• Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by CompleteRookie posted 03-01-2010 09:18 AM 1507 views 1 time favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View CompleteRookie's profile


18 posts in 2669 days

03-01-2010 09:18 AM

Topic tags/keywords: chisel question

I made a deal with my wife that as I started to do more woodworking, I would no longer look to buy the cheap, one time use items. But rather I would focus on the better quality items. I would spend more, probably significantly more, but I would have tools that I could really work with. Which brings me to…


I am looking to invest in a set of chisels and am really confused. I am looking at Marples (I heard on a podcast that they were pretty good), Wood River, and one from Lie-Nelson. The prices are $70, $60, and $340 respectively. I assume that the Lie-Nelson’s are worth drooling over simply because of the name and reputation for amazing quality tools. Are they worth the additional money? What about the other two brands? Any thoughts? Lastly are there other brands that I should explore and how? I can you take these chisels on a “test drive”?

Any and all thoughts are appreciated.

-- I can make firewood with the best of them!

14 replies so far

View shopdog's profile


575 posts in 2904 days

#1 posted 03-01-2010 12:48 PM

If you’re going to invest in good chisels, you have to know how to sharpen them. If you can’t, then even the best chisel won’t cut.
That said, I have a great collection of socket chisels that I have bought on ebay over the last 10-15 years. Most of them are old Witherbys, and I never paid more than $5 for a chisel, and often less. They were in bad shape when I got them, but I lovingly restored them, and turned handles. Through the restoration process, I have learned to get them razor sharp.
I have some Marples chisels from years ago…the blue handled ones. If you know how to sharpen, they are decent for the price.

-- Steve--

View treeman's profile


208 posts in 2868 days

#2 posted 03-01-2010 12:57 PM

I bought this set form Highland Woodworking and have been extremely pleased with them. They will need to have their backs polished and edges sharpened when you first get them but they do an excellent job once tuned. This set earned a “Best Value” from FWW magazine.

View DaneWoodWorker's profile


9 posts in 2427 days

#3 posted 03-01-2010 01:34 PM

I found this review on the net.

there is all so a good guide for sharpening them.

i have the hirsch set of 4 amongst many others they are my absolut favorit new chisels . but it is in the sharpning that you need to look.

used chisels can be really good.

Lie-Nelson chisels are the best in my opinion for western style woodwork. but they are price do too the brand. if you like the look the Stanley 750 which the lie-nelson is based is a good used option.

View Glen Peterson's profile

Glen Peterson

555 posts in 2474 days

#4 posted 03-02-2010 12:37 AM

I vote for older stanely 750’s. I have many chisels including a set of LN’s and a set of Japanese chisels, but I think the 750’s are a great way to start. A complete set will set you back $300+, but you can find one off’s inexpensively. I picked up 3 at an antique store last year for $25. I also have some old witherby and buck brothers that I like, but with any old chisels it’s a bit of a resurrections job, but very satisfying.

-- Glen

View 8iowa's profile


1540 posts in 3179 days

#5 posted 03-02-2010 12:48 AM

Fine Woodworking magazine ran a test on 23 chisels and reported the results in their issue #200, October 2008;

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Tony_S's profile


597 posts in 2501 days

#6 posted 03-02-2010 01:31 AM

I use Narex chisels everyday, and for the price, they can’t be beat.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

View jerryz's profile


164 posts in 2697 days

#7 posted 03-02-2010 01:46 AM

I bought this set from Woodcraft, they are made in Switzerland and come from the factory already preetty sharp and micro-beveled.
They keep the edge also as you would expect from superior quality steel and the price is right $169.99 for a boxed set of 6.

I love them

View hokieman's profile


173 posts in 3172 days

#8 posted 03-02-2010 01:48 AM

I have the Narex chisels too and they work well. I do have to admit, I would like to have a set of Lie Nielsen’s though but the price of the chisels could buy a tool that I don’t have already.

View iamwelty's profile


254 posts in 2534 days

#9 posted 03-02-2010 01:50 AM

For me, the Narex’s work perfectly perfect… There are better chisels, but I don’t need better…

-- There is a fine line between eroticism and nausea...

View russv's profile


262 posts in 2587 days

#10 posted 03-02-2010 03:27 AM

if you’ve never owned and used a set of chisels, i would buy a a cheaper set. you probably don’t know how you will use and (heaven forbid) abuse them. sharpening is critical learn and a cheaper set is where you might want to practice first. no shame in a cheap chisel, just in abusing an expensive one.

i bought a set of these and for the price, are a great set, look nice on my wall and i feel better taking one of these out in the field than one from a $350 matched set. after a while you will know more of what you want in a good chisel. then you can buy the set you KNOW you will be happy with.

one humble opinion

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

View CompleteRookie's profile


18 posts in 2669 days

#11 posted 03-03-2010 09:19 PM

Thanks! You have given me a lot of direction and a lot to think about. I discounted the sharpening aspect of chisels, but clearly I need to focus too.

-- I can make firewood with the best of them!

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5839 posts in 3003 days

#12 posted 03-03-2010 09:29 PM

No !!!!!! they are not worth the massive hike in price.Unless you want to show off ,or be frightened to use them ,or are more interested in names rather than performance.I know their stuff is good verry very good but worth such a massive hike in the pice NO a thousand times NO My 5 cents.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View CompleteRookie's profile


18 posts in 2669 days

#13 posted 03-04-2010 01:27 AM

Fantastic ideas and advice. Thank you all.

Based on these comments, many of which I had not even considered, I will definitely hold off on the Lie-Nelson. It sounds like I would be better off sticking to a set that is $50 or less and working on my skills and chisel understanding. No need to buy a Ferrari for a 16 year old, right?

-- I can make firewood with the best of them!

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3092 days

#14 posted 03-04-2010 02:27 AM

If you want good made in the USA chisels but don’t want to pay for premium chisels

Get some of the Diefenbacher brand chisels. I have the paring and firmer chisels. A little work to clean them up (polish the back, hone the edge they still have a burr when the come) but quality well built chisels.

Nice price for something that isn’t an import and uses good (non chrome vanadium) steel.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics