Wood Chisels

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Forum topic by JBorfair posted 07-04-2014 11:26 PM 2474 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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37 posts in 2196 days

07-04-2014 11:26 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I’m in the market for some new ones. I’ve been doing a lot of looking around and notice a rather large disparity in prices. I am a firm believer in “you get what you pay for” but at the same time, that doesn’t hold true 100% of the time. My dilemma is where to draw the line on price vs. quality, as I am not very knowledgeable in this area of tools. What are the best chisel sets for the money these days? They will be used primarily for clean up on dados and the like. In the very near future I am going to venture into tenon and mortis joints so they will be used there as well.

Thanks for in advance for any info.


19 replies so far

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 2732 days

#1 posted 07-04-2014 11:32 PM

It does seem you get what you pay for with chisels too. It’s just you pay a lot more to get a little more after a while.
The lower end best value are the narex chisels. After that the Two cherries chisels seem to be better and cost a little more. The Stanley sweetheart reissues are well liked too. The Lie Nielsen Chisels are very well liked too. These are just a summary of some of the best value options mentioned in similar threads where this was asked.

The other way is to spend some time assembling some vintage chisels. You can get some top of the line chisels for cheap if you put time and a bit of elbow grease into it.

View Pezking7p's profile


3324 posts in 2422 days

#2 posted 07-04-2014 11:38 PM

I’ve got the narex bench chisels, they do very well.

-- -Dan

View robdem's profile


381 posts in 3377 days

#3 posted 07-05-2014 01:24 AM

Have the woodcraft wood river set .Good value and work well .Handles are made of bubinga .

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 4129 days

#4 posted 07-05-2014 01:14 PM

IMHO, you don’t need high quality chisels to clean up dados. On the other hand, I would recommend buying good quality mortising chisels for mortise work. I have the Narex mortise chisels and they’re fine. I don’t think you should be chopping mortises with bench chisels, but I know some do. If you are going to be chopping dovetails, then I would get some good quality bench chisels. I use the older Marples and I think most of the vintage chisels are good (Stanley 750/720, Buck Bros, Witherby, Pexto, etc.)

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View BubbaIBA's profile


541 posts in 3147 days

#5 posted 07-05-2014 01:29 PM

For a mid price chisel the Veritas PM-11 chisels are hard to beat, they will take as fine an edge as a O1 chisel and they will hold a working edge almost as long as a good Japanese Oire-Nomi white steel chisel.

For a little more you can buy a set of “Koyamaichi chisels” and have a life time set.

View waho6o9's profile


8906 posts in 3347 days

#6 posted 07-05-2014 01:45 PM

Router planes work best to clean up dados IMHO
you can even mortise hinges.

View waho6o9's profile


8906 posts in 3347 days

#7 posted 07-05-2014 01:58 PM

+1 on the Japanese chisels. This set from Jabetc on Ebay works well
has great edge retention and the balance is amazing.

View Andre's profile


3561 posts in 2577 days

#8 posted 07-05-2014 02:22 PM

No matter which Chisels you get the secret is getting them sharp and keeping them that way. Invest in some good water stones, the Narex would be a real good first set to learn sharpening and will be good bench chisels down the road when you want to upgrade. That Japanese set doses like pretty enticing I must say, I have a few Japanese chisels in my collection and they are pretty amazing. Another save bet are the Stanely Sweethearts which so far are my go to set.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3637 days

#9 posted 07-05-2014 02:39 PM

I have some Robert Sorby chisels which are very nice but cost quite a bit. However, I also have some Narex chisels which I use as well. I have some nice older Marples chisels that I got from Ebay and they are wonderful chisels for the money.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View CypressAndPine's profile


62 posts in 2578 days

#10 posted 07-05-2014 05:12 PM

I’ll have to agree with rad457. No chisels are good until you learn to sharpen them. They will need sharpening after every one or two uses. I also use water stones. I have Japanese chisels and I like them, but you have to be careful because they are brittle. I’ve never heard a single complaint about the Lie-Nielsons or the Veritas. I’m really interested in trying the new PVM-11 steel from Veritas.

-- Cypress Jake, New Orleans

View JBorfair's profile


37 posts in 2196 days

#11 posted 07-07-2014 05:27 PM

THANKS Everybody!!!

View ACHiPo's profile


9 posts in 2309 days

#12 posted 07-08-2014 04:35 AM

I have the Veritas PM VII and they are flat, smooth, and hard from the factory. A translucent oil stone won’t touch them. Not cheap (guess it’s relative) but worth every penny.

View Redoak49's profile


4729 posts in 2759 days

#13 posted 07-08-2014 02:53 PM

What a wide variety of suggestions. Some are at the $60-80 a chisel such as the Veritas PMV11 or the Lie-Nielsen at just a little less.

The Stanley Sweetheart chisels are nice around a piece. Then on the lower end the Narex or Irwin Marples chiusels which are generally a Cr-Mn steel.

Personally, I have a couple of the expensive ones that I use for special projects and cutting dovetails. For everyday work in the shop I use some of the Older Marples Blue Chip that were made with Sheffield steel. My real beaters are a 40 year old set of Craftsman. All of these when properly sharpened work well. But the cheaper ones do not stay as sharp as long. I like having some chisels that I can take out and use anywhere and am not too upset if they are abused. How many of us have had a chisel be dropped or roll off onto the floor.

View John's profile


246 posts in 2352 days

#14 posted 07-09-2014 01:15 AM

+1 for Narex chisels. I have them, great chisel for the price.

-- I measured once, cut twice, and its still too short...

View NinjaAssassin's profile


652 posts in 2495 days

#15 posted 07-09-2014 01:22 AM

I’m going to +1 the Narex, too. The chisels are great as far as I can tell. When they’re not (I had two that had real problems) Lee Valley will make it right and fast. I bought my chisels last October and my 1/4” and 1” were degrading quickly. At first I chalked it up to my novice sharpening “skills.” However, as my sharpening improved, those two chisels never did. I emailed Lee Valley not expecting much help since I bought them so long ago. They immediately sent out a replacement for both as well as paid shipping to return the defective chisels. Apparently, they run tests on the defective products to determine what went wrong and why. Customer service was only ever super respectful and helpful. The new replacement chisels don’t have the problems the originals had so all is well.

-- Billy

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