NAREX - Woodline Profi (Rating: 5)

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

-----UPDATE-----15/12/2009

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.