high carbon steel chisels; sheffield steel?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by Zach posted 03-16-2012 04:04 AM 7156 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Zach 's profile


5 posts in 2288 days

03-16-2012 04:04 AM

Topic tags/keywords: chisel

Okay I’m a total beiginner to wood working and I’m trying to:

A. Build a basic tool kit for hand tool woodworking.

B. Save up cash to buy a bench.

Which brings me to my question where can I find a reasonibly priced set of high carbon steel chisels. (Not japanese). I want high carbon steel for ease of sharpening. Now I’ve seen the set lie neilson has for 275 bucks but that is a little out of my price range.

And my second question what is sheffield steel. Is it just steel from England. In any of the various alloys that tool steel are.

-- Never laugh at live dragons, The Hobbit

8 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


4754 posts in 2373 days

#1 posted 03-16-2012 04:15 AM

I’ve heard good things about these.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3670 days

#2 posted 03-16-2012 05:04 AM

The Narex are said to be very good for the price. The Marples
may have gone downhill, but they used to be a very good
value and old-stock ones can be got on ebay sometimes at
reasonable prices.

One thing to look for is the long chisel blades that make them
more suitable for a variety of tasks in furniture work. The
short-bladed hardware store chisels are more suited to
rough work and carpentry.

Sheffield brands are (were): Marples, Footprint, Sorby, Stanley UK,
Crown. They are all generally pretty decent and sometimes
much better.

View jdmaher's profile


430 posts in 2601 days

#3 posted 03-16-2012 08:57 AM

I got a set of the Stanley Sweethearts that Bondo pointed out. Pretty good so far, but I’ve only had them about 3 months.

And I agree with Loren, longer chisel blades are important.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View laxbograt's profile


76 posts in 2448 days

#4 posted 03-16-2012 02:16 PM

I Have a set of WoodRiver chisels form Woodcraft that have served me well, I also have a set of Narex Mortise chisels and I was very impressed with the quality, I would assume the quality would be as good for there Bench chisels.


View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4947 posts in 3982 days

#5 posted 03-16-2012 02:26 PM

If you’re into lookin’ around, scratch thru the junk shops. I have lots of W. Butcher cast steel chisels that I’ve found for $5.. to $10.00. A little clean up and sharpening. Great tools ( any Butcher tools) and not expensive.
Old Stanleys, Buck Bros. too.


View BubbaIBA's profile


387 posts in 2398 days

#6 posted 03-18-2012 03:09 PM

I agree with Bill White….find used chisels (there are many good brands so it makes no never mind as to brand) at junk shops, yard sales, eBay, pay no more than $5 USD each, as long as they are pre-WWII the steel will usually be good. If you buy socket chisels without handles and do not have a lathe you can find handles on eBay, so do not let the lack of a handle stop you if the chisel is the correct size.

Spend your money on a low speed grinder and a good set of stones i.e. a extra-extra course diamond plate, a soft Arkansas, a hard Arkansas, and either a surgical black or a translucent Arkansas and learn to sharpen on your cheap chisels. You will be ahead of the game, you will learn to flatten backs, grind bevels, and hone and when mistakes are made, and mistakes will be made, all you have lost is a $5 USD hunk of steel. Then add “good” (read expensive) chisels once you know how to keep ‘em sharp. The best part of doing it that way is once you get a set of good, sharp pre-WWII chisels you probably will not feel the need to spend $500 USD on a set of LN or whatever.

View BubbaIBA's profile


387 posts in 2398 days

#7 posted 03-18-2012 03:24 PM

Just want to add….I have several sets of post WWII chisels, some expensive ones, and 90% of the time I will reach for one of my re-habed pre-WWII chisels. I find the pre-WWII chisels will be sharper, will hold the edge almost as long as the newer chisels, and because I’ve turned the handle to fit me and the chisel they work better. YMMV.

View a1Jim's profile


117114 posts in 3599 days

#8 posted 03-18-2012 03:52 PM

I have used Marpels chisels for 25 years and my students have bought them and the work fine and hold there edge.
There always seems to be a big thing about chisels most of them work fine if sharpened properly. Some folks that can afford them spend $450 or more per chisel ,to me this makes no sense ,I can only guess the folks that spend that much are trying to impress some one or they are of the mind set that if it’s the most expensive it must be the best ,possible but not always true. Many of the less expensive brands brands have wood handles I suspect that the nice looking wood helps them sell to wood workers,but the plastic handles on Marple chisels are tough as nails and shaped to help prevent them from rolling off an uneven surfaces . This type of plastic is much more durable than wood this is important because you have to strike the end of the handles to make them cut in some cases. For about $10 each in sets of 4 or 6 they will last a long time. Chisels have very simple task to do ,just cut wood and it doesn’t take a $400+ tool to do that .For the most part new chisels are not sharp out of the box so you need to learn how to sharpen them and that process is even open for debate whether you should buy a $750 sharpening system or use something as simple as the scary sharp method that cost very little and works great. It’s hard on new folks because they get so many opinions about what way to go as far as tools go. My advise is if you can borrow or use the tool before you buy it all the better and until you can get some experience in wood working (other than big tools like table saws)buy a less expensive tool to start and trade up later. Most of all enjoy this great thing called woodworking!

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics