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Chisel Handle Fix

lie Nielsen makes great chisels, I only have one complaint which could be true of all socket chisels. The handle on the 1/8″ chisel will not stay attached. I’ve tried and blogged about some of the remedies I have used to keep the chisel together. The latest was hair spray. Today while using the chisel to clean out mortises it again came apart.


After a few seconds I remembered a comment from someone posting on my blog to try droping the handle into hot water and reattach.


Taking a break I boiled some water for the handle and some tea. Then i dorped the end in for a few seconds and slammed it back together.


So far so good.

Categories: Tools
  1. March 29, 2015 at 8:36 am

    The handles on my LN chisels come off all the time. I don’t worry about it. When it starts to get loose, I just put it back together, and drop it from four or five inches onto the butt of the handle onto my bench over the leg. This seems to keep it together long enough to finish what I am working on. I think if you use socket chisels, you must live with the handles coming out occasionally, as wood moves more than steel.

    It will be interesting to see if your hot water trick works. I have held off doing this because it seems to me it might work in the short term, but eventually it will pop out again. Do you think this can be done over and over?

    • March 29, 2015 at 8:41 am

      The handles on my other LN chisels stay on most of the time. Typically I have a little trouble at the beginning of winter when the humidity drops. The 1/8 chisel handle will come off multiple times in a project and it’s at the point I’m either going to retire the handle or find a permanent fix. Seems very tight at the moment so I’ll have to report back how long it holds. Thanks for commenting

  2. March 29, 2015 at 9:14 am

    How did the tea taste after the hornbeam handle “pre-tea leaf soak”? It’s interesting about the handles, living in the desert with typically single digit humidity I anticipated problems with the handles but after many years they very rarely come loose.

  3. March 29, 2015 at 10:05 am

    you can try to heat the socket from the chisel with an hot air blower. then you fix the dry wood handle and wait for the metal to cool.

    • March 29, 2015 at 10:07 am

      Good idea, common practice at work for bearings and shafts, did not think about it applying to wood. Thanks

      • March 29, 2015 at 10:36 am

        Yes, nobody is perfect 😉

  4. March 30, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    You may want to make sure the handle is not bottoming out in the socket. When you swell the wood and push it into the handle, you are crushing the cells in the wood for friction. When the water evaporates, the wood shrinks and you are worse off than before. I would try a little beeswax on the taper of the handle just to get a little finer fit to the socket.

    • March 30, 2015 at 4:18 pm

      Another good idea, thanks

  1. April 19, 2015 at 2:00 pm

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