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Blog entry by Dilo Marcio Fernandino posted 01-30-2011 12:39 AM 11798 reads 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Dear Fellows,

In 1965 I was a teenager beginning my lonely track to woodcarving. My first set of tools was composed by three Sorsakoski bevel-edged firmer chisels made in Finland, which became my carving tools for many years. I was fortunate enough to have bought those Sorsakoski by chance, once because of its superb quality steel (some people say they are made from the same Swedish steel of the famous Berg chisels), also due to their elegant and balanced overall shape and especially because of their very slim and polished blades which end at extraordinary 20° cutting edges (the usual is 25°). I fell in love with them and instinctively they became my quality standard for chisels.

I spent the following 45 years trying unsuccessfully to buy new Sorsakoski chisels and I could not even find a mere reference by Internet searching. However, in December 2010 I met at a Brazilian Website somebody announcing four different sizes of the original Sorsakoski chisel blades (without handles). I could not believe and checked their photos several times. Finally I got convinced they were really original ones. I phoned to the announcer and he told me that his job is to search for antique quality tools among the remaining inventories of hardware stores that went into liquidation. He assured me that those chisels had been in their original boxes for over 45 years so I bought a set of four sizes. I got really thrilled when I removed the original varnish layer from the chisel blades and I took the firm resolution of making for them the closest copies of the original handles even being aware that I do not have a woodturning lathe (remember that my micro workshop is 7 ft x 6 ft only).

Fortunately my clever woodcarving pupil Luiz Flavio Rocha Gomes (see blog lent me a primitive portable lathe that he had built by making its whole structure with plywood and using a small grinding wheel engine for its motion. So, I started the project by making a detailed drawing for each one of the four handles, since the perfect chisel must have an adequate proportion between blade and handle in order to meet a good balance. Accordingly I bought pieces of brass tubes of different gauges that I hand sawed into ferrules (back and front). Also, I hand sawed and planed four cylindrical blanks from a white and hard Brazilian wood called Pau Marfim (Balfourodendron riedelianum).

My first experience using a mock lathe was frightening but quite pleasant with the final results that you can see in the photos. Now I think I have fully honored my first woodcarving love.

Visit my site:


-- Dilo

6 comments so far

View jim C's profile

jim C

1472 posts in 3781 days

#1 posted 01-30-2011 12:55 AM

Great story, thanks

View tdv's profile


1203 posts in 3752 days

#2 posted 01-30-2011 01:35 AM

Beatifully made with a very simple lathe the blades on these chisels look really good quality You did a great job

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

541 posts in 4163 days

#3 posted 01-30-2011 03:01 AM

Absolutely beautiful. Being a woodturner and carver I’ve made several replacement handles for a few of my chisels, nothing that nice though. I love the lather, small, simple and effective.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View ksSlim's profile


1304 posts in 3572 days

#4 posted 01-30-2011 03:21 AM

Good job, great story! We are only limited by our inspiration, imagination, and adventurous spirit to try some thing new.

If you find more of those chisel blades, remember your LJ friends.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3502 posts in 4395 days

#5 posted 01-30-2011 04:09 AM


We have come to expect nothing short of perfection from you and you have once again delivered! What a great story. It’s exciting how you finally found more of those chisels.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3789 days

#6 posted 01-31-2011 10:28 PM

Wow! Give my best to your student, and tell him that I an copying his lathe. I need some handles and have no lathe, but I do have a grinder. Thank you for your inspiration. I must say that I am in awe of your carving.

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