Replacing Lie-Nielsen mortise chisel handle


A few weeks ago the original Hornbeam handle of my ½” Lie-Nielsen mortise chisel expired as pictured. Being smashed constantly with a shop made Ysterhout mallet does not seem to agree with Hornbeam’s constitution. Ysterhout (Olea capensis macrocarpa) at a Janka side hardness of 10,050–13,750 N and Janka end hardness of 9780–14,200 N makes Hornbeam feel like a marshmallow. It thus made sense to turn the new handle out of Ysterhout, which I duly did.

I quote from a bit of interesting info on this species for you from the website indicated below.

Uses and cultural aspects
An authoritative source (Mabberley, 2008) informs us that ironwoods have the heaviest known timber, with a recorded specific gravity of 1.49. In other words, the timber of these trees sinks like a stone when put into water. Ironwood timber has long been respected, but its weight and hardness have to some extent limited its popularity, and it is not as widely encountered in antique furniture as, say, stinkwood, yellowwood or Indian teak. However, Hartwig (1973) reports the existence of antique ploughs and harrows made at least partly of ironwood. The limited use implied by Hartwig fits well with Von Breitenbach’s (1974) observation that the early foresters left a disproportionate number of large black ironwood trees standing, because with only hand-powered tools, it was much more profitable to go after yellowwood and stinkwood – for the effort involved in felling and removing one ironwood, they could process several of the other trees. Nonetheless, Von Breitenbach reports that the wood is suitable for sleepers, piles, flooring and veneers. One can imagine that the objection to making furniture out of the solid wood is that the results would be so heavy as to be almost immovable. The use of these trees for firewood, and (while living) for shelterbelts and as ornamentals is recorded.



I though I would turn two while I am at it.


Straight after being seated.




After a bit of pounding.




Thanks for commenting on Je ne sais quoi Woodworking

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.