Reply by AstroGuy

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Posted on Chisels

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66 posts in 4042 days

#1 posted 09-07-2007 02:04 AM


Quality of steel is an important issue with chisels even for the rank beginner since chisels made of poor quality steel will not hold an edge for very long. This will translate into much more sharpening time, which can be very frustrating for someone who is on the learning curve for chisel sharpening. For this reason, purchasing a new set of Buck Brothers or Stanley chisels will probably not be the most satisfying for you. It may be much more worthwhile to purchase some older flea market chisels or a set of mid range chisels (Like those of the two cherries brand). Also, invest some time in setting up a system for sharpening them up front. The Marples blue handle chisels are also good although they have recently changed from their original steel formulation and the some users are not happy with the new ones. The ones to look for say “Sheffield Steel” on the blades and not “Chrome Vanadium.” Poor England loses out on the quality vrs. price war again…

I would also recommend that you check out a series of short videos by Garrett Hack that are available on These are very short videos that really stress some of the basics about chisel choices, etc.

In conclusion, an example. I have a set of Home Depot purchased Stanley chisels which I bought for cheap. Not too happy with em. They look impressive but hold an edge poorly. In contrast, I bought a $1 generic old chisel at a flea market (has the “Sheffield” stamp on the blade) which looked like it spent most of its life under a bus. Sharpened and clean up, though, that old chisel blows the Stanley out of the water and is by far my chisel of choice for important work. Holds an edge forever. I guess the moral of the story is a decent set of chisels with good steel will make you happy even if they don’t look as pretty as their modern, plastic coated bretheren with inferior steel. Its sad that with progression of time we seem to go backwards in quality for many tools.

Best wishes.


-- Richard

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