Do I really need mortise chisels?

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Forum topic by pierce85 posted 10-21-2011 12:19 AM 3086 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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508 posts in 2584 days

10-21-2011 12:19 AM

Topic tags/keywords: chisel

I have a set of Narex bench chisels that I like, but I plan to do some mortise and tenoning very soon. Would it be a mistake to use my bench chisels for mortising? I’m assuming that it’s not a good idea but I’m not sure.

I’m currently looking at a set of Narex mortise chisels from Lee Valley –,41504. The price is right. Everything else seems to be in the several hundred dollar range. Does anyone have experience with the Narex mortise chisels? As always, thanks for the help.

5 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2993 days

#1 posted 10-21-2011 12:34 AM

I got the three piece set from WoodWorker’s Supply recently.
Very happy with these, but wish I had gotten the bigger set.
I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised at the quality of these tools.

Don’t think you can go wrong with the version from Lee Valley Tools either. Very nice company.

In terms of “do I really need these?”, I can’t answer that for you.
I have made mortises in the past by drilling then paring out with a regular chisel.
Some folks prefer to use a jig and router, then chisel it square.
The mortise chisel is heavy and tough enough to let you pound and chop it out from scratch.

I have only chopped out a couple since I got my set, so don’t feel I’m in a position to recommend.
I will say the next chisel I’m looking for is one of those “bent end” type that help lever out the bottom of the mortise.

View StumpyNubs's profile


7598 posts in 2822 days

#2 posted 10-21-2011 12:57 AM

If it’s a tool, you need it. That’s why we have workshops to put them in…

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View pierce85's profile


508 posts in 2584 days

#3 posted 10-21-2011 01:01 AM

Thank you, crank49! That’s very good to hear. I really like my bench set and figured that the Narex mortise set would likely exhibit the same quality, but it’s nice to have that confirmation.

I’m also considering a set of Ray Isles, which is a massive jump in price and the wife would kill me (murder by Ray Isles), but I’ve read nothing but wonderful reviews of them. The problem is that Tools For Working Wood is out of stock of every size but the 1/2 inch.

View Arminius's profile


304 posts in 3825 days

#4 posted 10-21-2011 01:02 AM

If you like the Narex bench chisels, you will like the mortise set – if you do much mortising, they are worth it. You can use a bench chisel but you have to be somewhat careful, especially with the smaller ones.

View pierce85's profile


508 posts in 2584 days

#5 posted 10-21-2011 01:03 AM

Exactly, Stumpy! Can’t argue with that…

Arminius – after doing a little more online research, that seems to be the consensus. It’s doable but only with great care.

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