Superb Bent Gouges Were Upgraded

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Project by Dilo Marcio Fernandino posted 11-20-2011 03:18 AM 4664 views 4 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Dear Lumberjocks,

Brazil and Argentina are neighbor countries in South America. Despite that, Brazilians speak Portuguese while Argentines speak Spanish and the cultural differences between them are so many that Brazilians and Argentines seldom agree on an issue. In spite of having a highly developed steel industry, the Brazilian manufacture of chisels is probably the worst on Earth. They are simply useless. That is why I am always looking for foreign brands of chisels.

Last year I admitted as a carving student Mr. Luiz Flavio Rocha Gomes (please refer to my blog who introduced me to an unknown brand of chisels handmade in Argentina, named “Stassen”. Their blades were pretty well forged, carefully sharpened and so polished that they reminded me of the German brands. Unfortunately, their wood handles looked terrible concerning style and ergonomics.

Recently Luiz Flavio decided to go to Argentina and offered me the opportunity to buy locally the Stassen chisels that I might choose from his Stassen catalog. I accepted his kind offer and requested a selection of seven tiny bent gouges plus a large bent spade shaped gouge, whose exquisite shapes I did not have among my collection of 300 plus chisels and gouges. He brought me back all of them which proved to be razor sharpened. However, their practical usage demonstrated to be quite awkward because of their badly shaped handles.

As a consequence, I resolved that those fine gouges deserved to be improved by replacing their original handles by customized ones which would fit my hand palms. Also, I resolved to ennoble them by making the handles using black Rio Rosewood (Dalbergia nigra) selected from my leftovers, as well as to upgrade the whole set by housing it in a specially built toolbox made of white Pau Marfim (Balfourodendron riedelianum).

So, I designed a “half-pear” shape (flat on the bottom) so that the handle could comfortably fit in my hand palm, but considering that I have no lathe I had to shape each wood blank with a bow saw. Also considering that the Rosewood leftovers were as hard as a stone, I took advantage of this drawback by faceting them with rasps and files as if they were rare gemstones, instead of simply rounding them.

All works were performed on the handles and toolbox with hand tools (saws, planes, rasps, files, chisels, sandpaper). Please, see the upgrading sequence photos.

Dimension of the box: 13” long x 10” wide x 2” deep

Visit my website:
My email: [email protected]
Best Regards,

-- Dilo

16 comments so far

View Dusty56's profile


11858 posts in 4429 days

#1 posted 11-20-2011 03:24 AM

Looks like you did a fantastic job on everything : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View ChuckM's profile


637 posts in 4408 days

#2 posted 11-20-2011 03:35 AM

I must say the old handles were good, but the new ones are even better. Thanks for sharing.

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

View blackcherry's profile


3344 posts in 4564 days

#3 posted 11-20-2011 03:35 AM

And now my good man your have a gem collection of beautiful chisel with a traveling case. Thanks for all your wonderful pic’s on your procedures on this fine set of handcrafted handles, your friend in woodworking Blkcherry

View Woodbridge's profile


3718 posts in 3159 days

#4 posted 11-20-2011 03:45 AM

Your new handles and case are very nice. The carving work you have posted is superb! A fine set of chsiels in the hands of a master carver!

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View kiefer's profile


5713 posts in 3408 days

#5 posted 11-20-2011 05:20 AM

A very nice set of what I would call custom carving chisels .
I am envious of these nice tools but for me they would not be much use as I never learned the carving discipline and use power carving tools instead.
Congratulations on your new chisels and I am looking forward to seeing them in use .
Your work is exceptional and very inspiring !
Thanks Kiefer

-- Kiefer

View BigFoot Products Canada's profile

BigFoot Products Canada

711 posts in 4134 days

#6 posted 11-20-2011 05:59 AM

Fantastic job. I am amazed at your talent with only hand tools.. You are a TRUE artisan!

View sras's profile (online now)


5432 posts in 3870 days

#7 posted 11-20-2011 06:44 AM

The chisels now have first class handles and a first class owner. A beautiful set of tools. Enjoy them!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Woodwrecker's profile


4239 posts in 4317 days

#8 posted 11-20-2011 06:46 AM

Magnificent job my friend.

You have turned a good tool into a great tool!

You honor these tools by using them in your superb work !

View patron's profile


13702 posts in 4082 days

#9 posted 11-20-2011 07:36 AM

you are a true master

the detail and attention
you put into your work
is exceptional

great upgrade these


-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View ruddy's profile


550 posts in 3680 days

#10 posted 11-20-2011 08:27 AM


-- And my head I'd be a scratchin'

View Woodbutcher3's profile


462 posts in 3628 days

#11 posted 11-20-2011 02:26 PM

Fabulous job. All that work my hand imparts a special attachment to your tools and assures you’re going to get them out and use them. Excellant work. I’m keeping an eye on your future posts!

-- Rod ~ There's never enough time to finish a project, but there's always time to start another one.

View jeepturner's profile


946 posts in 3533 days

#12 posted 11-20-2011 05:01 PM

That is a nice upgrade to the tools.
I like the faceted design, mostly because I don’t like to have sharp ends on handles that can roll off of a bench.

All your work is exceptional, and I thank you for sharing it with us.

-- Mel,

View MShort's profile


1798 posts in 4159 days

#13 posted 11-20-2011 06:37 PM

Now that is an upgrade !! The new handles really made a great looking set of tools. Thanks for the putting the before pictures with the new updgrades.

-- Mike, Missouri --- “A positive life can not happen with a negative mind.” ---

View Bertha's profile


13588 posts in 3434 days

#14 posted 11-20-2011 06:42 PM

Boy, I love looking at your work. Those gouges are exceptional. I may copy your faceted form if you’d allow it. I imagine the grip with the palm swell is great for carving. Thanks for sharing! al

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Napoleon's profile


788 posts in 3550 days

#15 posted 11-20-2011 10:15 PM

Now thats a true craftman!

So nice to see homemade tools made with perfektion.

Awesome job!

-- Boatbuilder&blacksmith

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