Low Cost, High quality chisels

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Review by Tony posted 11-06-2009 09:21 PM 17200 views 2 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Low Cost, High quality chisels Low Cost, High quality chisels Low Cost, High quality chisels Click the pictures to enlarge them

Narex Chisels

These wonderful chisels (Model # 8101 & 8105) are manufactured by NAREX, the company is located within the European Union in the Czech Republic, here is the link to Narex website. This link will take you to the correct pages in English.

The chisels are made from Mn-Cr (magnesium-chrome) steel and are hardened to 59Hrc and manufactured in accordance with the European standard DIN5139 (Firmer chisels with tang). These chisels were reported by Fine Woodworking magazine, Sep/Oct 2008 and were given the Best Value chisel against a large number of better known competitors.

After reading this article, I was pleased to find that my local store, Plektra Trading Helsinki had the same chisels available – so I purchased a set of 6 in a nice box (6, 10, 12, 16, 20, 26 mm), in order to evaluate them.

Out of the box, I found that the back of the chisels were quite flat, the bevel was ground to 25° and the blades were coated in a light protective coating. the bevels along the left and right edges of the chisel were ground very precisely and were at a very good angle for dovetail work. The handles are made from European beach (traditional wood for tools) with metal ferules at the end, my preferred version had the dark stained handles.

Sharpening and performance: The backs flattened quite quickly starting with 1000 grit water stone, the bevels were just tuned up with some 4000 grit and a small micro bevel was introduced (about 28°). Chopping into Hard maple does damage the edge quickly (as with 99% of all chisels), but using the tools correctly and paring and slicing, the cutting edge is maintained for a significant amount of time, only requiring re-honing now and again. I found the handles to be quite large compared to some other chisels, but they are really comfortable hold and control.

I have been using this set of 6 chisels for a good 6-8 months with absolutely no problems or regrets. Since this time I have increased my collection of sizes, I have now added the 8, 18, 32 & 40 mm to my collection.

Today I received 3 more of these chisels for evaluation 3, 4 & 5 mm (Approx 1/8”, 5/32” &, 3/16”) these will be used mainly inlay and very fine work.

I have also purchased 3 mortise chisels (model # 8112) from there site; 6, 8 & 10 mm. These chisels were built to the same high standard as the bevel chisels. The cutting edge is 6, 8 & 10 mm wide, but the top edge of the chisel is slightly bevelled (about 0.5mm), which helps to stop the blade being wedged in the mortise. The ground bevel was at 25°, but this time I reground the micro bevel to 32° , these chisels really keep a sharp edge even when chopping into hard maple or even Jatoba.

These chisels will become my main set of chisels for daily use and my old set of expensive chisels (not so good a quality) will be re-ground to make speciality chisels as needed or plane irons.

A definite 5/5 and highly recommended for beginners or professionals alike


I am currently chopping out through – mortises (38mm x 76mm x 100mm) in some extremely hard and knotty white oak – the edges of the chisels have not yet needed re-sharpening after completing 10 of these mortises – the steel used and tempering/hardening is excellent, I may re-hone the edges tomorrow (not grind) just to get a super finish on the inside faces of the mortises.

The 3, 4 & 5 mm versions I received for evaluation were excellent, I will post a fuller review on these items if and when they go into production.

If you are having problems getting a hold of these chisels (all the sizes) send me an e-mail, I may be able to help you out.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View Tony's profile


994 posts in 4798 days

14 comments so far

View mgd48's profile


3 posts in 4141 days

#1 posted 11-06-2009 10:18 PM

Highland Hardware Atlanta has the 6 piece set for $60 which is interesting since the Narex site sells them at todays exchange rate for $35. I guess s&h will make a difference :-)

View Routerisstillmyname's profile


763 posts in 4277 days

#2 posted 11-06-2009 11:11 PM

Thanks for the info.been looking for a reasonable set.

-- Router è ancora il mio nome.

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 4481 days

#3 posted 11-07-2009 03:02 AM

I bought this set, or rather all these sizes, by getting the 4-set and the two extra chisels and avoiding the cost of the box. I later added the 10mm mortise chisel and expect to be adding a couple of the wider ones later this winter. Unlike Tony I have very little experience with chisels and using these has been an entire education in itself. Everything that he has said is 100% on. I Can’t understand how anyone could want anything other than these. They have served to reinforce My conviction that for really good steel tools, go europe

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View Dusty56's profile


11858 posts in 4456 days

#4 posted 11-07-2009 05:31 AM

Nice review Tony : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View blackcherry's profile


3344 posts in 4591 days

#5 posted 11-07-2009 07:07 AM

Thank Tony for your review, I been looking at these same chisel for quiet some time and now I might pull the trigger on the purchase. I need a every day set of chisel and your review confirms what I’ve been reading and hearing, again thanks for your time and efforts….Blkcherry

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Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4643 days

#6 posted 11-07-2009 07:34 AM

Good review! I’ll have to look around and see if these are available in my area.

-- -- --

View rozzi's profile


323 posts in 4090 days

#7 posted 11-07-2009 02:02 PM

Good review and I appreciate the information. Been looking for a decent set of chisels with wood handles without spending a ton of money.

-- Duane, Iowa

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 4790 days

#8 posted 11-07-2009 03:08 PM

I am tempted to place an order with them.
That’s excellent value and the attention to detail is refreshing as well.
Thanks for the review Tony.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Tony's profile


994 posts in 4798 days

#9 posted 11-07-2009 03:27 PM

Hi guys

I do not think that you will be disappointed if you do buy these chisels. They have really made a big difference in the way I work (less trips to the sharpening station).

The only minor down side (for our IMPERIAL buddies) is that these chisels are metric and not quite full equivalents of the standard imperial sizes I.e 1/4” =, 3/8” = 9.53 mm, 1/2” = 3/4” = 19.05 mm, which means in most cases you may have to use a chisel that are up to 0.5 mm (3/128”) to 1.5 mm (1/16”) smaller, saying that I can live with it, I am so used to mixing imperial and metric on the same project now, I do not think I could work purely in one or the other any more.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4866 days

#10 posted 11-08-2009 06:22 AM

They look pretty nice Tony. You making a return trip to the US any time soon?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Tony's profile


994 posts in 4798 days

#11 posted 11-08-2009 10:40 AM

Hi Wayne: We keep trying too, but something always seems to get in the way. work, teaching, family commitments or projects (everything is last minute)

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4590 days

#12 posted 11-08-2009 05:36 PM

Thanks for the review, Tony. I have been using a set that I bought many years ago that are not high quality tools (I bought them based on price alone) and see where I would benefit from a better set. I will have to see if there is a distributor in my area.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View mpmitche's profile


428 posts in 3744 days

#13 posted 05-14-2010 04:45 AM

I just placed an order at Highland for the set of mortise chisels. I can’t wait to try them out, thanks for the review I would not have ordered them if I had not found someone that liked them first.

-- Mike, Western New York

View Tony's profile


994 posts in 4798 days

#14 posted 02-05-2019 10:49 AM

Hello strangers, I have just been going through the site, and reading things I have missed.

My Narex Range of chisels is still growing (and their range of chisels has increased) and I have not had to replace any yet, although I have not been undertaking any fine wood working for quite some time. I am hoping to start again with some not so fine new projects this spring, such as a new tool cabinet, doors for my new workshop, new stairs for the house and a few other larger projects.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

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