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Thread: A set of 8 OB mortise chisels, Howarth

  1. #1
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    Dec 2006
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    A set of 8 OB mortise chisels, Howarth

    Here's something you won't see very often - if ever


    A set of graduated mortice chisels by James Howarth comprising of the following widths:-
    3/32" Wide,1/8" Wide, 3/16" Wide, 1/4" Wide, 5/16" Wide, 3/8" Wide, 7/16" Wide and 1/2" Wide.
    All have replacement handles.


    On the Bay: Mortise Chisels

    Replacement handles are bad news for collectors but good news for tool users. I have no idea what they'll go for, $200 - 350 mebbe? I'll be watching, but I won't be buying. If I didn't have all the sizes I need I'd be bidding
    All the best,
    Ian G

    **Now holding auditions for a catchy new signature**

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    a short distance from my body
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    Ian,

    Thanks for the heads up. Seems there were dozens of Sheffield tool makers back in the day. In the US, many of those old names rarely raise above the noise of the crowd on ebay. Since you brought it up, I did a search on said "James Howarth". Per TheBestThings.com, Howarth was "the Rolls of Sheffield edge tool makers." Could you enlighten us as to how J.H. got this reputation? Better steel, better processes, thicker irons, better handles? What books would you recommend for studying the history and value of old Sheffield, Glasgow and Edinburgh iron? Any websites you'd recommend?

    As a recent convert to old tools, I'm amazed by my recently purchased Mathieson smoother. 100 years old, the mouth is still tight, and the shavings are whisper thin.

    Thanks again.
    rick
    "I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different." - Kurt Vonnegut

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Forest Grove, Oregon USA
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    I have several edge tools made by Howarth, including plow blades, mortise chisels and firmer chisels.

    I certainly wouldn't classify Howarth better than a bunch of his contemporaries. But they are finished off well and along with others, better than many. James Cam is one maker I would say were even better as regards fit and finish.

    Books escape me at the moment. There is a lot of written, including on-line, collections to review, etc, at least as regards history. Value is a thing which largely is based upon collectability--which in turn is largely either due to rarity or current desirability.

    Vintage tools, if they were taken care of [even if used a lot], can be in remarkable condition. I have a few planes over 200 years old and one about 250 years old. All fine users. As long as I take care of them, about all they will ever need is a new iron.

    Take care, Mike
    --thnks, Ian. Quite a group!
    Wenzloff & Sons Sawmakers

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Nova Scotia's beautiful south shore
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    Quote Originally Posted by rick fulton View Post
    Ian,

    Could you enlighten us as to how J.H. got this reputation? Better steel, better processes, thicker irons, better handles? What books would you recommend for studying the history and value of old Sheffield, Glasgow and Edinburgh iron? Any websites you'd recommend?

    Thanks again.
    rick
    Hehe -Rick, you overestimate my knowledge in this area. All I know about Howarth is that they were very prolific and their chisels are "good'uns". I've never heard the Rolls Royce comparison personally and I doubt if they're any better than the Sorby's (of whom there were several) or other big Sheffield producers of the day. (I expect to be enlightened on this in very short order )

    But none of this is based on anything other than my own hunches, my limited personal experience and comments made by others. For many people the Sheffield stamp is all they need to see to decide a blade is okay.
    All the best,
    Ian G

    **Now holding auditions for a catchy new signature**

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