Are Craftsman chisels good?

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Forum topic by borwish posted 01-01-2010 07:42 PM 12381 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 3069 days

01-01-2010 07:42 PM

I was going to order a basic set of Narex chisels, but kept thinking about how since they are metric and not standard they might complicate things more than they needed to be. I was at sears the other day and noticed that they had a decent looking set for about the same price considering tax and shipping.

The two advantages that the craftsman have are that they are standard and made in the USA. I try to buy only American made tools. The chisels got good costumer reviews on the sears site, but it appears that only one reviewer did any real wood working. I like the looks of the Narex better and the Narex have longer blades. Any one have any opinions about the Craftsman chisels?



15 replies so far

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3655 days

#1 posted 01-01-2010 07:57 PM

I have one old Craftsman chisel that I actually found on the roadside many moons ago and it is a good enough chisel for my needs. Just looking at the link you provided for those chisels , the handles don’t appear to be very user friendly in my opinion , but that says nothing about the steel in the blades of course. At this point , you haven’t given a link to the Narex competition that you are considering . Look into the working ends of the chisels and go from there.

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View JAGWAH's profile


929 posts in 3051 days

#2 posted 01-01-2010 07:59 PM

While I find some chisels better than others either by steel quality, tang length or handle design worrying about whether it’s metric or standard seems silly.

Do you have a metric adj. wrench or a standard? I’m being silly. Fact is if this is where your budget lies than these will due. If they don’t work well it is more to how you keep an edge and how long the metal allows that edge to last. Down side is you sharpen more.

Basicly a chisel is a chisel. If it’s dull sharpen it. If it’s too wide for the task get the next smaller size.

I have several different brands starting with some socket chisels my grandfather gave me to chrome top Stanleys,lots of assorted cheapies to german and japanese beauties.

Don’t think to hard about a chisel, frankly as my Dad would say,”When is a chisel not a chisel? When it’s a screwdriver.”

-- ~Just A Guy With A Hammer~

View AaronK's profile


1506 posts in 3431 days

#3 posted 01-01-2010 08:04 PM

not sure about these, since i have never seen a reference to them. however, the irwin/marples set is about the same price and I can personally vouch for their quality… commonly available at rockler, among others.

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3655 days

#4 posted 01-01-2010 08:13 PM
I’ve had this set of Footprints for more years than I can remember right now and they haven’t let me down yet : )
In the Amazon reviews , there is one negative reviewer there , but he certainly isn’t describing the chisels that I own. The handles are very comfortable for my hands (rectangular with rounded corners if you will ) and the blades seem to hold their edges quite well. Mine did come in a plastic pouch , but who really cares….I plan on making my own “custom” resting place for them one of these days : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View JAGWAH's profile


929 posts in 3051 days

#5 posted 01-01-2010 08:17 PM

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3655 days

#6 posted 01-01-2010 08:26 PM

Now this is quite a review on Buck Firmer chisels in the $65 range…wow

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 3213 days

#7 posted 01-01-2010 08:39 PM

I had a set of craftsman chisels years ago. Total waste of money and time. They wouldn’t take a decent edge or even hold a crappy one. I replaced them first chance I got. Think the craftsmans were given away to someone needing paint can openers. Get the Narex.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View ondablade's profile


105 posts in 3165 days

#8 posted 01-01-2010 08:52 PM

The Narex get consistently good reviews as being decent steel in a not too expensive chisel:

Fine Woodworking Tool Test: Bench Chisels
by Chris Gochnour


The beech handle, with a hoop and ferrule, is easy to grasp whether chopping with one hand or paring with two. The back of the chrome manganese blade was nice and flat and the edges were beveled sufficiently for excellent dovetailing. The cutting edge held up quite well, and at $6, this is the obvious choice for best value among Western-style chisels.

Full chisel comparison:


-- Late awakener....

View russv's profile


262 posts in 3136 days

#9 posted 01-01-2010 09:15 PM

if this is the first set you’re buying, go with what is comfortable. as you evolve in your woodworking, you probably will want different attributes from your chisels. I have recently bought a quality set of chisels, but still have a cheap set i bought years ago. i abuse my old ones and do things i will never do to my pride and joy new ones.

buying American made is a good guideline if not, i know someone who bought a set off ebay that were very nice for an unbelievable price


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

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3544 days

#10 posted 01-01-2010 10:18 PM

I find other chisels cost less and are probably better like Marple’s makes sets for around $50. or Woodcraft has a set of 8 for around the same amount.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3335 days

#11 posted 01-01-2010 10:42 PM

I go along with the Marples, been using them for years without failure.

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 3680 days

#12 posted 01-02-2010 12:08 AM

I can’t comment on the craftsman BUT I have the Narex and find them to be superb. Marples when it was made in England was also superb BUT thats only the old ones. Personally for quality, cold steal I don’t think you can beat European, My turning chisels are English. I use the scary sharp method of sharpening any had very little experience with chisels or sharpening and couldn’t been more pleased . If I had to replace my chisels today Narex is where I would go.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View northwoodsman's profile


242 posts in 3713 days

#13 posted 01-02-2010 12:09 AM

I purchased a set of the Wood River from Woodcraft a few weeks ago. A set of 8 was $50.00. The backs were relatively flat with minor machining marks. Within 45 minutes I had all 8 of them flattened, polished and razor sharp on my Tormek. I have to say, they were pretty darn sharp out of the box. I purchased these to use as my “utility” chisels when I don’t want to take a chance dinging up my good ones. However, the quality is so good, I now have two awesome sets of chisels. By the way, the good ones are Two Cherries, if that is an indicator of the quality.

-- NorthWoodsMan

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18248 posts in 3643 days

#14 posted 01-02-2010 05:31 AM

Tommy McDonald says they are all good anymore. No use spending long green.

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

View Kugel's profile


23 posts in 3237 days

#15 posted 01-02-2010 09:12 AM

If you want the best, go with a set from Barr Specialty Tools in McCall, ID. All the chisels are hand made by Barr himself, and the very best quality you can buy in todays market. I own a couple and can attest to the quality, its exceptional, nothing else comes close. They are a bit spendy but you (and your heirs) will never have to buy another set of chisels again…

-- J. KUGEL Kirkland, WA

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