Full Chisel Blog

November 30, 2008

Christmas came early

Filed under: Historical Material,Laid Steel Tools,Of Interest,Proper Tools,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 8:57 pm

I was at the local swap meet/flea market today and picked up a couple of nice pieces.  One is a signed glass goblet, nice flame polished grind work with some matt details.  I paid a dollar for that one, but the real buy was for 50 cents, I paid full price for both pieces, unusual for me.

Wire Cutters1

Here is the backside, the cutter section is forged welded steel on the iron pliers.

Wire Cutters2

And what is most unusual about this pair of pliers is that they are box jointed.

Wire Cutter3

I had replaced my side joint needle nose pliers with earlier box joint versions as well as several box joint flat pliers, but I only had side joint wire cutters.  I was not certain that I would ever find a pair of box joint wire cutters, I wasn’t certain they were even made. 

Well much to my joy and excitement I found these.  Covered in nasty heavy grease, there is some surface oxidation, but they are in excellent condition after minor surface cleaning.  There are no makers marks of any kind.  I am easily amused.



  1. My stupid question: What’s a box joint?

    Comment by Joe Cottonwood — November 30, 2008 @ 10:58 pm

  2. Joe,

    Most modern pliers like tools have a side joint. In other words the two parts of the pliers are joined with a butt or saddle joint, side by side with a pivot rivet. Box joint pliers, which are an earlier construction technique where in the two handles of the pliers are joined with one side inside a mortise or box.

    It is a complicated and expensive way to make tools. The box opening has to be big enough to get the other piece through then forged down to make a tight fit. The joint can be seen in the last picture.

    I hope the description is clear.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — December 1, 2008 @ 7:02 am

  3. How in the heck do they “forge it down” when it’s not exposed (if I understand this right)?

    I have several pliers like this. I didn’t realize it was unusual.

    Comment by Joe Cottonwood — December 1, 2008 @ 10:38 am

  4. Joe
    They are still forged as two separated parts, and they are still joined by a rivet.
    Except that the two parts once assembled, inside each other (box-joint) make for a more resistant to side pulling forces, and generally these pliers resist longer to developing wooble or side play at their pivot point.

    Being more complicated to built, they are however more expensive and have long been the hallmark of a superior pair of pliers.

    Hope this help


    Comment by Robert Demers — December 1, 2008 @ 10:32 pm

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