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Forum topic by bbasiaga posted 05-29-2016 12:12 PM 727 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bbasiaga

757 posts in 1459 days


05-29-2016 12:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: chisel mortise

I’ve got a project coming up where I will need to chop some mortises. Its mainly going to be 1/4” mortises as I’ll be working with 3/4” stock. Depth 1” or less. Material is maple.

I’m in need of a mortise chisel to do this. Been reading a lot of back threads on this, and I think I’ve got 4 candidates in mind.

Lie Nielsen
Robert Sorby
Narex
Ray Iles

Seems like the Ray Iles is the strongest/most traditional chisel for this application. The Sorby and LN are more considered sash mortise chisels – strong but a little less sturdy for big cuts. The Narex get decent reviews, but their alloy seems to hold the edge for a slightly shorter work time.

I’m not adverse to spending up a little to get a lifetime chisel. But at the same time I’m still collecting tools so the less I spend, the sooner I can get the next thing I need/want. The Narex and Sorby save me 20-40$ over the LN and Iles. The Iles chisels seem to have reached nirvana status though, which I kinda wanna try to believe. One question I had about them was – are they too tall/thick to cut a mortise less than say an inch long?

What would you guys recommend?

-Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.


18 replies so far

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3127 days


#1 posted 05-29-2016 12:39 PM

I bought a set of Narex mortise chisels from Lee Valley about 6 years ago … I have been very happy with them. Don’t know anything about the other brands you mentioned.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4028 posts in 1815 days


#2 posted 05-29-2016 12:43 PM

I own several brands of mortise chisels, I prefer the Ray Isles over the others I have.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View AdamGun's profile

AdamGun

5 posts in 228 days


#3 posted 05-29-2016 02:02 PM

I got a set of narex mortise chisels and have found they work pretty great.

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

3682 posts in 1729 days


#4 posted 05-29-2016 03:07 PM

I met a wood carver in Germany last month who said that Stubai chisels in Austria had the best steel on the market today. His philosophy was, buy a good tool and it will last you a life time. Buy a cheap tool and you replace it several times in you life. I had to agree with that.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 950 days


#5 posted 05-29-2016 03:21 PM

Wasn’t impressed with the narex. Heard great things about the iles.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

14583 posts in 2147 days


#6 posted 05-29-2016 03:50 PM

Most of mine are by Butcher. Been using a “New Haven Edge Tool Co.” one at the moment…

As it matches the mortises I happen to be chopping, at the moment. Those other two in the picture came from Aldis, NOT Harbor Freight.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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BigYin

347 posts in 1880 days


#7 posted 05-29-2016 04:15 PM

 photo 2030094a-d68a-42c9-ac2c-97680397dc6e_zps7lzbeibc.jpg

british ebay usually have this style of old mortice chisel. they have lasted over a hundred years of use because they are the strongest design. Same design as the new isles chisels

One guy is selling 1/4 & 3/8 pair for £17.20 on buy it now. check how much postage to US before you purchase
ebay sale 111994276307

-- ... Never Apologise For Being Right ...

View BubbaIBA's profile

BubbaIBA

383 posts in 1840 days


#8 posted 05-30-2016 05:14 PM


I ve got a project coming up where I will need to chop some mortises. Its mainly going to be 1/4” mortises as I ll be working with 3/4” stock. Depth 1” or less. Material is maple.

I m in need of a mortise chisel to do this. Been reading a lot of back threads on this, and I think I ve got 4 candidates in mind.

Lie Nielsen
Robert Sorby
Narex
Ray Iles

Seems like the Ray Iles is the strongest/most traditional chisel for this application. The Sorby and LN are more considered sash mortise chisels – strong but a little less sturdy for big cuts. The Narex get decent reviews, but their alloy seems to hold the edge for a slightly shorter work time.

I m not adverse to spending up a little to get a lifetime chisel. But at the same time I m still collecting tools so the less I spend, the sooner I can get the next thing I need/want. The Narex and Sorby save me 20-40$ over the LN and Iles. The Iles chisels seem to have reached nirvana status though, which I kinda wanna try to believe. One question I had about them was – are they too tall/thick to cut a mortise less than say an inch long?

What would you guys recommend?

-Brian

- bbasiaga

Brian,

For mortises that small any mortise chisel is overkill, go with your current bevel edge or firmer chisel, either will do the job well.

If you want and need a mortise chisel there are none better than the RI’s pig stickers aka English Bolster chisels. Because you should need so few sizes the cost shouldn’t be a big factor.

ken

View Loren's profile

Loren

8303 posts in 3112 days


#9 posted 05-30-2016 07:44 PM

Some woodworkers prefer old millwright’s chisels to the
pickstickers or lighter styles. You can get them reasonably on Ebay.

There are different technical approaches to chisel
mortising and of course the scale of the mortises
matters. A millwright chisel can get into short,
deep mortises where a pigsticker may not go.

Realistically you’ll probably seldom use more than
2 or 3 widths.

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

6570 posts in 1614 days


#10 posted 05-30-2016 08:21 PM

If you’re going to end up doing deeper mortises, then you want a chisel with a sharp side landing, and then sharpen it as well when you sharpen the cutting edge. Sharp side landings mean clean side walls and makes it easier to lever the chisel out when chopping. This goes for whichever chisel you buy.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View fatman51's profile

fatman51

335 posts in 1301 days


#11 posted 05-31-2016 07:43 PM

I want to join in here because I have been considering the same question, looking at any number of different Mortice and firmer chisels old and new. For thirty plus years I have successfully cut or cleaned my mortises with poorly tapered heavy butt chisels with their bevels ground flat at 25 degrees with a secondary bevel honed in at 35 degrees. These work well where they are long enough and they are affordable.

Recently, I needed to make a good number of 5/16 wide by 2” long by 1-1/2 deep mortises, a job made easier when my brother gave me one of these:

I was rather impressed with this Ray Isles mortising chisel and I would highly recommend it to anyone that is willing and able to spend the $69.95 plus shipping from toolsforworkingwood.com . As I can not, I have been looking at the Narex here: http://www.leevalley.com/US/Wood/page.aspx?p=66737&cat=1,41504 and the Crown here: http://www.flinn-garlick-saws.co.uk/acatalog/Crown_Registered_Mortice_Chisel_.html#SID=453 in the event that I can not find good mortise or firmer chisels used somewhere.

-- The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. Benjamin Franklin

View Mosquito's profile

Mosquito

8094 posts in 1756 days


#12 posted 05-31-2016 08:03 PM

For what it’s worth, I bought a set of Narex mortise chisels, decided I didn’t much like them (edge retention wasn’t what I was hoping for, in oak I ended up sharpening a lot). I sold the whole set, and bought a pair of Ray Iles (3/8” and 1/4”), and have been very happy with them since.

I’ve used them for quite a few mortises that are around 1” deep, with no problems. I’m not sure why they would be “too tall/thick” for a shallow mortise, as it’s got to get through the first 1” anyway in order to make a 2” mortise?

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - http://www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods - http://www.TheModsquito.com

View mramseyISU's profile

mramseyISU

419 posts in 1009 days


#13 posted 05-31-2016 08:18 PM

I’ve chopped 3/4W x 4”L x 2”D mortises with a plain old bench chisel without any issues. It wasn’t even a good old one it was one of those new release Stanley sweethearts.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2193 posts in 944 days


#14 posted 05-31-2016 08:43 PM

Sim experience to Mosquito re: not impressed with edge retention in hard wood with the Narex.

But—for the money perfectly usable, especially if you won’t be using them a lot.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4855 posts in 2277 days


#15 posted 05-31-2016 08:49 PM

For what it’s worth I think I spent less on my first benchtop mortising machine than many will spend on a good set of chisels. Of course you need bench chisels anyways, and a mortiser is a dedicated tool. They sure make quick work of square mortises.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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