Saturday, November 26, 2016

chisels and Nääs

I heard from my friend Hans Thorjbörnsson, historian at Nääs about chisels, as I had sent him images of the chisel that Jonas Jensen sent me.
He wrote:
The steel blade of the chisel is of course the original one, probably from the period 1900-1920. The tools sold by Naas were mostly bought in parts from different producers in Sweden, Germany, England and perhaps more countries. But the wooden parts were often manufactured at Naas by craftsmen living in the neighbourhood. (sloydbenches, planes, handles etc.)

The very robust handle we discuss is definitely a replacement from the second half of the twentieth century. It has an elegant shape, it has the two strengthening metal rings. The handles of the Salomon era, were entirely made by wood resting upon the shoulder of the metal blade. No strengthening metal rings as far as I have seen in pictures and from what I remember from the tool-collection at Naas.

My grandfather was a rather skilful sloyder in his leisure time during these same years. I have inherited his chisels and their handles are of the same Naas type, just wood, no strengthening metal, rather angular, simple design.
Jonas Jensen had suggested that the handle was one made to fit a file, that was then added as a ready replacement. I've decided that it is far more robust than would be required for sloyd work. So the question arises, should I replace it with one more delicately crafted and fitting the type of work done at Nääs?

Make, fix, create, and show others how to learn likewise.


  1. Hi Doug

    I think that you should replace the handle.
    There has to be some species of wood native to Arkansas that will have the right properties for a chisel handle.
    I think that birch was used extensively by E.A. Berg, but maybe there is another wood that you like better.

    I would think it very fitting that the chisel get a new local grown and custom made handle as a reward for such a long journey: From Naäs to a tumbled life without too much use, and finally to your workshop in Eureka Springs.
    I am just guessing on the little used part, but that is based on the amount of steel left in the chisel.


  2. Jonas, the chisel as you note, had received careful use, and is deserving a new handle made more on the order of what was made and used at Nääs. Again, I thank you for it. It will be fun re-handling it, and the discussion with Hans brings an important part of history to light. Hans is now 83 and has his grandfather's collection of chisels. History passes quickly and must be kept sharp if it is to be of any use to us.

  3. Whatever you do with the handle, that chisel deserves to be used a lot.

  4. It will be, after I get it really sharp!