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Forum topic by jeth posted 05-11-2011 08:45 PM 3727 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jeth

249 posts in 2298 days


05-11-2011 08:45 PM

Topic tags/keywords: chisel question

Hello all,

I’m looking at a new set of chisels. I am on a very limited budget and as I will be ordering some other items am restricted to products available on certain mail order sites.
Of what’s available I have seen two possibilities so far. One is the Woodriver bench chisel set from Woodcraft, the other the Bailey 5 piece set from Stanley.
Price point is similar, $80 for 6 woodriver, $65 for 5 Stanleys. The Stanleys boast british steel while the Woodriver are obviously chinese. A search here hasn’t come up with anything and elsewhere I have found mixed opinions, nothing concrete on the Stanleys, just that they don’t “look” so great and generally good reviews of the Woodrivers mixed with some quite negative comments.

Anyone here have real experience with either of these products? I would be interested to get some real feedback to help me decide.


14 replies so far

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

13003 posts in 2153 days


#1 posted 05-11-2011 09:28 PM

the newer Stanley 750s have enjoyed favorable reviews, from what I can tell. I’m a chisel freak, collecting Witherby, Butcher, and vintage 750’s. I’m going against my collection, recommending some cheap big box chisels. You can score some cheap Marples/Irwin & lop of the handles (which are too long for my liking). You could always go vintage and get a set worth bragging about for about the same price:)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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Bertha

13003 posts in 2153 days


#2 posted 05-11-2011 09:30 PM

I neglected to mention that the older Stanley 750s are among the best out there. Ashley Iles best bang for the buck IMO and Japanese Damascus if you hit the lottery:)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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Loren

8295 posts in 3108 days


#3 posted 05-11-2011 09:35 PM

Woodcraft doesn’t sell junk. I think you can rely on WC to accurately
represent their tools in terms of quality. I doubt they would sell
chisels that don’t meet basic quality standards for the steel.

Some people say the Narex chisels from Czech Republic are a good
value.

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jeth

249 posts in 2298 days


#4 posted 05-11-2011 09:36 PM

Thanks, but the new Stanley 750s are out of range, I really am very limited on what I can spend and am accordingly willing to accept that I won’t be getting the best quality tools. I was really looking for direct feedback on the possibilities mentioned above.
I’ve seen Ashley Iles, nice and not overpriced, appealing also as I’m a Brit and they’re made back home, but I’ve only seen them at a few select suppliers and if I start picking bits from all over the shipping costs (to Mexico) start to add.
I was also looking at a set of Woodriver planes which seem to be well received all round, I was hoping the chisels might also be a good buy and it would be convenient to order them together with the planes.

Anybody used the Woodriver or Stanley models I mentioned?

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Bertha

13003 posts in 2153 days


#5 posted 05-11-2011 09:42 PM

I apologize if I missed your intent. I’d agree with Loren that you won’t find junk at WC. You might get a better bang for your buck at a big box store if you’re not expecting diamonds.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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jeth

249 posts in 2298 days


#6 posted 05-11-2011 10:50 PM

Sorry Loren, I hadn’t seen your post before writing my previous reply.
As I said, I have seen generally good feedback on the Woodriver set, just a few bad reports among them.

The Narex do get good reports, but I have only found them at LeeValley and would be nice to order everything from one place, shipping to my location is not cheap!

I have been looking at the Ashley iles, and they really do look a good deal for tools from another league. I might be tempted to stick it out with my plastic handled cheapos a while longer and go save for a set, might be a better move in the long run.
By some miracle I found a site thats ells them and actually quotes shipping, less than $25 a set to get them down here, though only USPS so I would have to hope they didn’t vanish this side of the border.

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Bertha

13003 posts in 2153 days


#7 posted 05-11-2011 11:10 PM

Jeth, the Iles are really in the big leagues. Shoulders above Lie Nielsen and better than most of my Witherby, sad to say (no angry PMs from LN lovers please; I own both). I murder chisels and I’m not afraid to admit it. I have two kinds of chisels: 1) the big box variety that take a pounding and 2) the beauties that I use with care, mostly mortise/sash. I use chisels a lot and I don’t think you can go wrong with the Narex, Blue chips, Two cherries, Stanleys, etc., assuming you have adequate sharpening resources. If you put aside beauty and history, the cheap chisels really only suffer from sharpening duration. That being said, a vintage socket chisel with your favorite shopmade handle can really make your day.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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Bertha

13003 posts in 2153 days


#8 posted 05-11-2011 11:11 PM

Also, in terms of the Iles, Mads just recently received his set. Ask him if it was worth the wait and saving. I feel like I could answer for him:)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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jeth

249 posts in 2298 days


#9 posted 05-11-2011 11:20 PM

Ok Bertha, thanks for that, if the Iles are that good then the price is very good, a whole lot cheaper than LN, Sorby or the other “big names”.
I understand your point about the difference coming down to how long a blade will stay sharp, but I feel that is an important issue, I don’t especially enjoy sharpening and time is, as they say, money.
I can get a good edge on my plastic handled chinese cheapies, but a sliver or two later and they’re halfway to dull.
I intend to keep those horrors for heavy pounding as you suggest.

I’m going to give this some thought as it might be better in the long run to invest in something that will serve me and satisfy me for life. At the end of the day, a set of 6 Iles is less than double the cost of a set of 6 Woodriver…

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3372 posts in 2115 days


#10 posted 05-12-2011 03:42 AM

I can’t testify to the chisels, but the WoodRiver planes are well made.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

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Loren

8295 posts in 3108 days


#11 posted 05-12-2011 06:08 AM

My Sorby registered chisels don’t hold a particular keen edge. I pound
them and they do a good job and while the edge doesn’t stay sharp,
it doesn’t fall apart either. They are good chisels for hitting with hammers.

A paring chisel can be made from harder steel because you don’t hit it
hard if you know about these things. Just because a chisel takes and
holds a keen edge doesn’t make it the best chisel for all work.

I say get used to sharpening and get fast at it and then you don’t have
to fret about edges breaking on you because you can fix them.

View TheWoodNerd's profile

TheWoodNerd

288 posts in 2652 days


#12 posted 05-12-2011 03:28 PM

The Narex are also available from Highland Woodworking. In fact, those particular ones look a little nicer than the ones I got from LV, the handles are ugly (yet comfortable) and the ferrules seem to react with hand oils? You can see what I mean from the review I did last year, http://www.thewoodnerd.com/reviews/narexBenchChisels.html

-- The Wood Nerd -- http://www.workshopaholic.net

View jeth's profile

jeth

249 posts in 2298 days


#13 posted 05-12-2011 08:33 PM

Loren, thanks for your further thoughts. I understand and agree in part with what you’re saying. I think it’s a question of balance.
I can hone my chisels pretty fast, but that doesn’t mean I want to be stopping several times a day to do it.
I have a small work area and no dedicated sharpening station so every session means clearing a space and getting set up, which takes more time than the actual sharpening.

I saw Mafes review of the Iles set and its worth noting that he paid $300 usd (inc shipping) over in europe, but the set is around $150 usd in the states, seems a very good price for “heirloom” quality tools.

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Bertha

13003 posts in 2153 days


#14 posted 05-12-2011 08:46 PM

Loren’s always spot on and I’ve got a few Sorby’s, more lathe tools than chisels, though. Mafe’s no dummy either and knows a quality tool when he sees one. You’re smart to point out the pricepoint comparison of a “get you by” versus “joy to use”. Even quality chisels, like Loren points out, need sharpening. I like the powered strop on my Tormek out of laziness but any strop will do, I suppose. I won’t bore you as the World’s biggest scary sharp fan. Let me know what you decide. I’m excited for you:)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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