Suggested species for handle of socket chisel set

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Forum topic by jwisbey posted 09-30-2017 03:24 AM 707 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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35 posts in 3185 days

09-30-2017 03:24 AM

Topic tags/keywords: antique socket firmer chisel

I just acquired a set of socket chisels that I want to turn a new set of handles for. I have the leather for the caps/bolster of the head that I plan to use. I was wondering what everyone thought would be a good wood to use for the handle.

I am leaning toward a curly maple as I have a nice piece large enough for all the handles and has some pretty grain.

They will be used for pairing and some light chopping but nothing heavy as they are long firmer chisels.

Will the wood hold up with light chopping or should I select a different species? I am in the mid west where ash, cherry, walnut, maple, and oak are the predominant wood species that are available to me. I would be open to an exotic species if the look and function fits better.

4 replies so far

View JayT's profile


6402 posts in 2983 days

#1 posted 09-30-2017 12:10 PM

For the use you describe, curly maple should be fine. I have a mixed set of vintage socket paring chisels that get similar use (paring with occasional very light mallet use) that have walnut handles I turned. They have held up just fine.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5289 posts in 4733 days

#2 posted 09-30-2017 02:10 PM

Dogwood if you can find it. HARD, strong, and turns well.

-- [email protected]

View Galootinator's profile


40 posts in 1009 days

#3 posted 10-02-2017 04:14 PM

Hornbeam or Osage Orange would be my top two choices. They are both extremely impact resistant…even under hard hits from a metal hammer grimacing in horror at the thought of that

On that note, if treated correctly and used mainly for light impact, any wood you desire would work…I once knew an old man that had a set of stanley 750’s with balsa handles. I asked him why he would ever do such a thing, his reply; “If you sharpen a chisel properly, you never have to strike it with anything…and the balsa gives me an amazing grip”. I don’t think I’ll ever put balsa handles on anything, but it definitely made me look at things in a different manner. Good luck on your new handles :)

-- I've never been accused of withholding my opinion ;)-- Walter M. ~ Missouri

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2258 days

#4 posted 10-02-2017 04:21 PM

It’ll be fine

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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