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Which chisel set is best?

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Forum topic by Hawgnutz posted 12-08-2007 04:44 PM 27333 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Hawgnutz

526 posts in 2821 days


12-08-2007 04:44 PM

Topic tags/keywords: chisels

My wife is going to buy me a chisel set for Christmas. I have narrowed them down to these two starter sets. One is a Buck Brothers 3-piece set from Home Depot. http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&productId=100067444

The other set is a Marples, 4-piece set from Rockler. http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?Offerings_ID=18007

Both are inexpensive starter sets that will replace my old bargain-basement set, and I thin either will serve my purposes. I look to you experts for your opinion on which is the better of these two. Or, maybe another set in the same price range…

God Bless,
Hawg

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards


13 replies so far

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

1011 posts in 2839 days


#1 posted 12-08-2007 05:12 PM

Hawg, I’ve been researching the same subject… DO NOT get the Buck Brothers. The steel is inferior. On the Marples, make sure the ones purchased have “Sheffield” (as in England) on the blade. There are some sets with the Marples name on them that are being made with inferior steel. Those are Marples-quality in name only.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Karson's profile

Karson

34912 posts in 3145 days


#2 posted 12-08-2007 05:16 PM

Frank Klausz in his video states that he likes the Marples Chisels. I’ve got them but don’t buy them because I got 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 karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

1011 posts in 2839 days


#3 posted 12-08-2007 05:18 PM

See Rob McCune’s Forum topic on Buck Brothers.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2781 days


#4 posted 12-08-2007 05:37 PM

A bad chisel is like a bad woman…it’ll break your spirit. Save your money and buy good chisels. If not, the Marples are the better choice by a handsome margin. Jeff, however, is right; If they are the Sheffeild ones, you’ll be okay. If not, then you’ll have different sizes of slotted screwdrivers.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View VTWoody's profile

VTWoody

95 posts in 2802 days


#5 posted 12-08-2007 05:46 PM

I am actually curious about chisels, too. I am more looking at the Ashley Iles Bench chisels and was wondering what people thought of that particular set. Does anyone have them? Is there any measurable difference between their Beech and Bubinga handles as far as wear and tear goes or is it just cosmetic. Are there any other brands that people would recommend?

View rikkor's profile

rikkor

11295 posts in 2619 days


#6 posted 12-08-2007 06:06 PM

I got the Marples (Sheffield) chisels from Rockler and I think they are quite good.

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

1011 posts in 2839 days


#7 posted 12-08-2007 06:22 PM

VTWoody, I’ve heard good things about Ashley Iles. I think there was a comment about their handles being a little short though. I’m still researching them.

I may go with a set of Two Cherries. There is a company called Hirsh that also manufactures what appears to be the same design down to the handle. I don’t know if they are sister companies or what.

Two Cherries is German and I learned something interesting in my research. Apparently, it is common in Europe for chisels to have the backs already lapped and smooth when you buy them… All you need to do is a quick hone before using them. This said, they are now marketing a set geared towards Western buyers where all faces are just ground and not polished (thus, under $100). There are distributors here in the states. You don’t have to have them shipped over or anything.

I’m firmly in the camp of buying once… now. I have a crappy set of Stanleys and after working really hard to get the back flat on my 3/4 chisel, I put them aside. They also don’t hold an edge.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Alin Dobra's profile

Alin Dobra

350 posts in 2633 days


#8 posted 12-08-2007 06:53 PM

Hawgnutz,

DO NOT BUY BUCK BROTHERS ANYTHING. Every time I see their chisels at HD I go mad. The steel in them is horrible, they are not balanced and and they have an awful fit-and-feel. The same goes for everything they make.

Before I give my recommendation, I have to mention that I use chisels a lot. I cut dovetails by hand (and only by hand), and I do a lot of hand adjustment with chisels.

I have owned the 4 piece marple set for almost 2 years now. The handle is plastic but quite good (does not shatter, feels quite nice in the hand). The best news about Marples is that the steel is very good. I own two “two cherries” chisels. They are only slightly better (edge retention about the same but they are better balanced and have wood handle). A single “two cherry” chisel is as expensive as 3-4 Marples though. As a starter set, the Marples are perfect in my opinion. Even if you upgrade latter, you can still have them around and use them to clean glue lines, rougher work, etc.

I have to warn you that, once you get Marples and up (before that it does not matter since they are bad), to get the best of your chisels you have to sharpen them well. A sharp chisel is a pleasure to use, a dull one is downright dangerous. You can go with the “scary sharp” system (sandpaper glued on a piece of glass, use grit 150 for shaping, 220 to 1600 to put a fine edge).

Alin

-- -- Alin Dobra, Gainesville, Florida

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Alin Dobra

350 posts in 2633 days


#9 posted 12-08-2007 06:56 PM

I forgot to mention something. F. Luna suggests that Marples are not like they used to be. Well, by all accounts (including mine) the steel is at least as good. Irwin uses a modern process for them. What is not so good (but fixable) is that they are shipped with horrible milling marks on them. Takes more time to flatten them (which you have to do a little even with the Two Cherries) but you can get them to behave nicely. Especially if you have budget constraints, they are not a bad choice at all.

Alin

-- -- Alin Dobra, Gainesville, Florida

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3971 posts in 2809 days


#10 posted 12-08-2007 07:31 PM

Hawg,
I have my eye on the Crown (Sheffield) butt chisel set for a while. I have older Marples Blue Chips that are rugged and the polypropylene handles are nearly indestructible, don’t roll off the bench etc.
I just have a hankering for the shorties for the scale of work I do.
Sheffield (English) or Solingen (German) steel chisels will will always be a good bet.

The Japanese laminated blue/white steel dovetail chisels are nice, but they are metric, something to consider.

And there are good old good sash mortise and pig-sticker chisels on eBay if your are ready to tune them up, but probably not for Christmas gifts.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4438 posts in 2707 days


#11 posted 12-08-2007 11:19 PM

Marc,
I just had to chop a bunch of mortises and grabbed a set of Marples at HomeDepot. I think they were $29 for the set. They seem to be alright for a cheap set. I beat the crap out of them and that’s what I wanted them for. They saved a lot of banging on my Robert Sorbe set. If my wife offered me a set, I probably go Two Cherrys or A. Isles.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Hawgnutz's profile

Hawgnutz

526 posts in 2821 days


#12 posted 12-09-2007 05:16 AM

Well, thanks for all the input and comments. I am sorry, Tom, but my wife cannot afford two cherrys or A. Isles. I am overjoyed she is contributing to my woodworking hobby! Right now I will get the Marples and use my Work Sharp to hone and sharpen them. When I become more proficient and have a greater need for more precision in my chisels, I will probably go with two cherrys.

I already have a set of “pig-sticker” chisels that I can use to scrape glue and such. Now I wil be off to, hopefuilly, discover the joys of fine chiselling!

God Bless,
Hawg

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

View Hawgnutz's profile

Hawgnutz

526 posts in 2821 days


#13 posted 12-09-2007 05:17 AM

I just want to take this opportunity to wish all the Lumberjock Community a very Merry Christmas!

God Bless,
Hawg

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

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