Choosing Wood Chisels..

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Forum topic by ondablade posted 09-11-2009 10:48 PM 1022 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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105 posts in 3192 days

09-11-2009 10:48 PM

Please pardon my putting up two requests for information at once, but i’m struggling with this one too, and feeling like i may have to take a shot in the dark.

I’m looking to complete my set of Ice Bear Japanese butt chisels (bevel sided, but with a flat top), and want a set of dovetail (triangular topped) chisels too. The plan is to pitch for a set at a level that gives top end performance, but is not collector, art or bling territory.

The Ice Bears are the set they do with a layer of tough HSS-like but very hard alloy at the edge with a softer backing, but are not one of the hand made variety with the very fancy high carbon steel laminated to the edge. They take and hold a decent edge, work well, and are way ahead of your average e.g. Stanley consumer chisel – but on the other hand i’ve little to compare them to.

What kind of experience do you guys have? In one way i’d like to go for Japanese dovetail chisels too, but the Lie Nielsen item in A2 steel while at the expensive end of what is possible presumably would at least deliver a 100% predictable top quality level.

I’ve looked at stuff like Two Cherries from Germany, and while cheaper the steel seems decent. Trouble is they are clunky to my hands, and have been over polished so that the backs are rounded down towards the edge and would probably need a huge amount of back flattening. It’s not clear either if they do a fine edged dovetail chisel.

The Japanese chisels are a bit confusing – it seems very easy to pay a lot for a set of mass produced items that don’t perform that well which may look visually very similar to one of the better ones made by a decent smith. Or so i seem to gather from what i read.

In the meantime it’s messy to buy a couple, test and then buy quantity as i’m in ireland and shipping costs are quite high. Plus i’m on a schedule.

All input appreciated….

-- Late awakener....

3 replies so far

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 3707 days

#1 posted 09-11-2009 11:11 PM

if your on a tight schedule and don’t have time to test drive a bunch i would go with the nielsons, good quality steel and they hold a good edge.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View JasonIndy's profile


187 posts in 3429 days

#2 posted 09-12-2009 05:12 AM

I’ve heard the same about the Nielsons..

View ondablade's profile


105 posts in 3192 days

#3 posted 09-13-2009 12:12 AM

Sounds like it’s Nielsen’s then…..

Thank you

-- Late awakener....

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