THE MYSTERIOUS C. MAIERS

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On the left in this image of carving gouges I’ve re-handled is a tool with the imprint “C. Maiers”. The metal shank is short and it had an equally short handle making it difficult to control. Adding a longer than normal handle recreates something close to the original length making it easier to grasp. About a #4 sweep and with a fishtail cutting edge, it’s the perfect tool for creating serifs when carving Roman letters.

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I have at least a half a dozen gouges by C. Maiers. They are all relatively short and delicate and have no bolsters. I have not seen a large gouge or a gouge made with a bolster marked by C. Maiers though I assume they might exist.

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The gouges I own and have run across elsewhere are for the most part fishtails, shortbents and small veining gouges.

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The shanks are square and have prominent hand file marks, similar to the appearance of tools produced by Addis Senior and Junior and others in the middle of the 19th century.  The only information on a C. Maier, a carving tool maker who may have made these tools, is from a 1928 catalogue labeled C. Maier & Sons, Newark, New Jersey, Established 1884. Is this the company that made these gouges and are they no earlier than 1884? Do tools marked C. Maier & Sons exist? Did C. Maier make tools before his sons entered the business marking his tools with only his name? I have never seen a tool with the imprint “C. Maiers & Sons. I’d love to hear if anyone has researched these firm/firms and has information that could add to the historical record concerning this carving tool manufacturer in Newark and the surviving marked tools.

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It appears that C. Maiers used at least two sizes of stamps to imprint the tools.

By the 1880’s Ward & Payne, makers of the Addis line of carving gouges, were producing tools with rounded shanks. Hand file marks for the most part were ground and polished out of the shanks of tools from the large manufacturers. The backs of larger gouges did show grinding scratches from the large, poweredgrinding wheels used to shape them. In contrast, the C. Maier gouges appear more like a hand-made object, the kind of gouge you might make for yourself from a square steel bar in a small forge. Were tools like this still being made in the 1920’s in large enough numbers to be sold through a catalogue?

7 thoughts on “THE MYSTERIOUS C. MAIERS

  1. Hello.

    I’m new to carving and looking to fill my roll with good new and classic tools. I was wondering if you could tell me how your Maiers hold up in various hard and soft woods.

    Thank you!

    • I find them to be the equal of any other historic carving gouges such Addis, etc. If the gouge is in good shape you should be able to get it into condition to work well in any wood. They typically are found in small sizes, 99% of the time without bolsters so they’re not used with a mallet or used to take large amounts of wood away quickly. Most of the dozen or more I own get used as mostly for finishing cuts. Their fishtails shapes tend to be found more frequently than other historic brands and their small front bents are fairly common as well making them a very useful brand when purchasing historic carving gouges.

      Chris

  2. Pingback: Chips and Shoulders | In Proportion to the Trouble

    • I have some relatively large Maiers chisels and none of them have bolsters. But Maiers was undoubtedly making fine detail chisels for the market at a time when carving was moer common, I have about thirty of them and would love to have more. They are a high quality steel that holds an edge and other than Ioyoroi made the best micro chisels I have found. And I would love to know their origin. I have assumed for years that they were French because the first of them that I aquired were in an antique store in France.

  3. Interesting. I have about 14 of the maiers tools, and a good amount of older addis including Finsbury in a smaller hook type and a large spoon with gravel lane address…However I also have one that doesnt look like a C. Maiers but D Maiers further up from JB Addis and sons stamp…any help? I have pics if interested. Thanks,
    Jon G

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