Reply by mcase

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Posted on Thoughts on the Narex mortise chisels?

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446 posts in 3155 days

#1 posted 10-11-2012 03:25 AM


I have become a real tool review skeptic. There are just so many reviews that rave about items that are mediocre at best or make big deals out of trivial drawbacks on otherwise outstanding tools. Having said that you may want to look at the chisel review in FWW Sept. 2008. They reviewed Narex along with Lie Nielsen, Two Cherries, Pfiel and others. Unlike many reviews I found this one had merit. According to the review, the traditional laminated Japanese chisels were superior to the Western style chisels in many ways, particularly edge retention. I have found this to be true. Even the very moderately priced Japanese chisels I own do indeed hold their edge better than relatively expensive western chisels. I found other parts of the review to be accurate as well. For Western chisels I have a set of registered Robert Sorbys that don’t hold an edge for crap. I also have Pfeil and Two Cherrries chisels. The Two Cherries and the Pfeils are virtually indistinguishable as far as edge retention goes and the Sorbys run a poor second. Again this more or less agrees with the FWW findings. The Swiss Pfeil and German Two Cherries both employ a hard vanadium steel. It seems overly brittle compared to Japanese steel. This is what I think you will find with Narex, a hard, fairly brittle vanadium alloy that is serviceable, but nothing more. That’s how I found Pfiel and Two Cherries chisels to be and the Narex are generally billed as about comparable, but at a better price. I wouldn’t be surprised if they all used the same steel bar stock from the same supplier. As I recall, Narex was given the best value award in the FWW review. So given the great price of Narex chisels, I say if they feel right in your hand when you use them be content. They will undoubtedly hold an edge better than expensive Sorbys and most likely will be very comparable to the Pfeil and Two Cherries.

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