chisels, saws?

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Forum topic by Tim posted 11-20-2009 05:40 PM 1044 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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43 posts in 3147 days

11-20-2009 05:40 PM

Hi all,
As a newbie, it has become readily apparent that my ambitions are far out pacing my skills and my tools. Since I figure I can’t gain the skills with out the tools, I’d like some advice on The Essential hand tools. I own a decent block plane, so I’d like to start with chisels, but I’m not sure where to begin. I had good luck making mortises with my router, but I’d like to square those off instead of rounding the tenon (not much luck on that). Do I need both a ‘mortise’ and ‘swan-neck’ chisels or can I accomplish this with a standard set of chisels? Is there a manufacturer, for a beginner (not L-N!), you would recommend? Or should I bite the bullet, purchase one L-N and beg for more come anniversary time? Our 10th is on the horizon… hmmmm….

Also, if you were going to purchase one versitile hand saw, which would it be?

9 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3615 days

#1 posted 11-20-2009 05:50 PM

Narex are good chisels, you can find them on Lee Valley’s website, and others also sell them (Garrett Wade for example, also Amazon). you dont need swan-neck chisels, but there are cases where it makes things easier. you could just start with a regular set of bench chisels, and maybe some motrise chisels, and then as you progress and find a need for a certain chisels – get that one as the need arises.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View bigike's profile


4050 posts in 3255 days

#2 posted 11-20-2009 05:54 PM

well to get chisels u can try,,,japanwoodworker,, they all carry pretty good priced tools (chisels) as for helping with mortises a basic set of bench chisels should do the trick as long as they are very sharp but i would try to get atleast one or two mortise chisels it wount hurt except your pockets a little out of all the sites i would get chisels from they have a nice set for good money.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18247 posts in 3642 days

#3 posted 11-21-2009 05:22 AM

T-chisel said on his sharpening vidoe to get them at the big box store. Most modern chisels are made of high quality steel. A name brand like Stanely should get you started without breaking the bank.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View WayneC's profile


13753 posts in 4064 days

#4 posted 11-21-2009 05:26 AM

Japanese handsaws are also worth considering. My marples chisels work fine for me. Big thing is to be able to sharpen them. Do you have the capability to sharpen tools?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Tim's profile


43 posts in 3147 days

#5 posted 11-21-2009 05:30 AM

I have seen some plans and lots of info on sharpening so I assumed that would be part of the hand-tool-learning-curve. I thought since the tools will be new that one of the two sided sharpening stones would do the trick in the short term. To answer your question, I don’t have the capability right now, but hope to in the near future.

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3543 days

#6 posted 11-21-2009 05:40 AM

A set of Marples chisels cost less than one of the high end chisels and they will serve you well for a long time.
There are many ways to sharpen chisels but you might do a search under scary sharp , This method is fairly simple and works great.
Look at WayneC post.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View WayneC's profile


13753 posts in 4064 days

#7 posted 11-21-2009 05:41 AM

I would look into sharpening with sandpaper (scary sharp) until you get going. The New chisels will still need to be sharpened. Worksharp is a good mechanical option, but it costs a couple of hundered dollars.

I have some links to sharpening resources in my blog if your interested.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View russv's profile


262 posts in 3136 days

#8 posted 11-21-2009 06:22 AM

I just bought a really nice used set of buck chisels on ebay. I just missed on a german made set out of the fifties that looked great. you gotta go slow and be patient. there are deals at times. if you can find a full set used, they can be worth it and alot less than a set of lee valley or hartsville. some of the older sets can be nicer than the new ones. try to buy a full matching set. nothing nicer than a nice set of matching chisel in the tool box. you’ll use them alot.

if you buy new, please buy American made.


-- where to go because you don't want no stinking plastic!

View Rabbet's profile


35 posts in 3107 days

#9 posted 11-22-2009 06:14 AM

I just went to the woodworking show in Sacramento CA. I tried the new Veritas hand saws, great tool at a good price. Their hand planes are really good too. Narex chisels received a really good rating at FWW they can be purchased at Highland Woodworking (set of 6 for $60). I would buy a regular set of chisels because you can use them for a lot of different applications as opposed to a one job only chisel. You would probably get the best results if you drill the mortises and clean and pare the sides with a regular chisel.

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