Reply by CaptainKlutz

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Posted on Irwin Marples or Narex Premium?

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3835 posts in 2411 days

#1 posted 09-13-2019 01:57 AM

+1 If money is concern, buy best quality chisels in only the sizes you use most; and keep a set of cheaper chisels with more sizes for general furniture work, and last but not least; a set of garage sale beater plastic handled Stanley/Buck Bros for general carpentry work.

+1 Chisels are shaped for different tasks. Buy/use the right kind for the task. I.E.
: Firmer chisel with wide sides, or small side bevel don’t work well on dovetails.
: Tapered beveled sides don’t work well in in large dovetails.
: Mortise chisels use flat sides to provide max leverage wedging out wood from mortise.
: Paring chisels need a different balance then striking chisel.
: etc, etc, etc.
+1 Am another idiot who owns many different brands of chisels.
: My personal experience with different brands is reasonably close to the results in the Fine woodworking Chisel review(s) from Issue #139, Nov/Dec 1999 & Issue #200, Sept/Oct 2008, except in 2008: Narex was over rated. Both the blue handled Irwin and Narex in my collection are used the least as they stink at edge retention, at least compared to my other choices. The edges are also prone to chipping in harder woods, especially if you attempt higher sharpening angles (32-35 degree) for paring work. Use a 25 degree bevel, and they work better.
- Current generation Stanley 750 chisels are waste of money. The have a premium price, but perform no better than any other of the $50-80 chisel sets. The antique Stanley 750 have much better steel, which provides better edge retention. But you often have to restore garage sale finds to get them.

As far as other options:

- My longest edge retention beater chisels are from Footprint. If you can find the wood handled versions anywhere, buy them! I paid $20 for set of four on sale. Perform better than any of the more expensive mid-range chisels, regardless if whether UK, German, or Swiss steel.

- When it comes to dovetails, my preference is Japanese chisels? That sort of makes me weird, maybe?
I like the balance, and they work well for me. Picked up a 10 pc set of Grizzly on Black Friday special for $99; was biggest bargain ever. The edge retention is only exceeded by chisels costing much more. (like Fujikawa HSS, Ouchi, or Veritas PM11 in my collection)

Using chisels is very personal experience. There are different styles, and different hands doing the work. Suggest you buy a couple different chisel brands with different handle styles, and blades; so you better pick type you want to spend money for an entire set later? You might find you like Japanese style chisel too? :-)

Best Luck

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

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