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Old Stanley Chisels

woodripper's picture

I am trying to put together a set of Stanley 720 chisels.  Can anyone help with info on what sizes were made and markings, patent dates, pictures etc.  I can find very little about them on the web.  I am also interested in 740s and 750s but mostly in the 720s.  Will a 20 degree angle hold up to paring in hardwoods (maple, walnut, and cherry), or should I go with a 25 degree on the old chisels?


Also, how do you fit the handles to seat in the sockets?

QCInspector's picture

(post #103353, reply #1 of 9)

I have a book by John Walter, Antique & Collectible STANLEY TOOLS -A Guide to Identify and Value-. Published by The Tool Merchant.(1990 second edition.) The following info is from it, and should take care of some of your questions. I don't know if there are more current editions around.

720 Socket Chisel
Manufactured: 1930 to 1969
Sizes: 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 3/4, 1, 1-1/4, 1-1/2 inch widths
Construction: Steel shank, hickory handle
Finish: Lacquered
Uses: General purpose chisels
Average Price: $5 to $10 (Those are the 1990 prices.)

740
1930 to 1955
1/8, 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, 3/4, 1, 1-1/4, 1-1/2, 2

750
1930 to 1969
1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, 3/4, 7/8, 1, 1-1/4, 1-1/2, 1-3/4, 2

lwj2's picture

(post #103353, reply #2 of 9)

Also, how do you fit the handles to seat in the sockets?

***********

When I re-hilted an old Witherby chisel, I measured the depth of the socket, then the diameter of the bottom, the diameter of the top and turned to those specs plus a scosh on my lathe.

Good luck!

Leon

Leon Jester, Roanoke VA

HoustonHeights's picture

(post #103353, reply #3 of 9)

What is the difference between the 720, 740 and 750 chisels?  Different steel?  Different levels of quality?  Which do people prefer?


 

woodripper's picture

(post #103353, reply #4 of 9)

The 720, 740 and 750 chisels are series that vary by length going from the longest to the shortest respectively.  The 720's are firmer length with the 750's being butt chisels.  I think of the 740's as bench or cabinet chisels.   I think the 740's have  the best balance but think the 720's are cool because of their length.   As far as I can tell, the steel in all is the same, although some folks tout the ones with the "sweetheart logo".


One other thing.  These chisels have either leather washers on the handles for a cap for use with a wooden mallet or have a steel cap on the end of the handle for striking with a metal hammer.  The metal capped ones are called everlast or everlasting and have a nice fusiform tapered handle. 


If you are going to use them, I think it comes down to personal preference.  As for collecting, I am no expert.  I would like to hear from some folks who are though.  Information on the web is actually pretty scarce.  Here is one excellent link I found.


http://users.ev1.net/~gmuster/TypeStudy/everlastchisels.htm


A tip for you:


I found another way to fit the handles to the sockets that I really like since I am not a very good lather.  What works for me is to use dry graphite powder (you can find it at the key making counter at hardware stores).  Put a little of the powder in the socket and shake it around with your finger over the socket.  Dump out the excess in a tray so you can reload when necessary.  Make a small mark on the upper part of the handle lightly with a pencil so you can align it with the top of the chisel each time you put the handle in.  When you remove the handle the graphite will mark the tapered peg part of the handle where it is making contact with the socket.  Using a very sharp chisel as a scraper simply scrape off the graphite marks.  This will make a small, fine wood shaving each time.  Keep repeating this until the upper edge of the socket begins to make a ring around the peg as it seats.  Gently scrape the ring smooth as well and you will see the handle beginning to seat into the socket.  I stop when only about an eighth to a quarter of an inch is left on the tapered peg.  This allows for expansion and contraction of the wood.  If you over do it and the handle shrinks, it will be too loose.  I then lacquer the peg lightly.  Let it dry, insert it into the socket, hold the shank and give the chisel handle a couple of good firm whacks with a carver's mallet and voila!


 


Edited 4/19/2006 9:53 am ET by woodripper

bobabeui's picture

(post #103353, reply #5 of 9)

Woodripper,


Although I did not ask the question, I often wondered what the different Stanley number designations meant also. Thanks..

jimithing's picture

Corrections to previous posters info about 750 chisels (post #103353, reply #6 of 9)

well the comment about the 750, 740, 720 being firmer, butt, and bench size is incorrect, the 750 is a cabinet or bevel chisel, nut a butt chisel, and the length of the 740 is not longer than the 750, i have both, of the samwe size in NOS condition and the 750's are by NO MEANS a "butt chisel". Also the 720,740,750 all have a leather top, the statement that some are made with metal tops is again incorrect, the "everlasting chisels" that are made with metal tops (which are also made with tangs, as opposed to socket style construction) are Number 50's 40's, 20's, Everlasting Chisels have never been number with the 7, the 7 series denotes them being socket chisels, the 20, 40s, 50s like I said have a tang construction that is unlike any other tang english chisel the tang actually goes all the way through the handle and is part of the butt of the top of the chisel, it is all one peice, which is why they are said to be "everlasting" or indestructible... I actually prefer the socket design, as I believe they are more comfortable, to me the everlasting's "feel" more like "butt chisels" than the 750's or and of the 7 series. Another thing you said that was Incorrect was that you implied that the 720, 740, 750 chisels came with a sweetheart logo on them, they never did, only the Everlasting Chisels had the sweetheart logo on them for a few years during the "sweetheart" era, which Stanley never called it that, the SW is the owner of the times initials, and the marking with the SW and heart was to remember him as he passed away, so for about a decade stanley marked their planes and chisels and just about everything with SW and the heart. The best way to tell the 720, 740, and 750 apart is this: 750: Marked on the socket (up by the handle) in the lines one on top of the other: Stanley, No. 750, Made In USA. They have the Oak red lacquer handle. I have seen some with Oak clear finished handles. more about that later. 740: These Look exactly like the 750, but are marked differently, the have the Stanley logo with the rectangle around the word stanley stamped on the blade about 1/4 of the way toward the tip (on the top 1/4 of the blade) and them have just "Made in USA" stamped on the socket in the place where all the markings are on the 750's (the 750's have no stanley logo on the blade at all". These also have the oak red handle with the leather ring on the top. 720: These are the exact same marking wise as the 750's, except they are marked 720 in the place of the 750 obviously, they also have no marking on the blade. The main difference is that they are longer, and are Paring Chisels.(they are NOT firmer chisels as said by the other poster, what makes a "firmer" chisel is non-beveled blades, the edges of the blades on all stanley chisels are beveled, firmer chisels are not beveled at all) Now, here is where it gets confusing, there are also "defiance" and "D" chisels that are alot like the 7 series. Here is also where the clear coated oak handle comes from, these chisels both came with the clear coated oak handles, and when you see a 7 series with a clear handle I speculate it is a replacement taken from one of these 2 varieties. I do not believe the 7 series was ever sold with clear coated handles, but I may be wrong. I cant say for sure. The Defiance chisels are garbage, the steel is inferior, you can tell these chisels because they are marked "defiance" made in usa on the socket by the handle (in the same place as the 750's)... these like all defiance products are made of inferior materials, in mine and other peoples (one of them being chris schwarz) experience this is always true of the ones marked "defiance" THIS IS NOT however true with the "D" chisels. "D" Chisels: I believe these are "defect" 750's. They are marked in 3 lines on the socket like the 750, the difference being there is a "D" in place of the "no. 750" in the middle line. and they have the clear coated handle. I believe these are in every way as good as the 750 line. and are not made of inferior steel like the "defiance" this is argued among woodworkers though, but most people who know what there saying think the same as I do, and that is that these, no matter what the "D" means, are just as good as 750's and are made of good steel. One notion is that the D just means they came with clear handles and not polished so that they could offer them for less money (perhaps to trade schools and what not) ok, now you know everything I know about 7 series chisels. The info on "everlasting" chisels here is not really my thing, and I know there are black handled everlasting chisels also, as I mentioned I am not a fan of the Everlasting (at least this month) and so I do not know any more than what I wrote about them. Hope this helps!
Planesaw's picture

corrections to jimithing (post #103353, reply #7 of 9)

New 740s were/are indeed longer than 750s.  720s being the longest.  I have enough of all three which show that to be true.  And, that is consistent with John Walters' info. 

The letters SW in a heart were used in 1920 in celebration of the merger of the Stanley Rule and Level Company into the larger Stanley Works manufacturing company.   The SW stood for Stanley Works, but the logo became known as the sweatheart logo.  Whether it was used to honor William Hart, the head of the company for a lengthy time, may be conjecture as it seems to be repeated among some woodworkers with no reference to any Stanley documentation of such.

750s, according to John Walters -- considered one of, if not the foremost expert on Stanley tools (his book sells routinely for 150 to 250 bucks) --  were "butt" chisels and were 9 and 1/2 to 10 and 1/4 inches long, depending on the width.   I just double checked one of my "new old stock" 750s in its original Stanley box.  Says "butt chisel" on the box.

740s, according to Walters, were known as "pocket" chisels and were 12 to 12 and 1/2 inches long depending on width.

720s, according to Walters, were known as "firmer" chisels and were 13 to 15 inches long.

750s and 720s were made from 1930 to 1969.  740s were only made from 1930 to 1955.

The handles of all three models were hickory.

Older ones were marked on the socket with the following 3 lines

Stanley, No. 750  (or 720 or 740), Made in the USA

The last number of years of their being manufactured, only 750s and 720s were made, but had only two lines, leaving the No. 750/720 line off.  So, a longer chisel (a 720) without the number on it, when used and sharpened a lot could be as short as a 750 and no one would know whether it was orginally a 720 length or 750 length.  Didn't make a lot of difference as they were the same quality with only the original length being the difference.

 Alan - planesaw

Planesaw's picture

corrections to jimithing (post #103353, reply #8 of 9)

New 740s were/are indeed longer than 750s.  720s being the longest.  I have enough of all three which show that to be true.  And, that is consistent with John Walters' info. 

The letters SW in a heart were used in 1920 in celebration of the merger of the Stanley Rule and Level Company into the larger Stanley Works manufacturing company.   The SW stood for Stanley Works, but the logo became known as the sweatheart logo.  Whether it was used to honor William Hart, the head of the company for a lengthy time, may be conjecture as it seems to be repeated among some woodworkers with no reference to any Stanley documentation of such.

750s, according to John Walters -- considered one of, if not the foremost expert on Stanley tools (his book sells routinely for 150 to 250 bucks) --  were "butt" chisels and were 9 and 1/2 to 10 and 1/4 inches long, depending on the width.   I just double checked one of my "new old stock" 750s in its original Stanley box.  Says "butt chisel" on the box.

740s, according to Walters, were known as "pocket" chisels and were 12 to 12 and 1/2 inches long depending on width.

720s, according to Walters, were known as "firmer" chisels and were 13 to 15 inches long.

750s and 720s were made from 1930 to 1969.  740s were only made from 1930 to 1955.

The handles of all three models were hickory.

Older ones were marked on the socket with the following 3 lines

Stanley, No. 750  (or 720 or 740), Made in the USA

The last number of years of their being manufactured, only 750s and 720s were made, but had only two lines, leaving the No. 750/720 line off.  So, a longer chisel (a 720) without the number on it, when used and sharpened a lot could be as short as a 750 and no one would know whether it was orginally a 720 length or 750 length.  Didn't make a lot of difference as they were the same quality with only the original length being the difference.

 Alan - planesaw

Vintagetoolfan's picture

About those 740's... (post #103353, reply #9 of 9)

At the risk of wading into a debate like the one about saw nibs, does anyone have an explanation for the shallow downward curve where the face of the chisel meets the socket on the 740's? I have a lovely old 1/2" 740 (minus handle) that I recently cleaned- and tuned-up, and I've wondered about the purpose of that shape. I don't recall seeing it on 720's or 750's, although I haven't looked at many. Is this because Stanley wanted the 740 to have a slightly thinner profile than the others, so they ground the blade below the socket? Is it a place to tuck a finger under the blade? It has a vaguely trigger-like shape, but what would be the advantage? Better control? It makes me think that I were cleaning out a groove or dado with the chisel flat to the surface of the wood and reached all the way to the socket, this curve would lift the rear of the chisel upward and - presumably - lever the edge into the wood. Not that anyone is likely ever to do that, but still, why that shape?

A hearty "Well-done" to the first authoritative answer.