Where to start in buying chisels?

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Forum topic by juanabee posted 07-20-2010 07:54 PM 5434 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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104 posts in 2047 days

07-20-2010 07:54 PM

Topic tags/keywords: chisels wood carving

Please share your opinion with me about how I should go about accumulating a set of reasonably good chisels for my woodshop. I am relatively new to woodworking, and don’t usually acquire tools until I see the need.

LOML recently gave me a Worksharp WS3000 for Father’s Day and I have enjoyed sharpening my two stanley chisels, a 1/2” and a 1” and some other sharps for Scout camp, eg. hatchet and folding knives. They are like razors now, and I can easily see how these sharp tools make some kinds of woodworking such a distinct pleasure. Next up are my three low-to-medium-grade hand planes.

This kind of hand-tooling pleasure is leading me into some woodcarving/sculpture projects. I would like to have some good chisels I can use, now that I can make them so sharp and fun to use.

What brand styles and types would you recommend? I am not into turning, so no interest there yet. Your suggestions are all appreciated.

-- "Life's nonsense pierces us with strange relation." Wallace Stevens

28 replies so far

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

4501 posts in 2233 days

#1 posted 07-20-2010 08:27 PM

Greetings Wallace,
I have a complete set of Marples chisels that range from a 1/4” up to 1 1/2” and come in a very nice box.
These re made in Sheffield, England, and you can purchase them from Rockler Woodworking, Woodworkers Supply, and several different ww suppliers.. They are not the most expensive chisels (I think around $60.00 for the set), but once sharpened, they do the job..Actually all you have to do when you get them is put a good hone on them, and they are ready to use. I’ve had mine about 7 years drom Rockler. There are many sets and types of chisels , and you will hear from some LJs that do a lot of chisel work. They get very expensive, but I find these I have do the job for me… Many suggestions are coming your way…. You can also buy these indivudallly also if you don’t need or want a full set.

-- " I don't makes my coffee spill...."

View spclPatrolGroup's profile


232 posts in 1934 days

#2 posted 07-20-2010 08:44 PM

What kind of work do you plan to use them for? Marples are a good chisle for everyday tasks, they are not as hard as some higher end chisles, but since it sounds like you have a good sharpening system that shouldnt be a problem and they are inexpensive, I would start with those, then latter on you can decide if they are good enough or if you need to upgrade, its never a bad idea to have more than one of the same size.

-- Dave, from ND "The mind is an infinitely long workbench, and its cluttered with half-finished thoughts and ideas, sometimes we need to clear off the workbench and start again from step one."

View swirt's profile


1985 posts in 2011 days

#3 posted 07-20-2010 09:16 PM

Given that you have a Worksharp, you have the means to restore an old tool with relative ease. If you have any experience with ebay, I’d start looking there to round out the collection of Stanley chisels you already have. (just realized I am making the assumption that the two Stanley’s you have are old … if they are the plastic handled variety, forget trying to complete the set and start looking for their grandparents. ;)

-- Galootish log blog,

View b2rtch's profile


4634 posts in 2087 days

#4 posted 07-20-2010 10:49 PM

” Where to start in buying chisels?”
First thing to do :Get the money

-- Bert

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2701 posts in 2325 days

#5 posted 07-20-2010 11:29 PM

Some start out wanting a full set, which can get very expensive if you buy really good quality chisels.
I have 2 Robert Sorby chisels that I use constantly. They are 3/4” and 1/2”. Years ago I intended to add to that set later, but found I haven’t needed others since I have a very big set of Freud chisels. (1/8” to 1 1/2”)
These are good chisels, but they don’t make them anymore.

So my point is, don’t get carried away thinking you must have everything at first. I would get a few good ones and worry about more later. Your own work will dictate the sizes you need. I have a fantastic collection of chisels, but I basically use the 2 sizes for most of my work.

-- She thought I hung the moon--now she just thinks I did it wrong

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 3167 days

#6 posted 07-20-2010 11:55 PM

An oft overlooked size/style of utility chisels are the so called butt chisels.
I always carry my favorite sizes in my tool tote.
Butt chisels are shorter than most bench chisels, but very useful in tight quarters or for utility purposes.

Lee Valley

-- 温故知新

View a1Jim's profile


113725 posts in 2616 days

#7 posted 07-21-2010 12:04 AM

I also have a full set of Marpel chisels . There may be harder chisels but for the money I feel Marpel chisels are great. I’ve been using them for 20 plus years and I hardly ever have to sharpen them after the are properly sharpen the first time. This whole set cost less the one of the high end

-- Custom furniture

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 2154 days

#8 posted 07-21-2010 12:06 AM

Crown and 2 Cheries and kirsh is some other great options for you


View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

4501 posts in 2233 days

#9 posted 07-21-2010 12:20 AM

Greetings Jim,

These are the same Blue Chip Marples that I have, and they have worked really good for me. I have to admit though that I don’t do a whole lot of chisel work… only when it’s called for and necessary. I saw Kent’s chisels when I went to visit him in his woodshop. I know why he has really good quality chisels…. That’s because he’s a better woodworker than I am, and a good woodworker requires the best….... He has better chisels, but I have more money… all evens out in the end….... lol lol….Right, Kent?????

-- " I don't makes my coffee spill...."

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1510 posts in 2604 days

#10 posted 07-21-2010 12:30 AM

I know Stanley hasn’t been synonymous with quality lately but it might be worth checking this out,

Supposed to be coming out in September, you read more at Popular woodworking magazine, here is a link.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View rtb's profile


1099 posts in 2752 days

#11 posted 07-21-2010 12:30 AM

Go to Highland, do whatever to look at the narex chisels and read the review of 24 chisels by Fine Woodworking. Make up your mind (don’t buy made in China )

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View a1Jim's profile


113725 posts in 2616 days

#12 posted 07-21-2010 01:58 AM

Hey Rick
I guess I’m a really bad woodworker because I have Marpels chisels LOL. If I have to compete with Kent’s woodworking I’ll through up the white flag right now.
All chisels have to do is cut wood and hold and edge , I’ll never be conviced that a $350 chisels cut any better than a marpels. sharp is shap

-- Custom furniture

View knotscott's profile


6325 posts in 2415 days

#13 posted 07-21-2010 02:10 AM

I like my Irwins (formerly Marples) but AFAIK they’re no longer made in Sheffield, but are still decent basic chisels. The MHG and Narex chisels are also a good bang for the buck.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

4501 posts in 2233 days

#14 posted 07-21-2010 02:43 AM

Jim, I’m with you ,bud, on the chisel thing….. The brand name means nothing to me…
Like you said, as long as they get the job done, are good and sharp, that’s all that counts…
My Irwin Marples holds a good edge, and does cut soft and hardwoods….. just ask one of my thumbs..

Knotscott:.... I didn’t know they quit making the chisels in England…. when did that happen? It’s a good thing we got ours when we did, Jim…...Are you ready to surrender to Kent now?

-- " I don't makes my coffee spill...."

View a1Jim's profile


113725 posts in 2616 days

#15 posted 07-21-2010 02:59 AM

How can you compete with a great guy like Kent

-- Custom furniture

showing 1 through 15 of 28 replies

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