To make wooden structures, timber frame chisels are necessary tools. For centuries, they have been the best solution for timber owners and log constructions. Its quality has always been decisive for the project to be a success. The heritage of this know-how is reflected in the four brands we present today.
Timber frame chisels: what they are and what they are for
You may wonder, what is the difference between the woodworking chisel and timber frame chisels? Can not they do the same function? Although both serve to work the wood and have a similar appearance, there are many differences. For starters, they have different uses. The timber frame chisels are conceived to make laces or slits in trunks and wooden beams. Its use is directly related to the realization of large wooden structures, such as pergolas, roofs, walls or ship frames.
When working with larger dimensions, where the blade must penetrate more into the wood, the design of the chisels for the construction is also different. Its blade is longer and more robust, offering greater performance and durability. For its part, the handle is also usually larger and is made of wood. This allows a better grip and greater resistance to the blows of a hammer (you never use a hammer for these jobs!). In addition, the wood does not bounce as much as the plastic when it is hit, thus generating less fatigue.
Thus, timber frame chisels are basic tools in the carpentry of structures and buildings, the naval sector or the crafts of wood.
Best brands of timber frame chisels
Having some timber frame chisels are essential for our project to be a success. They are also a wonderful addition to our arsenal of woodworking tools. Therefore, today we compare the four best brands of chisels:
– Robert Sorby
For the most traditional and nostalgic, Robert Sorby is always a good choice. This mythical company from Sheffield (England) continues to manufacture its tools with home-grown forged steel. As they say, their products are “designed by artisans for artisans”. For this reason, for decades they have received praise for the durability and hardness of their special alloy, capable of satisfying any craftsman. This explains why it is easy to find some tool by Robert Sorby in most professional carpentry shops.
Its originality is found in the joint between the steel blade and the ash handle. Its uses a spike system, supported on a washer, which allows supporting great efforts. Even so, to find something bad in these chisels, is that this system ends up breaking the wooden handle quickly. This does not mean that it is worse than the rest, since the handle is easily replaceable, but it is a condition that we must take into account.
For years, Barr have been considered the kings of timber frame chisels. Its timeless design is the result of more than 20 years of development and refinement of steel. Thus, they elaborate a tool with excellent properties, with a resistant and long lasting edge, capable of supporting the most demanding works for years. To maintain this high standard of quality, this company forges each of its pieces by hand. It is not strange that it is the most recommended by most professionals.
Currently, they offer 3 models of this type of timber frame chisels, all of them with ash handle. If we have to choose one – although it will always depend on the demands and needs of each work. It is the most balanced and suitable for most projects. Without a doubt, it will be a tool that will pass from generation to generation.
Price: from 148€
– John Neeman (Northmen)
As we have seen other times, John Neeman is synonymous with quality and professional craftsmanship. All its products are made 100% by hand, being unique and exclusive pieces. Among the wide range of products offered, we also find timber frame chisels.
These chisels are made of 9260 steel and consist of 2% silicon content. This one is completely forged by hand, without using a pneumatic hammer, as has been done for generations. The result is a blade with a Rockwell hardness of 63-65, one of the highest we can find.
To prevent rust, the steel has been coated with the traditional mixture of beeswax, linseed oil and turpentine. For its part, the handle of elm wood has been turned by hand and protected with flaxseed. In fact, even the chisel tip protectors are made with thick handmade leather. A delight for those who are looking for a high performance tool and an exceptional finish. They are sold by units and in sets.
Price: from 160€
– Timber Tools
Finally, Timber Tools. Perhaps less known than the previous ones but it is true that, after testing their timber frame chisels, they present excellent results. It is a Canadian company that makes its products by hand, just like the previous ones. In this case, they are sold under the brand Buffalo Tool Forge, a brand that has been receiving rave reviews for years, especially for the durability of its bevel.
Their commitment to traditional craft techniques has allowed them to create high quality tools. We can buy them by units or sets.
Price: from 160€