I’m a little conflicted whether I should use them, or keep them safer and relegate them to my antique/special stuff cabinet. I’m leaning towards the second one. Either way, they are now among the category of things I own which are to be saved for the next generation. My (other) grandfather’s jewelery tools, for example.

-- "The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne"

10 comments so far

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3587 days

#1 posted 05-10-2012 10:55 PM

It is a fine heirloom and looks like there is a great deal of good steel in them. I have a few tools from friends and relatives that passed on and I can say that using them makes me feel a little connected. I guess one question you might ask yourself, when you look at your own tools, would you rather they be looked at generations down the road? Or would you want your next of kin to use them? The philosophy you have regarding your own tools is probably very close to the views of those before you since their teachings and beliefs were passed on to you. Either way, I know you will treasure them.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Bob817's profile


676 posts in 2861 days

#2 posted 05-10-2012 11:11 PM

It must be exciting to receive an heirloom, your a lucky man whichever is your decision Enjoy. When I pass on I hope My Boys will enjoy my collections. Good Luck!

-- ~ Bob ~ Newton, N.H.

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3430 days

#3 posted 05-10-2012 11:47 PM

I have the same set of Craftsman turning tools. If you’ve already have sufficient turning chisels—put them away, but if you need tools, I see no problem using them—they’re a good basic set.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View derosa's profile


1597 posts in 3314 days

#4 posted 05-11-2012 05:51 AM

I’ve also got the same set, they came with the 30s era lathe I bought. I’ll second brandon on this, I’ve turned three objects with them before being handed some high speed steel chisels and while these are good modern is better. Just not so much better that I would buy duplicates to replace them until after I bought all the other tools I needed first.

-- A posse ad esse

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3374 posts in 4191 days

#5 posted 05-11-2012 05:54 AM


You have been blessed! I won’t have to worry about my heirs knowing what to do with my hand tools: they’re all China-Cheap quality and should be discarded! ;-)


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Schwieb's profile


1891 posts in 3940 days

#6 posted 05-11-2012 10:08 AM

I have to agree with several comments above. These are more about sentimental value than real good tools. They worked but the newer tools are so much better. The newer steels and carbides of today are far superior for holding a good edge than the steel in these tools. I inherited some turning tools from my Dad that he used when he was still at home in the 30’s, they are special to me but I’ll go for my newer gouges every time.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View JoshOne's profile


54 posts in 3170 days

#7 posted 05-11-2012 03:13 PM

I agree with all the posters so far- these are more about sentiment than function.

-- "The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne"

View Mishadude's profile


3 posts in 3465 days

#8 posted 05-11-2012 06:16 PM

I’d save them for a special project or two to repay the gift. Maybe use them on Christmas presents for your grandparents who would appreciate that you used your great grandfather’s tools, carrying on the legacy.

View hunter71's profile


3432 posts in 3665 days

#9 posted 05-12-2012 11:21 AM

I feel your Great Grandfather would want you to create with them, just like he did. Make him proud.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 3367 days

#10 posted 05-14-2012 03:08 AM

Three generations of your family have owned these. They were made to be used. Make them happy and continue the line started by great grandad. If you own better newer ones, keep these for those projects that need the input of previous generations’ skills. I believe tools have a memory, and using tools owned by a master craftsman seem to work better in the hands of an heir than many of the newer tools will, no matter how much “better” they are.

Honor their memory by using these once in a while, and while doing so, remember those who wielded them in years past. It will bring back happy memories as you create shavings.


-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics