Narex chisels

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Forum topic by gamygeezer posted 07-11-2020 03:49 PM 779 views 1 time favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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168 posts in 2394 days

07-11-2020 03:49 PM

Topic tags/keywords: chisel

Are Narex chisels still considered to be good quality? My granddaughter is looking for a basic (3 or 4 piece) set, and needs something that fits her rather small hands. If not, recommendations would be welcome. I have a 40-year old set of Marples, but they are too big.


-- What's a vibrant young guy like me doing in a broken down old body like this?

20 replies so far

View SMP's profile


2268 posts in 714 days

#1 posted 07-11-2020 03:55 PM

I only have 1 narex chisel, its a mortise chisel. And the handle is the biggest handle of any of my chisels. Actually too big for my extra large hands. The quality seems to be fine, especially fir the price. I think the smallest handles on quality chisels are the old Isles style sheffield chisels.

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16812 posts in 3427 days

#2 posted 07-11-2020 03:59 PM

I’d suggest the 4 pc. Stanley Sweetheart set, with leather roll. Very good quality, edge retention is excellent in my experience, and I think the size overall may e what you’re looking for.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

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789 posts in 2271 days

#3 posted 07-11-2020 05:49 PM

I have a Narex seven piece set. Love them, and fit my budget well.

-- John

View AMZ's profile


137 posts in 198 days

#4 posted 07-11-2020 08:29 PM

Having used all, the Stanley Sweetheart might be the better choice, if she has smallush hands like my daughters. Where do you live? Maybe there is someone that might let you try theirs?

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1705 posts in 3658 days

#5 posted 07-12-2020 10:58 AM

Hey Ken, hope all is well there in 3 acre woods, your sense of humor is awesome. I bought the Narex 8pc set on Amazon many years ago. It has 2 different handle sizes between the smaller and larger chisels. See the images and maybe you can shape a mock up to see how they fit her hands, otherwise, Amazon is pretty good to for returns. The one thing that I’ve found though is that I really don’t need the 8pcs and the 4 pc would have been a smarter buy.

-- 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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3374 posts in 2303 days

#6 posted 07-12-2020 12:19 PM

Small Hands?

My youngest son likes my Japanese chisels best, as the handles tend to be smaller diameter.

Picked a 10 pc set from Grizzly for $110 on Black Friday sale couple years ago for a set of kid chisels. I didn’t want him ‘dropping’ my expensive blue steel chisels. They have become my everyday chisels. The white paper steel holds an edge better than any Sheffield or antique chisel I own.

Here is a reference pic from Toolsforworkingwood on handles sizes:

Most Woodcraft stores I have seen will carry a set of expensive Japanese chisels you try on for size.


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

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1705 posts in 1248 days

#7 posted 07-12-2020 01:12 PM

I have the set of American Pattern Beveled Edge Chisels by Ashley Iles. Very nice smaller size chisel. There is a good writeup on them on Tools For Working Wood site.

-- "...I've been through the desert on a horse with no name." So name the damned horse already!

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2368 posts in 1362 days

#8 posted 07-13-2020 12:05 AM

find some socket chisels and make handles to fit her hand

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5963 posts in 1383 days

#9 posted 07-13-2020 04:52 AM

Narex are a presentable set of chisels for someone not wanting to spend a lot. They have very predictable metals, and are quite easy to sharpen, however they don’t hold an edge very long, so she would be constantly sharpening.

I agree with Capn K. Those Japanese chisles from Griz are very nice. Several years ago Fine Woodworking did a chisel comparo, and rated them a best buy. In the same review they didn’t rate the Narex as being so, as I stated due to the overly soft metal, and poor edge retention. If you could get the set for 100 bux,do it. I would suggest the 1/4”, 3/8”. 1/2” and 3/4” as a starter set, if you had the choice between buying them singly, or as a set at regular price. The thing about a set of anything,you likely only use some of it.

-- Think safe, be safe

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135 posts in 1928 days

#10 posted 07-13-2020 09:44 AM

I have a Narex 4 piece set that I have been happy with so far (
I don’t think the handles are especially good for small hands but the could be replaced or turned down.

View Robert's profile


3800 posts in 2289 days

#11 posted 07-13-2020 01:10 PM

Narex are decent chisels but handles are on the large side.

Sweetheart’s are much smaller, plus, how can you beat the name? ;-)

Maybe not a factor, but I disagree with Smittty on edge retention. My experience is they are worse than Narex, and Narex isn’t that great as it is.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Ocelot's profile


2553 posts in 3447 days

#12 posted 07-13-2020 01:31 PM

Paul Sellers was pushing the ultra-cheap Aldi chisels – and routinely removes the handles and turns them down.

Aldi only sells chisels about 1 week per year and apparently only one box per store and maybe not this year, so scoring 4 pretty good chisels for 8 bucks is not a high probability. I have 3 sets myself. However, the same chrome-vanadium steel is used on many economy chisels and I have bought some at harbor freight that I like about as well as the Aldi ones (I also have some Narex and the Grizzley Japanese ones). The HF chisels have smaller handles. Any of these super-econo chisels you might want to do some work on and if you have the time, I would think a set customized by grandpa would be extra-special.

By the way, the grizzley Japanese chisels are very brittle – having edges Rockwell 62-63. So, if you drop them, they will chip and require a good bit of work to get back to a good edge.

The wood handled HF chisels are also rarely in the store and I had to order a couple of sets to get them. But even with shipping, it’s a steel. OK. I just now looked on the HF site and I don’t see the set of 6 wood-handled chisels anymore. pity. They do have the pvc handled ones, which my son (8) has and they seem like good tools and have small handles and are small overall. You don’t have to spend a fortune to have decent usable chisels.

You might look on Paul Sellers site to see what he does to them.


View Andre's profile


3641 posts in 2615 days

#13 posted 07-13-2020 04:24 PM

Another option, I have a set of husky chisels from H.D. in a job site tool box that are surprisingly good and on the smaller size. The Stanley SW IMO have slightly better edge retention than the Narex and the handle keep them as the most often used chisels on my bench.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

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198 posts in 846 days

#14 posted 07-14-2020 02:34 PM

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960 posts in 410 days

#15 posted 07-14-2020 02:55 PM

I have a set of Narex chisels and can’t say if they are better or worse than any other because they are my starter set. I have no complaints though.

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