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Forum topic by weedeater64 posted 12-17-2019 02:15 AM 1434 views 0 times favorited 46 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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52 posts in 861 days

12-17-2019 02:15 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tools chisels recommendations warnings size price

Looking to upgrade from Buck Bros. They are decent enough but for one thing that has always bugged me. I’ve always wished they were longer.

Also, I just want some nice-ish wood handles.

If you have some chisels in the Narex Premium or a little higher range, how long are the blades?

Also any other pros/cons/regrets/whatever appreciated.

46 replies so far

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1599 days

#1 posted 12-17-2019 03:11 AM

Those blue plastic handled Irwin chisels are decent, inexpensive, and long. I used them for years. These days I like Veritas PMV11 chisels and Pfiel chisels.

View sansoo22's profile


1125 posts in 505 days

#2 posted 12-17-2019 04:08 AM

I’m using a set of Japanese style chisels I got as a gift. I believe they are from Woodcraft. They are a bit of a different style but once I got used to them i really liked them. I don’t own a set of mortise chisels but have been looking at Narex for those. I want Vertias PMV11 but not sure how much use I would get out of them to justify the cost.

View BurlyBob's profile


7847 posts in 3116 days

#3 posted 12-17-2019 04:47 AM

I really enjoy my Two Cherry chisels. They seem to hold an edge for a very long time.

View CaptainKlutz's profile


3600 posts in 2345 days

#4 posted 12-17-2019 05:40 AM

Q: What vintage are your Buck Brother’s Chisels?
Have to be careful about chisel reviews. Age of chisel is important.

Example1: Vintage Buck brothers are great chisels. The buck bros marketed today are horrible by comparison, and barely worthy of opening paint cans.

Example2: The older blue handled Irwins with English Sheffield steel where nice everyday chisels. The vintage blue wooden handles were even better. The newer versions with Asian steel found online have much less edge durability, and should be used opening paint cans only.

Example3: Vintage Stanley 750 chisels are great tools. The newer 750 sold in stores today is not even close the same quality as old tools. Newer chisel edge retention is mediocre, and the handles and balance felt wrong in my hands.

Chisels, like most hand tools, have to fit the users style to work well. This means you will get a wide range of preferences for best chisel? in my personal use of a dozen different types of chisels, I mostly agree with Fine Wood Working review of bench chisels done back in 2008.
You should read the entire review if you can, as it shares a lot of data.

That review still holds true today, even though the Veritas PM11 steel wasn’t available at time. My only difference of opinion is on the Narex chisels. The set I bought didn’t have much better edge durability than cheaper Irwin, or store brand chisels? The Narex steel seemed too sensitive to grind angle. Go too shallow and edge chipped easily.
Speaking of store brand: The old wood handled Foot Print branded chisels with Sheffield steel where amazing, especially considering a set of 4 cost $20 on sale at local wood working store.

I think the new Veritas PM11 steel has better edge retention than the LN A2 chisels that FW recommended for western style chisel back in 2008, and gives me equal durability match to my Japanese Blue steel chisels. Plus it is easier to sharpen then both of them.

You mention wanting longer handles.
1) Have you looked at adding some paring chisels to your tool box?
My chisel preferences have drifted most recently more to the Japanese style, and white steel Usu Nomi has proven more comfortable than the western style paring chisels I own.
2) You can always make your own long handles. :-)

Best Luck finding you favorite chisel!

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

View theoldfart's profile (online now)


12008 posts in 3301 days

#5 posted 12-17-2019 05:56 AM

I have a set of vintage Buck Bros. crank neck chisels and they are exceptional tools.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View YouthfullMind's profile


73 posts in 1002 days

#6 posted 12-17-2019 12:47 PM

My narex chisels are working well for me

View ChefHDAN's profile


1730 posts in 3700 days

#7 posted 12-17-2019 01:07 PM

I have a $100 set of the NAREX chisels which I like, but I should have taken the frequent advice here and just bought the small set in the $50 range as I seem to only ever use a few of the set for the work I do. I saw these chisels recently on Amazon and thought these were the ones I should have bought.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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Fred Hargis

6422 posts in 3344 days

#8 posted 12-17-2019 01:13 PM

That’s quite a deal on those Japanese chisels. Anyway, I’ve used a set of Marples (the original, made in England) and I really like them. One thing about them, they do have nice long blades (I’ll measure them later and post back). But last year I got a set of the Veritas PMV11 and they are the cat’s meow…..but boy, do you pay for them.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View HokieKen's profile


15058 posts in 1989 days

#9 posted 12-17-2019 01:21 PM

I have this set of the Stanley 750 chisels. I like them a lot and they’ve been an excellent value for me. The rest of my chisels are vintage Stanleys and EA Bergs.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View therealSteveN's profile


6261 posts in 1424 days

#10 posted 12-17-2019 02:02 PM

Metal wise I am not sure if you can best the Veritas/Lee Valley PMV11, they are just awesome. Below that unless your Uncle dies and you get his set of chisels it’s really all about money. More $$$$ = Better chisels,

Buying new I wouldn’t suggest any Western tools lower than the Narex or 2 Cherries. They can sharpen well, just know you will be sharpening them often because the grade of metal just doesn’t hold an edge very long. The Narex Mortising chisel is a good buy if you need some pounders.

For lower $$$ and if you are starting your journey I would point you East, and suggest the Grizzly set of Japanese chisels. If you are already use to Western tools, the differences of the chisels may cause some gas, but if you are just starting going with Japanese tools will give you very good cutting edges for low $$$. If change isn’t a 4 letter word to you, swapping to Japanese is smart. I only say this because a lot of people get hung up on the differences of the Japanese grind, and it makes them unable to change between East and West.

Western also you could look at older Stanleys, and refurb them IF they have enough metal left. Everyone gets all gooey about 750”s, they are Ok if you want to spend a lot of time putting handles back on chisels. I would suggest hunting down 720’s and 740’s as both had the same steel as the 750’s and you can usually buy them at a better price. If you can, get to a place where they have all of the old Stanley chisels, and hold them, feel them. Are they good in your hands? If you can score some Everlasting chisels they are really nice, but prices there are often pretty lofty. The were the old Stanley’s Holy Grail of chisels. A little on Stanley's old chisels.

plus read and understand what the different types of chisels are. From bench chisels, pretty much this discussion. Paring, Firmer, Mortising, and Carving. All of them have a place, and you may not need complete sets, but having the assortment will allow you to do more functions, and get better results. Chopping mortises with bench or carving chisels is a way to tear up your chisels, and you will be constantly sharpening.

The real deal is that once you get some fine chisels, none of them are worth snot if you can’t sharpen them. So before you grind away your new finds, practice on those Buck Brothers. Get them as sharp as they can be, use them, see how they dull, watch what happens to the metal, then true them back up, and do it all again.

-- Think safe, be safe

View sansoo22's profile


1125 posts in 505 days

#11 posted 12-17-2019 02:26 PM

The real deal is that once you get some fine chisels, none of them are worth snot if you can t sharpen them. So before you grind away your new finds, practice on those Buck Brothers. Get them as sharp as they can be, use them, see how they dull, watch what happens to the metal, then true them back up, and do it all again.

- therealSteveN

I think this is outstanding advice and exactly what i did with my Buck Bros before using the new Japanese chisels. I was “newish” to chisels at the time and only went thru this process because I was afraid to mess up the new ones i received as a gift. But man am I glad i did it. I actually gained a little respect for the HD special Buck Bros. I got them hair shaving sharp and they preformed well…just wont hold an edge that long.

View controlfreak's profile


1231 posts in 452 days

#12 posted 12-17-2019 02:40 PM

Narex set here and I like them but don’t really have a lot to compare them to. I sharpened them before using. I got the full set and a couple of mortice.

View bondogaposis's profile


5841 posts in 3202 days

#13 posted 12-17-2019 03:50 PM

I have a set of Ashley Isles MK2 bench chisels. Best chisels I’ve used. I didn’t buy them as a set, I bought a couple at a time as they became available, I think I waited over a year for the 1/4” one. They are not always available. I love the bubinga handles. Right now I own 1/8” through 5/8” sizes. I may stop there as I don’t use the larger sizes much and when I do I use my very old Freud chisels. I bought those back when Freud made hand tools in the 80’s.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Kelly's profile


3127 posts in 3795 days

#14 posted 12-17-2019 07:25 PM

I can relate to the length issue. Just got a set of Schaaf carving knives and what a difference the longer handles make in comfort and control over the palm chisels.

Meanwhile, back at the [swinging chisel] rack, my chisels are all over the board. Thank you garage sales. I’ve got everything from high end to cheap. The latter are for that time you know there is a staple/nail buried.

After getting to a happy place with the feel and the steel, the biggest upgrade I made to ALL the above was, good diamond stones that allow quick profiling (but have been to take a couple over to the CBT wheels for rough in re-profile) and leather for stropping, with good compound. I really like the Flexcut gold stuff, but have good luck with jewelers rough on the buffer, and a final and repeats on the strop.

View Phil32's profile


1132 posts in 754 days

#15 posted 12-17-2019 07:55 PM

This reminds me of the automotive awards for “Initial Quality.” The quality of bench chisels is mostly found in how well they hold an edge, which depends a lot on the sharpening skills of the user.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

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