Narex chisel problems

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Forum topic by MedicKen posted 08-21-2011 05:15 AM 6659 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1615 posts in 4093 days

08-21-2011 05:15 AM

I have a full set of fairly new Narex chisels that I am currently using on a maple workbench project. I have started a blog on the bench build have not been really good about updating it. I have glued up the stock, drilled out the mortises and fit the tenons. The problem I am having is with the chisels. The edge keeps rolling and chipping. I have had to re-sharpen them a couple of times on 8 mortises. The mortises were drilled out with a 1” forstner bit and the edges were cleaned up with the chisels. I don’t feel I am over working the chisels at all and they are extremely sharp. The main bevel is at 25 degrees with a 27 degree secondary bevel. The backs are highly polished and look really nice. In fact I can get end grain shavings off the maple but for the mortises they are not holding up. Any ideas?

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their [email protected]

9 replies so far

View yrob's profile


340 posts in 4283 days

#1 posted 08-21-2011 05:27 AM

I have a set of those and have not experienced this problem. However, it depends how you use the chisels. when cutting mortises, you may be tempted to pull you chisel edge across the wood to clean up the bottom. This will blunt the edge big time. This is true for most chisels, the edge is pretty durable when you cut with it, but if you drag with it, it rolls.

-- Yves

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 4093 days

#2 posted 08-21-2011 05:30 AM

They are mostly being used for cleaning up the corners of the mortise and paring the walls. I have not been draggin them across the bottoms. The bottom is already flat from the drilling

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their [email protected]

View yrob's profile


340 posts in 4283 days

#3 posted 08-21-2011 05:34 AM

Have you tried to change the angle to a bigger one like 30 degrees on one of them to see if it makes a difference? May be you are unlucky and got a weaker batch of steel. Thats what I would try, sharpen at 30 and see if they hold.

-- Yves

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4343 days

#4 posted 08-21-2011 06:33 AM

Could it be that the angle is too shallow? Mortise cutting is pretty brutal work, I just went out to the shop and measured my mortising chisels… they are at 25 degrees also. It may be that the bench chisels just aren’t stout enough? How do they perform on other woods?

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View wingate_52's profile


226 posts in 3200 days

#5 posted 08-21-2011 11:10 AM

Are you using the Narex Mortice chisels or the Bevel edge ones?

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 4304 days

#6 posted 08-21-2011 02:52 PM

Hey ken, sorry I’ve fallen completely out of touch.

If your prying that will do it. Edge grain is also extremely tough, tougher (fights you more) than end grain. End Grain is hard, this is tough.

As you pry to pop the last bit off that puts a lot of pressure on the edge. Depending on exactly where it falls on the hardness range you either roll or chip the edge.

If you roll the edge a light honing of the back should get you sharp enough to continue working. When I had to use some general bevel chisels to do a few mortises I just kept the stone near me.

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 4093 days

#7 posted 08-21-2011 05:37 PM

I have not tried changing the bevel angle since I bought them. They came ground at 25 degrees and I felt that was good for what I was working in. ]I may try and take one of them at sharpen at 30 to see how it holds up. I am not very optimistic.

Marc…..nice to see ya buddy. I am thinking maybe that the prying is the culprit. These are paring chisels, bevel edge, and not mortise chisels. But any good paring chisel should be able to pare mortise walls without chipping or rolling.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their [email protected]

View popmandude's profile


109 posts in 3651 days

#8 posted 08-22-2011 12:15 AM

I have read several times that chisels need to be sharpened a few times before you get to the “good steel”. Has something to do with the hardening and tempering process. I am not speaking from experience, but I have read this more than two or three times.

Good luck

View Luke's profile


546 posts in 3925 days

#9 posted 08-22-2011 12:36 AM

I have the same set. Even with being very careful they tend to “micro” chip and bend, at the angle set from the factory. I raised the angle slightly (around 30%) and got much better results. The edge lasts a lot longer and doesn’t chip anymore. Try a 27 main with a 30 ish secondary?

-- LAS,

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