Wood River - WoodRiver 4 Piece Butt Chisel set (Rating: 5)

If you cut as sloppy as I do, it is always nice to have a good set of paring/gouging/shaving chisels. I wanted a set butt chisels even back when I was strictly using machinery for woodworking. Butt chisels are really nice for using one handed. I have known about these WoodRiver chisels for a while, but never bothered with them due to alot of negative reviews. I stopped by my local WoodCraft yesterday looking for a piece of Beechwood for a mallet head that I want to make. I happened to see these as I was walking through the aisle, and saw that they were on sale for $29.00. Impulse got the best of me once again.

I took them home and cleaned them up. My intiial impression was that they were well made. The machining is consistent throughout the set. I did not find the uneven bevels on the backs of the blades, or that the cutting edge not squared up… as I had read about. The handles have that nice ball knob for fitting into your palm, and they fit nice and tight to the sockets. You can use a mallet with these, but they are intended more for using by hand. ( I think ) I did give the 3/4" chisel some heavy whacks on some red oak for curiosity, and they are solid.

About the only negative thing that I saw while inspecting was the very course blade grind from the factory. I ended up with running these through my full waterstone set using the MK II honing guide. I started out with the 220 and worked through the 1000, 4000, and 8000 stones. The 220 grit stone was actually smoother than the factory grind…...LOL. The steel in these chisels do seem a bit harder than my "Irwins" and took a bit longer to work them through all the grits. I did not have to flatten any of the backs. One initial rub on the 1000 stone showed a perfecty flat grind across the backs. The final 8000 honing gave them all a mirror finish.

I Played around with these all morning on some red oak and pine scraps making dovetails. They are really fun to work with, especially having a knob that you can force the blade into the wood while paring, gouging, and shaving. I had 10 times more control than using regular sized chisels and having to use 2 hands it along its length. I have double extra large hands (golf glove size), and these fit into one hand like they were made for me. Smaller hands should hold them just as well.

I cannot find anything to complain about with this set other than the initial grind from the factory. After sharpening, these chisels function as well as any I have ever used. I would absolutely recommend these to anyone who may have an interest in butt chisels.