All Replies on First set if Chisels

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View COMO's profile

First set if Chisels

posted 11-19-2012 04:41 PM

20 replies so far

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 2110 days

#1 posted 11-19-2012 04:53 PM

I have and like a set of Narex bench chisels. I got them from Highland Woodworking for around 55 with a magnetic tool holder. Lee Valley also sells them. Very solid users. Easy to setup and hone. You might search on Amazon for the Neiko chisel set. They’re well regarded. The Irwin Marples blue chips are also decent users. I have 3 of those and like them. If you like butt chisels, Woodcraft sells a set of 4 Woodriver that I like. I use them for dovetail work where I like the extra control.


View toddbeaulieu's profile


814 posts in 2968 days

#2 posted 11-19-2012 05:02 PM

I have the wood river chisels. I recently bought a fancier set of used, but I haven’t had time to compare them.

Personally, I think it’s important to get something reasonable, but not too fancy (unless you have plenty of cash) and learn how to sharpen them and keep them sharp. I’ve got many hours into learning to sharpen and I have a long way to go still.

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2297 posts in 2333 days

#3 posted 11-19-2012 05:39 PM

I have a set of the blue-handled Marples chisels I’m happy with. Out of the box they needed to be flattened and sharpened, but once that was done, they work great.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 2110 days

#4 posted 11-19-2012 06:16 PM

I don’t know if you have a Woodcraft near you, but their Black Friday ad included a 4 piece set of their regular Woodriver bench chisels for 20 bucks. So, that might be an option.


View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 2110 days

#5 posted 11-19-2012 08:15 PM

Talk about a timely sale email. Check these out:

This is exactly the set I have, and for like 15 bucks cheaper. There’s also a boxed version for 10 bucks more.


View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3323 days

#6 posted 11-19-2012 08:25 PM

Another vote here for the Narex. I think they are the best value around right now.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View Loren's profile


10252 posts in 3612 days

#7 posted 11-19-2012 10:19 PM

Another option is to buy a couple of finer modern
chisels like the Veritas or Lie Nielsen. A 1/2” and a
1” are the most useful sizes for furniture, imo. You’ll
want a 1/4” too, but you can get by pretty well
with any 1/4” chisel since the small blade concentrates
pushing force so well, it will still cut okay even if
not very sharp.

View a1Jim's profile


117061 posts in 3541 days

#8 posted 11-19-2012 10:24 PM

I’ve been using a set of Marpels for 20 years ,they do the job.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View bobasaurus's profile


3405 posts in 3148 days

#9 posted 11-19-2012 11:23 PM

The Irwin/Marples are a decent cheap option, but beware… the 1/8” one is horrible. I have the set of 4 from 1/4” to 1” that are okay users, straight and well-ground though the steel is crappy. After I bought the 1/8” version, I found that it was a bent parallelogram instead of straight and square.

Or just buy one or two really nice chisels, like lee valley or lie nielsen. I use the 1/4” and 1/2” the vast majority of the time, since I cut small joinery like dovetails and smaller mortises.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View Arminius's profile


304 posts in 3767 days

#10 posted 11-19-2012 11:30 PM

$100 is going to get you one L-N or Veritas chisel, though with change.

I would go with the Narex, bit of a pain in the butt to prep the first time, the machining marks on the back take a while to remove. But a full set will last you a very long time and come in under the $100 mark. You can upgrade to premium quality as you go..

View shampeon's profile


1775 posts in 2147 days

#11 posted 11-19-2012 11:31 PM

More important than the brand or steel quality is the sharpness. You’re better off spending money on [DMT plates|plate glass & sandpaper|ceramic stones], a honing guide, and a strope first, then fill out your collection.

A dull Blue Spruce jewel is much worse than a freshly honed Kobalt.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View COMO's profile


25 posts in 2280 days

#12 posted 11-20-2012 02:17 AM

What sharping stuff should I purchase with the chisels? I limited my chisel budget to leave room to buy the sharping things I need

View toddbeaulieu's profile


814 posts in 2968 days

#13 posted 11-20-2012 02:25 AM

I recommend reading up on “scary sharp”. Do you have a table saw? Something else that you trust is pretty flat? I use spray adhesive with strips of sandpaper. When I get down do a fine grit I switch to a combo stone (two sides). I end up with a strop (suede glued to a board) with compound rubbed in. Gives you a nice mirror finish with minimal effort after the first tuneup.

Oh, and I like the veritas mk II jig. Pros don’t need it, but people like us I think do.

View MNgary's profile


298 posts in 2381 days

#14 posted 11-20-2012 03:43 AM

For sharpening, Como, consider a Kings carving set (listed as two stones, but is actually 4 stones) of Japanese water stones. 1000 grit and 4000 grit. The set includes a slip stone and larger (4.5 by 2.5) stone of each grit and sells for less than $40 for all four stones at Woodcraft and many other suppliers.

The larger stone in each of the two grits has profiles on one side for carver chisels, but that side can be flattened using wet ‘n dry paper in just a few minutes.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View Loren's profile


10252 posts in 3612 days

#15 posted 11-20-2012 04:27 AM

I use waterstones but I’ve had them for a long time. In
the last few years the diamond stones have improved
as finishing stones and come down in price.

Ceramic and oil stones are other options.

All the sharpening systems work. Some people are
struggle not to gouge water stones. Diamond,
ceramic and oil stones are all much harder and
difficult to damage. Water stones cut very fast
and of course the mess from using water as
a lubricant is not hard to clean up.

View toddbeaulieu's profile


814 posts in 2968 days

#16 posted 11-20-2012 11:19 AM

Yeah, water is an awful mess. And that actually leads to me avoiding sharpening before it becomes a bigger project. I have to admit that.

COMO, I know money’s an issue. Don’t feel like you have to get to home base on the first try. I do think sandpaper’s the cheapest method to get started with and it does work really well. The jig I mentioned isn’t cheap. It’s also not required, but for newbies It takes a lot of variables and potential for messing up out of the picture.

I have a cheaper jig that I didn’t like as much. I can try to find it. If I think it’s worth shipping I can send it to you for free. I can’t remember what I paid for it. If it was super cheap it might not be worth shipping, but I’ll look.

View RussellAP's profile


3103 posts in 2250 days

#17 posted 11-20-2012 12:50 PM

Steel X is a good brand. Nice long handles in the HSS series and moderately priced for a decent usable set.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View COMO's profile


25 posts in 2280 days

#18 posted 11-20-2012 03:12 PM

Thanks for all the info. The Narex seem to be a good value. I will probably buy them to take advantage of the sale. Then learn some sharpening skills on sandpaper before investing in a stone or four. I will probably invest in a guide as well. Thanks again

View tirebob's profile


134 posts in 2818 days

#19 posted 11-21-2012 07:02 PM

I have a set of the Narex chisels and for cheap they do alright, but they are definitely my beater chisels now as I have a full set of the Blue Spruce bench chisels and they are freaking awesome, but absolutely unnecessary. I just love them but it is more about the pleasure you get from handling something so amazing than it is about actually getting a much higher degree of useability.

That said, if I was starting out again today and I had around $100.00 to spend, I would get a few common sizes of the newer Stanley Sweetheart chisels rather than the Narex set I did get. I have gotten to play with some of these and once set-up I found them to actually be very nice to wield while chopping, and the side landings make getting into dovetail corners a breeze. They are really good value in the more cost effective to mid level brands.

View harshest's profile


63 posts in 2368 days

#20 posted 11-21-2012 07:21 PM

FWIW the newest issue of Wood Magazine #216 just did a chisel review, premium chisel they recommended the new Veritas ones, mid range the Stanley Sweetheart and Pfiel, and the budget set was from Woodriver.

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