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Old Henry Taylor tools, any way to determine age?

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Forum topic by Joe_1974 posted 07-22-2019 01:16 PM 476 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Joe_1974

2 posts in 27 days


07-22-2019 01:16 PM

Topic tags/keywords: henry taylor vintage old woodcarving

I am hoping for some help from you regarding age of some (mostely) Henry Taylor tools I got from my mother, which was inherited from her father for some 30 years ago.
The foremost reason I am wondering, is the number of chisels/gauges as my grandfather did not have that much (other) tools to work with to create his almost magical furniture. This makes me wonder if these tools might have been something in the family for a longer periode of time; and got me curious of the age on these. (Although its not a set)
From what I can see, most have “H. Taylor” and “England” or “Sheffield” on them, and most are made of beech handles. The handles might have been changed though, as they are in mint condition, and there are some without handles too.
Any help on the subject is most appreciated.
Picture enclosed, never mind the few top left ones.
I am trying to learn woodcarving, first step for me is to get the tools really sharp. If these turn out to be very old tools, I will get some more practice on some other set before I start on these.
Thank you.


8 replies so far

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John Smith

1912 posts in 610 days


#1 posted 07-22-2019 02:09 PM

impossible to tell from that one photo.
I have some H. Taylor gouges that are 30+ years old and look
like the ones you can buy today. so I think all you can do is
apply an educated guess depending on who had them and for how long.
I would guess between 30 and 50 years old.
what are your plans for the set ??

.

.

-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

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Phil32

598 posts in 351 days


#2 posted 07-22-2019 02:25 PM

I went to the Henry Taylor website to look at their present line of woodcarving tools. It leads me to think that the handles on many of your tools have been replaced. If they had been used extensively with a mallet, this could be possible.

The shapes (profiles) would be based on the London Pattern Book, with straight (flat) chisels being #1 and curved gouges numbered from #3 to #9. You are correct that the first step is to sharpen them, but I would suggest that you choose one, like a #3 about 1/2” wide. Sharpen it and try a simple project.

A few years ago I was given an old carving tool roll, including several Herring Brothers gouges. I spend several hours cleaning, reshaping, and sharpening one #3 – 7mm gouge. It is now my favorite tool for relief carving. That’s it in the center of the photo below (but it’s turned on edge.) The others are Pfeil (Swiss Made) #3-12mm and #3F- 16mm (fishtail).

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

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Phil32

598 posts in 351 days


#3 posted 07-22-2019 04:40 PM

In answer to your question – if the factory stamping changed at Henry Taylor, they might have a record of when the change occurred. They are still in business.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

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Phil32

598 posts in 351 days


#4 posted 07-22-2019 06:02 PM

Another observation I would make: The older H. Taylor carving tools had handles that were more tapered than modern ones – perhaps to make more efficient use of handle wood. It appears that the present H. Taylor tools have round handles with brass ferrules (per their website) with a foil label near the center of the handle. The stamped markings in the actual tool metal are the best indicator of the period of manufacture.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

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DrDirt

4588 posts in 4189 days


#5 posted 07-22-2019 07:03 PM

You have a set of tools that should last you a long time. Yes you need to learn sharpening, but will find that once they are shaped… most of the time you are just honing. I personally like honing on the worksharp with a leather faced disk and Tripoli polish. I would learn and practice on these.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

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Joe_1974

2 posts in 27 days


#6 posted 07-22-2019 08:15 PM

Thank you for your replies to my post.
I guess I can try contact H. Taylor to see if they have any details to look for to determine the age on these, they are definetely older than 50 years, almost not used the last 30. The tools are very short, so these have been shaped, sharpened and honed quite a few times.
All though they are perfect shape, I suspect the handles to be homemade so probably no help there.

I did have a go on sharpening one of the longest gauges; (after numerous videos on youtube) and it went surprisingly well from what I can see, probably beginners luck. (But do have a few years experience in sharpening chisels and planes.)
Tried some “carving” on various wood, and as DrDirt is mentioning, I found that some strokes on the leather strop was all it really took to bring back the edge. I guess the steel is much softer than expected, so will be even more careful sharpening the next ones later.

Thing is that the cutting angle feels too high to me, stressing my wrist, so if I go to the step start using these I would need to make some reshaping. (A lot of studying to do first.)
I have started some online training as a first step, and hopefuly this will get me started carving wood. Looking forward to the process of learning.

Sidenote: Do you know why all the gauges has a slight rounded edge/bevel on them? What are the benfits of doing so?

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HokieKen

10207 posts in 1586 days


#7 posted 07-23-2019 02:16 PM



...

Sidenote: Do you know why all the gauges has a slight rounded edge/bevel on them? What are the benfits of doing so?

- Joe_1974

Probably from stropping. Because the leather is a compliant medium, it conforms to the shape of the steel and not visa-versa like when you use a stone. Eventually, stropping without sharpening is going to leave you with a slightly convex bevel. I’ve only been carving for a year or so but I’ve already noticed the tendency of a strop to round off my bevels. I’ve since made a new strop with a much thinner piece of leather so it’s not so pliable. I’ve also been experimenting with just stropping on a piece of MDF with no leather. I’m not sure if these steps will be effective (or if they’re even necessary) but that’s where I’m at :-)

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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Phil32

598 posts in 351 days


#8 posted 07-23-2019 05:06 PM

I agree with Kenny re: stropping on leather – haven’t used a leather strop for years. I use cereral box cardboard on a hard flat surface with chromium oxide (green) compound.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

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