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  Winsted/Witherby Chisels - size curiosity by Charlie Driggs  

Despite our pronouncement of last week, this week (post Ernesto's rains) proved that all things go in cycles once again. 

A light seller's market this morning with many empty tables/spots, but roughly 1 table in four offered tools of various types.

Notably, two regular tool sellers were absent.  Now, much of what was offered fell into the 'beat up p*w*r tool' or the 'POS when it was new' categories, but there were quite a few rusty and moderately interesting items to pick through. 

Galoot Steve Kumpf had a booth, where he offered a few dozen woodies and a dozen or so metal bench and block planes, along with chisels, the wood items he offered on list a week or two ago, and what looked to be SWMBO's excess/unwanted yarn supplies, and he was getting quite a bit of action. 

I did return home with a few items, including several nearly-new Winsted/Witherby butt chisels needing handles (courtesy of Steve), breaking the drought.  A sunny, dry, and delightfully temperate morning after yesterday's soaking.

This isn't a huge problem, just a curiosity.  I'm just wondering... Has anyone else noticed this with their late production Witherby?

They were virtually NOS, sans handles, and a good buy price-wise. But I've noticed that the sizes didn't seem quite right... maybe Winsted had a little QC problem, or maybe at least one was meant to be marketed as a metric size.

The smallest one is just a tad under 7mm at 0.27 inches, but the other two measure 27+/64" (~10.8mm) and 13/32 (10.3mm), which doesn't match up well with a common 3/8" or more unusual 7/16" nominal size. 

When I bought them, I actually thought they were three "different" sizes, so the difference between the two larger ones is noticeable, but I don't believe they were intended to be graduated in 64ths. 

I checked another NOS late production Witherby / Winsted paring chisel I picked up a couple of years ago, and that one also measured a bit wide at 24/64ths or 9.7mm vs. a presumably nominal 3/8" size.

In comparison, nearly all other older chisels I have (and a couple of very new) are nearly spot on nominal size unless their edges show signs of being ground, and a few of those old ones are pre-Winsted Witherby.

The steel is good, and for butt chisels I wouldn't think size is often critical. They'll be useful even if the sizes are a bit odd. Handles are mahogany, turned from some cutoffs this morning.

As I said above, just a curiosity .... Anyone?

Charlie Driggs
Newark, DE
August, 2006

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