If you want to chisel all the fluff around hand tools down to the raw basics, there are two types of hand tools in this world: practical and creative.
Now, within these general segments there are dividers; there’s the cheap and nasty brands that are better at bashing in nails than cleaning out corners, there’s also the budget yet surprisingly capable European brands that will retain a sharp edge and won’t need resharpening to the point of exhaustion, but they’re not going to win you the Archibald.
Then there’s the top drawer Michaelangelo’s-David-type stuff – you probably know the type we're talking about. They're made by blokes (and the old types are pretty much always blokes) and women are about as PC as a spit roast at a vegan festival. They know a piece of fine steel almost by looking at it, always hand-forged in traditional smitheries by time-honoured men in stained clothes. Heat-treated by companies that got their start before the Great War and who's new guy started there 20 years ago, the sort of pub-after-work types that view computers as a dangerous modern development.
Crown are a company mostly made up by these types. Now you may or may not value the story behind a chisel, but one thing we should all recognise is the incredible craftmanship these companies still maintain; if woodworking is a reminder of our past, they are truly one of the few remaining remnants of a simpler, more beautiful time.
There is a Season to Turn, Turn, Turn
The Crown turning tool range is one of the broadest in the world with tools for serious turners. There are multiple steel types that are available and in Australia the current range offered includes the M2 high speed steel (HSS) as well as the Cryogenic Steel range. The M2 high speed steel is sourced from an Austrian steel mill and imported to Sheffield to be turned into both standard high-speed steel and Cryogenic Steel chisels. The steel is either forged, ground or shaped using a mixture of traditional and modern machinery - each process is carefully developed to ensure outstanding quality and consistency, even if it takes a little longer to do some processes by hand - it is still done this way so you can get the best chisel.
All tools are heat-treated normally in the heart of Sheffield and then the M2 and the Cryogenic Chisels take a slightly different path. The M2 range is polished, with handles attached and are ready for use. On the other hand, the Cryogenic chisels take a slightly different path.
Crown Cryogenic Steel Chisels
The Crown Cryogenic range are high quality turning tools with a difference. Using cryogenically treated tools means that now you can turn more and sharpen less often. The tools are made from M2 Steel that are heat treated normally then taken down to temperatures as low as -185°C which changes the molecular structure of the steel.
The two main crystals in tooling steel are the larger and softer austenite and the smaller, more stable martensite. Normal heat treatment seeks to transform the austenite to martensite to produce steel with good wear characteristics and an amount of ductile properties.
The cryogenic process greatly enhances and accelerates the austenic transformation. Another benefit is that at these extreme temperatures, fine ‘eta’ carbides are formed within the carbon structure. Growing very slowly and only at these very low temperatures, ‘eta’ carbides are extremely small and act as a ‘filler’ between the other crystals in the metal.
The combined effect of heat treatment and cryogenic processing is to produce a refined crystal structure in your hand tool that will give a lifetime’s service by producing a blade that will retain its edge longer and give a superior ‘feel’ in use.
All Crown Cryogenic Turning Tools are finished with beautiful black Ash handles.
How Many Chisels is Too Many?
The Crown range of chisels is one of the broadest with a tool to suit just about every job you need to do whilst turning. They can be split up into a few major groups -
- Bowl Gouges
- Spindle Gouges
- Detail Gouges
- Roughing Gouges
- Standard Parting Tools
- Diamond Parting Tools
- Bead & Part Tools
- Skew Chisels
- Round Nose Scrapers
- Square End Scrapers
- Domed Nose Scraper
- Hook Nose Scraper
- Bowl Finishing Scrapers
- Multi-Tip Scraper
- Dovetail Scraper
- Spiralling/Texturing Tools
- Revolution Hollowing Tools
- Chinese Ball Tool Set
- Three Point Tools
So when you are serious about your turning, think Crown Turning Tools.