|Review by Ripthorn||posted 06-04-2012 10:16 PM||8420 views||0 times favorited||13 comments|
So I am working on my workbench that will be made of doug fir. I started making the mortises which I hogged out with a Forstner bit and then I reached for my Narex bench chisels to clean them up. All three of the Narex chisels I used got dinged up blades rather quickly. Not wanting to do any more damage to them (which I probably just didn’t have set up for chopping out corners), I bought this cheap set from Harbor Freight knowing that they had a high likelihood of being total garbage, but in the off chance that they might make decent basher chisels.
I used the 1 1/2” chisel after flattening the back and sharpening it up well. I used the free hand method where you actually rock the chisel slightly front to back instead of doing a secondary bevel. After a good sharpening, I went to town and really wailed on them. After chopping out twice what one of my Narex chisels was able to do, I inspected the blade and it showed no knicks or dings. I continued one, going much faster now. I did have to touch it up a couple times, as the mortises are 2 1/2” deep and this doug fir is heavy and dense (very close growth rings).
I sharpened up the rest of them and they have cut well in test cuts. Now, these are not top of the line chisels, nor are they middle of the line. However, they have done everything I have asked and them some. They were worth the $7 just to get the mortises cut. Now, they do have several drawbacks, including:
- Two of the blades had little hollows near the tip of the blade on the back
- Grinding is really rough (REALLY), with only two of them flat enough to get the backs perfectly flat in what I decided was an acceptable amount of effort
- The handles are an abomination; uncomfortable, off center, crooked, and just really poorly made (I know, it was a $7 set, I’m not saying this was contrary to my expectations)
However, at the end of the day, performance is king and these guys have held up quite well. These make a diamond in the rough look like a finished product, but I might call these a cool looking agate in the rough. So the bottom line is if you need a good set of bashers to keep your good chisels for paring or other finer tasks, get these and give them a whirl.
-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science