August 28, 2021

How to Date Marples Chisels | Age Means A Lot

Marples chisels are a good choice for a high quality, long lasting chisel. But if you are not sure how old your Marples chisel is, it can be difficult to date it. Here are a few tips to help you determine the age of your Marples chisel:

  • Check the stamp on the chisel. Marples chisels were typically stamped with the company name and logo. If you see this stamp, it’s a good indicator that your chisel is from the early 20th century.
  • Inspect the metal. Older Marples chisels were made of carbon steel, which will have a bluish tint. If your chisel is made of stainless steel, it’s likely from the mid-20th century.
  • Look at the handle. Marples chisels from the early 20th century typically had beech handles, while those from the mid-20th century had plastic or metal handles.

By following these tips, you should get a pretty good idea of how old your Marples chisel is.

When dating Marples chisels, look for quality, price range, style, shape, and handle labelling. Do not focus on one method as this can be misleading. Gather the characteristics of the chisel, create a table of expectations and match the two. Each era had its standard design and a certain level of quality. Below is a detailed explanation of how to date Marple’s chisel.



Price increases tell you the oldest and youngest Marples chisels. With time, chisels became more advanced, complex and that means an increase in prices. The chisels are difficult to date, and Marples manufacture many chisels, and they have slight differences. 


Chisels with or without handles, and you cannot date them with handles. As much as tools get better with time, you still find good quality chisels from back then. There are Blue chip chisels that have a handle marking that you slot into the dating order. They also come with a Grey plastic edge keeper. The mark on the handle is a surface application that is not pressed into the handle. 


It becomes hard to date chisels based on quality. More advanced chisels came later, but if there is nothing else to prove the date, one has to give an estimate. The degradation of the chisel tells you that it has been in the game for a while. The tapered necks cannot be precise, but they give you a clue. If there are no markers on the blade, try other methods. The change of quality did not compromise the performance of the chisels. Marples was trying to bring better chisels.

Blade type

At times the chisels come with different metal blades that have a date. The date tells you when the chisels were made based on the manufacturing date of the chisel blade. Change in blade designs helps you date Marples chisels. Chisels made earlier by Marple have electro-etching on the chisel blade and a semi-oval mark labeled Marples in the handle.


There is a specific design made at a certain period. That is how it becomes easy for users to date designs. What makes a chisel design is its length and size. If you can tell when a chisel design was made, it becomes easy to date the chisels. However, some designs lasted for years, and there are higher chances of mistaken dates. The solution comes in looking at all features that make the chisel. They have to match a single date with the design. 


Style markings help you allocate your chisel to a date. However, the method is confusing. Some chisels have the marking in a plastic bag and some on the handle. That tells a different story, and it can be the same style in the same year indicated times. 

Older chisels have longer grass ferrules than new chisels. The ferrules onto the wooden handle, and there was no need for punching it onto the brass to hold it in place. Older chisels do not indicate England, but they show that they were from Sheffield. 


A law that demands every tool manufactured or sold to the UK to indicate the country of origin was set. After 1980, boxwood-handled chisels appeared to have split ferrules, and that was due to the moisture on the boxwood that caused expansion resulting in splits. The wood had moisture inside after manufacturing.

The shape of the neck

It is difficult to tell when the chisel neck changed from a square profile to around, but it was around 1952. The round neck also changed to a tapered one, and it disappeared slowly due to the introduction of new models. 

Plastic edge guards in rectangular shapes indicate that the Marple chisel was earlier and marked on the sides. They were available in multiple colors, and that tells you not to date them according to color. Later versions were sloped down to the cutting edge and marked Marple England on the sides.

Early chisels were hammer forged and had a square neck, whereas the latter had a round neck. After 1930, some of the chisels were forged except for Firmer chisels, and they have a round neck. Early chisels have multiple stamps on the blade, and later chisels have the chisel stamps on the etching. A brass Ferrel is on the early chisel. 

When did Marples start making chisels?

Photography was not popular when Marples introduced chisels, and that made the dating process hard. Chisels were named Hibernia in 1875 and Trefoil from 1875 onwards, but there were no marks to prove when they were made. 

Marbles started making chisels around 1860 since the project has been proved feasible. It started competing with thriving and popular tools that were already on the market. Chisels were sold in sets so that they cover a wide range of applications. 

Large and complex tools made in 1873, there are the Bevelled Edge chisels in the catalog, but there is no shape or style of handle that can be traced, making it hard to date. During that time, some chisels by homeowners were made the same chisels. 

What follows is another round of chisels without handles, and that is confusing again. They were around for a while and with chisels with gouges, and the Octagon chisel handle lasted for a few years, and there is no evidence to this day to show for it. 

The design was not comfortable to use, and it was not affordable to make. The 7530-Kensington pattern chisel handles quickly disappeared. It had a comfortable handle. Chisels with stylish handles came, and they were short-lived. More chisels are found in catalogs to show dates.

Are Marples Chisels good?

The performance is impressive, and they are serviceable. They need proper maintenance, and that includes sharpening and flattening well before use. Avoid dropping the tool since it is of hardened steel. A refined edge protects the Dremel tool against chipping. The handle shape and size are durable. 

They are sharp, and they hold the edge well. They are great value, heavy-duty tools that come in an organizing box. The handles are durable and well made, but users with big hands will have a tough time using the Dremel tool. The handles are of durable plastic. 

It is a high-quality tool made of Solid Forged High Carbon Steel, hardened to 58-HRC for durability and blade retention. The chisels make a good starter set that is ideal for beginners. The hard case keeps your Dremel tool safe and organized. You do not have to hunt for your tools. There is a balance between quality and price. You also see How to Repair a Chipped Chisel.

David D. Hughes

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