Chisel Suggestions

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Forum topic by ChunkyC posted 09-29-2009 02:54 AM 1674 views 0 times favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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856 posts in 2346 days

09-29-2009 02:54 AM

I’m looking for some suggestions for an average set of chisels. I’m not much of a hand tool guy but I don’t want to buy junk that won’t stay sharp and I also don’t need the best of the best. I’ve got some mortise and tenon work that I won’t (edit: want to) do this winter and I need a set of chisels.


-- Chunk's Workshop pictures:

30 replies so far

View Roper's profile


1367 posts in 2805 days

#1 posted 09-29-2009 03:00 AM

the irwin/marple blue handle sets are a good average chisel for the money. they hold an o.k. edge and will do most hand work that you need.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View Betsy's profile


3157 posts in 2988 days

#2 posted 09-29-2009 03:08 AM

Here’s a second vote for Marples. It’s a good intermediate set. I would for sure stay away from the Buck Brothers or other lower priced sets you’d find at the big box stores – they are junk and take way to much time to tune up to usable status.

-- Like a bad penny, I keep coming back!

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 2650 days

#3 posted 09-29-2009 03:17 AM

Well I bought a set of Stanley chisels from Lowes, put a killer edge on them with my Worksharp 3000 and use them everyday. Have not had any problem with them not keeping an edge. I guess it depends on how you use them. Sorry Betsy.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View Luke's profile


545 posts in 2386 days

#4 posted 09-29-2009 03:23 AM

Highland woodworking in Atlanta has a set called the Narex Boxed Set. Comes with 6 most used sizes. I have some of these and they are great! They get good reviews and aren’t going to break the bank.

In case your not sure… $60 is a great price for 6 chisels voted best buy from fine woodworking magazine.

-- LAS,

View Betsy's profile


3157 posts in 2988 days

#5 posted 09-29-2009 03:49 AM

No apologies needed Jerry. You’ve just had better luck than me.

-- Like a bad penny, I keep coming back!

View Marc5's profile


304 posts in 2434 days

#6 posted 09-29-2009 04:13 AM

Irwin Marples are more than adequate for wood working. They hold an edge and are better than most in this price range. Keep the tool sharp and you will have no problems or regrets.

-- Marc

View Chiefk's profile


163 posts in 2863 days

#7 posted 09-29-2009 03:45 PM

I will second skywalker’s recommendation of the Narex chisels. I have a set that has worked well for me as a general use chisel. Also, I was in Woodcraft recently and their Woodriver brand has come out with a set of chisels for a really good price. pkennedy

-- P Kennedy Crossville, TN

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2655 posts in 2618 days

#8 posted 09-29-2009 04:07 PM

The Two Cherrys have been outstanding chisels, sharp as razors and I expect them to last a lifetime. They are indeed a pleasure to work with. I have others but these have been so much better. I am glad I bit the bullet and got the better set, there is a difference.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Karson's profile


34994 posts in 3492 days

#9 posted 09-29-2009 04:11 PM

I use the Blue marples and have great luck with them.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View rtb's profile


1099 posts in 2805 days

#10 posted 09-29-2009 04:18 PM

I can’y say enough about the narax chisels. This is the first quality set of QUALITY chisels and they are really super. I use the scary sharp system (sand paper) and have no problem. Fine Woodworking made no mistake when they named these as the best value in western style chisels. They have also some mortise chisels, also at very reasonable price. I bought the 4 chisel set and added the other two in the 6 chisel which is cheaper because it doesn’t include the wooden case. I’m not certain that the 2 addition chisels are really worth having. These are European made not Chinese, which the Marples now are. I would suggest a 4 set and then decide on what additional sizes your interested in.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View treeman's profile


208 posts in 2541 days

#11 posted 09-29-2009 05:03 PM

I also vote for the Narex. I bought a set from Highland and am very happy with them. They take a little bit of tuning when you first get them to flatten the back and get them sharp. But once you’ve done that; they do a great job.

View sry's profile


147 posts in 2700 days

#12 posted 09-29-2009 05:37 PM

I’ve also had really good results with my Narex chisels from Highland. Good quality and not very expensive either.
Here’s the article summary (and full article, subscription required) from FWW that skywalker referred to earlier.

View ChunkyC's profile


856 posts in 2346 days

#13 posted 09-29-2009 07:04 PM

I’ll take a look at the FWW article later this evening.

Thanks for all of the suggestions!


-- Chunk's Workshop pictures:

View jcecil's profile


40 posts in 2742 days

#14 posted 09-29-2009 07:19 PM

I would second the Irwin/Marples. I have the 1/4 – 1” set and bought a couple extras singly on sales from Rockler. I saw this link on another site:,44047&ap=1
not a horrible price but only a few of them in larger sizes. If being used for cleaning up mortises I have had great luck with them and haven’t needed to resharpen after plenty of use. As for using to actually chop mortises I would be weary but I am a dedicated mortiser kind of guy :)

View JasonIndy's profile


187 posts in 2527 days

#15 posted 09-30-2009 10:15 AM

Food for thought: I’m in the boat of deciding on a new set of chisels myself. I had a set of Sorbys recommended to me, and was deciding between that and the Pfeil Swiss-Made ones (I was going to piece the set together one or a few at a time.) However, when I went to Woodcraft to compare the two, I thought the odd-shaped handle of the Sorbys would get on my nerves, and for some indescribable reason they didn’t feel comfortable. I was indifferent on the Pfeils. However, I saw a set of 8 from Woodriver for around $80 that I thought were much nicer, more comfortable to handle, and at a fifth of the price. It might be worthwhile to go to a Rockler or Woodcraft and get a feel for what you might like.

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