More Swedish Chisel Brands

After a late night of Internet searches, I found a surprising number of new Swedish chisel brands. I’ve added them to my list on my Swedish Chisels page, but thought it was worth highlighting here.

Castor Chisels were an interesting find. They are a typical-looking Swedish chisel that comes from Eskilstuna, Sweden. They are another participant  in the Swedish chisel “Beaver” theme. “Castor” means “beaver” in Spanish, French, and perhaps some other languages too. The label on the handle contains the phrases “MADE IN SWEDEN” and “FABRICADO EN SUECIA” (“FABRICATED IN SWEDEN” in Spanish).

I don’t know who manufactured them. They look like the typical Swedish tanged bench chisel.



Beneath “CASTOR” are two lines. The first line says: “LINDÉN? and LINDSTRÖM AB” which is presumably the name of the company that distributed the chisels. The second line , “GOTHENBURG . SWEDEN” is their location.


The stamp on the above chisel didn’t come out too well, so I’ve included another help give a better idea of what it looks like.



Many woodworkers do not get very excited about plastic-handled chisels, even if they are good quality. I don’t know about the quality of the General Tools Carpenter Brand chisels shown below, but I’m including them because they are stamped “General Tool Eskilstuna Sweden” on the chisel blades. (I do not have a decent photo of the blade imprint).

“Carpenter Brand” is stamped in cursive into the handles of this set of tanged butt chisels.



The information on Homestrand chisels is a bit sketchy. They have “Made in Sweden” Stamped on the back of the blade, like several other Swedish chisel brands. Unfortunately, I don’t have a clear photo of that stamp yet.

Here is a set of Homestrand tanged bench chisels.



Here is a set of Homestrand tanged butt chisels.


The Swallow Brand add to the wildlife theme. They are typical Swedish-style chisels in every way and are made in Eskilstuna, Sweden according to their bright handle decal.





Torshälla Smide is a distinctly Swedish name for a chisel brand.  Torshälla is the name of a town  located just northwest of the city of Eskilstuna, Sweden in Eskilstuna Province. And “Smide” is the Swedish word for”forging” as in metal forging.


Torshälla is where Eskilstuna Steel was located at one time. Eskilstuna Steel manufactured a number of brands of chisels, including Eskilstuna Steel Garanti, Esteel, and Gensco. I don’t know at this time if Eskilstuna Steel had anything to do with the Torshälla Smide brand.

This brand was sort of an unusual find. It came from a set of six chisels that came from an estate.  Although all six chisels appear to match, only the two largest chisels had the Torshälla Smide imprint stamped on their blade. The other four had “Eskilstuna Made in Sweden” imprinted there.

Torshälla Smide_WP_550px1

Torshälla Smide_WP_550px2

Torshälla Smide_WP_550px3

Torshälla Smide_WP_550px4

So … another interesting find and set of clues, but lots of unanswered questions, too.

I also discovered a Waern chisel with a plastic handle that had the Sollidan name and logo on it. The Waern stamp on the blade and the Solliden logo shows some sort of relationship between the two, but I’m not clear on the specifics.





18 comments on “More Swedish Chisel Brands
  1. Randall Nelson says:

    One of the companies from Torshalla was Gensco, which in the US was listed as General Steel Company or Corporation. Besides chisels, they also made pre-fabricated sheet metal commercial buildings and were advertising in Popular Mechanics in the 40’s and 50’s. Best- Randall Nelson

  2. Birch says:

    Yes. Gensco chisels were made by Eskilstuna Steel in Torshälla, Sweden … just north of the city of Eskilstuna. The “Eskilstuna Steel” imprint often shows up on Gensco chisel blades.

    I believe that the General Steel company was the U.S. distributor for Gensco chisels. I’ve found many of the Popular Mechanics ads for Gensco chisels and have them stashed away for a future posting. 🙂

  3. Randall Nelson says:

    Looking at my collection today I noticed something- I only have one Gensco with an original handle that has a pristine label. In fine print at the bottom of the label it says “printed in USA”. The labels must have been put on in the factory, but printed in the US and shipped to Sweden? Was our printing industry that advanced, or that much more affordable back then? Another piece of the puzzle to unravel!

    • Birch says:

      The “printed in USA” information is interesting. I was unaware of that.

      Another option to also consider may be that the Swedish chisel manufacturer (Eskilstuna Steel) shipped unlabeled handles to the Gensco distributor in the U.S. and the distributor then applied the labels.

  4. Randall Nelson says:

    In looking at my collection, especially at the handles and how they are made, it becomes apparent that there were at least 2 different companies making wooden handles and selling them to the Swedish chisel makers. One worked primarily in Masur Birch and used a pair of fine offset knurlings on the brass ferrules and is typically found on EA Berg and Jernbolaget chisels; the other used primarily beech wood and a pair of vertical knurlings on the ferrules and is what I term the Solliden handle. It tends to be found on all of the less well-known brands. I have read that Berg had their own handle factory, which may indicate why their tool handles tended to have a finer finish and better wood. Also- many Jerbolaget handles, especially early ones, have retaining pins above the hammer ring, rather than tiny nails through holes drilled in the ring. I have never seen this feature on any other companies’ handles, except for one very early 2″ Berg that I have that also has the pins above the ring. There is no sticker on the handle, so possibly the blade and the handle were purchased separately or Berg was still experimenting with how they wanted to fabricate their handles. After all, Jernbolaget is the older company and had probably been the one who established the handle style everyone later came to use.

    • Birch says:

      When looking at handles in general, I’ve notice a couple of things. At least some of the the chisel manufactures offered chisel handle options, including no handle (just the blade), “curly birch” (Masur birch) handles, or regular birch handle. “Curly birch” handles were the most most expensive option. I’ve never seen beech mention as an option.

      I’m digesting the other information you sent on chisel handles. It’s very helpful and insightful. I want to take a quick look and compare it to my own small collection of chisels and large collection of photos. 🙂

  5. Randall Nelson says:

    I know no one mentions beech as a wood for Swedish handles, but once you know what it looks like it is easy to distinguish. It was the standard wood that was used on most of the English and American plane bodies from the 19th century. It is softer and was probably cheaper and more available than the native Scandinavian birch, which was always in limited supply whether curly or straight grained. Of course, the next step from there was the move to plastic. Also- have you seen any Svea chisels? I have a set of 10, and the finish on the steel is excellent- certainly as good as Berg. The sticker on the handles is a green background with a gold crown and a ribbon that says Svea. The stamp says “Svea- made in Sweden” with no indication of where. I think it is interesting that you have an image of a Castor chisel that is stamped Eskilstuna, since the label says Gothenberg. I have 3 Castors, 2 with labels- all are just stamped “made in Sweden” on the blade. Since the beaver image on the label is identical with the well known Beaver Brand image, maybe Gothenberg is yet another source for these “Swedish Pattern” chisels.

    • Birch says:

      I had a look through my chisels and photos and see lots with beech handles. I have a full set of Solliden chisels with beech handles. I looked at photos of Homestrand chisels and they are clearly beech, too. There are others, too, although I haven’t come across any Jernboalget, Berg, or Eskilstuna Steel “house brand” chisels yet that have beech handles. Still, it appears that beech was commonly used.

      I have never seen a Svea chisel. I’ve added them to my list. That’s another brand whose decal/logo and blade stamp I’d like to see.

      For the Castor chisels, I had assumed that the distributor for them was in Gothenberg, although I have nothing firm to base that on. It’s really just speculation on my part.

  6. Randall Nelson says:

    I had a set of Homestrand chisels and sold them to a friend who is a woodworker that needed some good chisels. They looked like another typical set of Solliden style chisels with beech wood handles, very similar to the “Handy” chisels in style and finish. By the way, I believe that brand is named for the town of Holmstrand in Sweden.

  7. Randall Nelson says:

    Another observation- I got a Homestrand tang Chisel today and while cleaning the blade I noticed something- a line, indented into the flat side of the blade, about 3/4″ below where the blade flares to form the shaft. Probably made from a clamp that held the steel during forging. I knew I had seen that before and started looking at other brands in my collection and immediately found the exact same mark on two Solliden chisels, but NOT on any Bergs, or Toledo or Gensco. I will keep looking through my collection, but I think this is at least as significant as your discovery of the same stamps on the blade backs of different brands. Similar forging marks indicate blades being made in the same shop, with the same equipment. I believe Solliden and Homestrand were both economy brands, being made for the department stores of the day, such as Walgreens and Sears. they didn’t bother to go to the extra cost of smooth grinding the backs of the blades the way Berg and Jernbolaget and even Svea, Castor and Toledo blades are finished. I’ll look into this further this weekend and let you know what I find.

    • Birch says:

      Thanks, Randall. I sent you an e-mail on October 28, but I’m guessing that you haven’t seen it. If you’d like to establish e-mail contact, please go to the “Contact” area of this Web site and send me a brief note. I’ll reply and then we’ll have each other’s e-mail address.

      I have seen that indented mark that you mentioned. I’ll check my chisels and tell you which Brands I see it on. That is another great way to link these chisels to a particular manufacturer or foundry.

  8. Randall Nelson says:

    A little info about Waern chisels- I have 2 of them and one is virtually identical to the plastic handle one you show, with the same Solliden stamp on the handle and same WAERN made in Sweden stamp on the back of the blade, no stamp on the flat side. I also have a wood handle that says Waern/Sweden in silver lettering on a red background shaped like a diamond, but wirh rounded corners. The blade has NO Swedish stamp, but says instead: ABCO HARDWARE of LYNNWOOD NE68184 61104 Abco Hardware still exists and is based in Lynnwood, California. However, I have no idea what the numbers mean. I have another chisel that seems to be made for a hardware company, also. It is stamped Eskilstuna- Sweden- K.C. SEELBACH CO. Above this, in a circle is stamped SEEL BRAND TOOLS- Best by Test
    The handle is a standard Solliden style handle, no sticker. Thought you might be interested in this as a new brand for your list!

  9. Randall Nelson says:

    A little more about K. C. Seelbach co.- They were primarily a cutlery company, as was Jernbolaget. I have seen several straight razors from Seelbach, and all say Eskilstuna, so either they were a Swedish company or they were using Swedish steel for their blades. Either way, the quality of the steel they were using is what they were selling to their customers.

  10. patrick says:

    Ooh Im running down to my man cave to look something up , have a box with what looks like those general tools , carpenter brands , never used… original box has slight damage…

  11. David Jones says:

    I worked for ABCO Hardware & Builders Supply at 4339 E Imperial Hwy in Lynwood California in the early 70’s. It was owned by the founders son, Gerald (Gerry) Stanton Goldberg, who built a multi-store building contractors supply from what had been his fathers hardware business. I’m sure that the stamped chisels pictured above were sold pre-60’s and possibly much earlier when his father operated the family business.
    The business was closed as Gerry retired and no one in the family wanted to carry on with it. The White Cap line of stores copied Gerry’s concept and are still in business. I believe that Gerry is still alive and resides in the Los Angeles area; he must be in his late 80’s or early 90’s. I will mention that he was a dynamic leader and one of the best employers I ever had.

    • Birch says:

      Sounds like you enjoyed that job and your employer, David. That’s great!

      Your story is also an interesting bit of history. Thanks for sharing it.

      I’m not sure which brand of chisels you’re referring to. If you could mention them by brand name, that would be very helpful.


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