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Best Bench Chisel Out there?

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Forum topic by Texchappy posted 780 days ago 6192 views 0 times favorited 35 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Texchappy

252 posts in 806 days


780 days ago

A couple of restrictions: no metric and American made (maybe Canadian or English).

So what would you say is the best bench chisel for all around use?

TIA,
Tony

-- Wood is not velveeta


35 replies so far

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

4700 posts in 1163 days


#1 posted 780 days ago

The balance of the Japanese chisels are excellent and some are very expensive. I got a set out of ebay
for 100.00 and I am pleased with them.
Others will have excellent recommendations as well Tony.

View NJWiliam's profile

NJWiliam

32 posts in 1153 days


#2 posted 780 days ago

Barr Quarton chisels.

View Loren's profile

Loren

7165 posts in 2234 days


#3 posted 780 days ago

I concur. Barr.

Lie Nielsen’s are fine but lack ferules and are
not as hefty and stout as the Barr’s for all ‘round work.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Gshepherd's profile

Gshepherd

1428 posts in 787 days


#4 posted 780 days ago

I have the Lie Nielsen set, Pfeil,Blue Spruce,Bridge City and I always go for the good ole Stanley Everlasting…. The ole Stanley socket chisels are great also.

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View BubbaIBA's profile

BubbaIBA

166 posts in 962 days


#5 posted 778 days ago

While I like the fact there are folks making hand made tools I have to question spending $100+ USD on a chisel if you want a tool to work wood….collecting, a work of art, showing off, yeah that I can understand.

Personal preference but I do not want a chisel with Rc62 steel, too hard to sharpen quickly (I own some Japanese chisels but seldom use them for that reason). Yes they will sometimes hold a working edge a little longer but I had rather strop or hone a little more often, be able to do it quickly and always have a very sharp tool instead of an almost sharp tool. As far as balance, nothing works better than making your own handles to fit you, the chisel, and the work you do….and it’s cheap. Old steel from the best makers will cost less than $20 USD even off eBay, often less than $5 USD if you look around. Add a custom handle and you can have a full set of working chisels for the cost of one Barr or for that matter one LN.

I have both new, some high dollar ones, and my old Pre-war Pexto, Union Hardware and others I’ve re-handled on my rack. I’ll reach for the old ones for almost every job. YMMV.

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1279 days


#6 posted 778 days ago

For modern, I’d say Iles
http://www.toolsforworkingwood.com//Merchant/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=toolshop&Product_Code=IL-100-40.XX&Category_Code=&Search=bench chisel

or Iles

http://www.toolsforworkingwood.com//Merchant/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=toolshop&Product_Code=IL-100-20.XX&Category_Code=&Search=bench chisel

.
The Blue Spruces are absolutely gorgeous but I don’t own them
.
For vintage, I’d agree about the Stanley 750s. I like Butcher and Witherby myself but you’ll probably have to rehandle them unless you want to spend a ton.
.
The Barrs are insanely beautiful but very limited in size offerings. Over $100 a chisel can put you pretty close to some very high quality japanese chisels but not close to the best (see below, ouch). The Barrs are also very close to their Japanese brother
http://www.japanwoodworker.com/product.asp?s=JapanWoodworker&pf_id=05.304.15&dept_id=12793
.
Japanese (Price: $306.50):

.
Barr ($105)

.
Or you could get this really ugly set of Damascus, lol (I’m joking about the ugly, obviously:))
$2530
.
Gross!
.

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

View HillbillyShooter's profile

HillbillyShooter

4283 posts in 878 days


#7 posted 778 days ago

Was just getting ready to vote for Ashely Iles, but (as usual) Bertha beat me to the post and with a link. My go to chisels have been Two Cherries for 15+ years, with a set of old Stanley’s for rough work. I also have Freud (old, old), Shelfield Irwin’s and Lie Nielsen, BUT I’ve recently been very impressed with the Ashley Iles.

PS. Must now admit my interest is peaked by Barr Quarton.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1279 days


#8 posted 778 days ago

^lol, HS. I’ve always equated the Barrs as the best framing chisels around. I have a buddy who’s a timber framer and that’s all he uses. And he friggin USES them. I’m most interested in the Blue Spruce right now but to be totally honest, I probably use old Stanley 750s the most. I drop them all the time and they always land on the blade (why is that?). I make no apologies for loving chisels strictly for their beauty. I have some that I’ve never used.

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

View ArtistryinWood's profile

ArtistryinWood

97 posts in 2273 days


#9 posted 778 days ago

Have not tried these myself, but LV makes some nice tools.

http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=69619&cat=51&ap=1

-- It seem's to me i could live my life, a lot better than i think i am. Andrew, Midland, Ont.

View mikema's profile

mikema

175 posts in 1172 days


#10 posted 778 days ago

I know you said no metric, but I will say I really like my Pfeil chisels, and them being metric VS imperial work pieces has not been an issue.

-- Mike ---- Visit my woodworking blog: http://sawdustnewbie.com

View Loren's profile

Loren

7165 posts in 2234 days


#11 posted 778 days ago

My understanding is that the modern high end chisels
from many boutique brands are milled from tool steel
and hardened. They are not forged and hammered
as the Barrs and Japan chisels are. The forging does
something to the edge. In the old days forging was
the only way to do it but the new tool steels developed
for machining offer a different way to make an edge tool.

I won’t trust myself with a wood handled bench chisel
with no end ring, but that’s because I often hit them
with a small steel hammer.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1279 days


#12 posted 778 days ago

Loren, the handles of my timber framer friend’s Barrs look like a a Shitake mushroom. He beats them unmercifully. I generally use pigstickers for chopping, so my bench chisels don’t get abused that often. I mean, they do, but just less often than my big Butchers. The Butchers don’t have rings, but I’m using an ash hammer. They still get a bit beat up, so I totally understand what you’re saying.
.
The forged tools are clearly the most desirable. From an aesthetic standpoint, the residual hammer strikes add so much character that it’s incredible. I guess Barr must grind them after forging.

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

View Texchappy's profile

Texchappy

252 posts in 806 days


#13 posted 778 days ago

Lot’s of good choices. What draws me to the new Lee Valley ones is the Japanese style tang and socket construction. What prevents me from the Barr are that many sizes are only available in an expensive set. What hesitates me from the Blue Spruce is the long lead time for him to make them. What worries me about vintage is my lack of knowledge and not picking out a lemon.

So if I go the imperial route it looks like probably ashley iles or veritas. The Barr’s being forged does appeal to me though, maybe as a treat if I really get into this.

-- Wood is not velveeta

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1279 days


#14 posted 778 days ago

The Barrs are totally luxurious and for what they are, they’re really not that expensive. Before everyone starts beating me over the head with chisels, consider what goes into making a Barr chisel; I’d charge a lot if I made them.

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

View HillbillyShooter's profile

HillbillyShooter

4283 posts in 878 days


#15 posted 778 days ago

Thanks for bringing the news back here in the hills, since I’d missed out knowing about Barr Quarto. According to the web sites, the Barrs are $85 each whereas the Blue Spruce are $100 for bench/cabinet wood chisels. Being a fan of the Katana from studying Hapkido, the Barrs have now gone to the top of my wish list.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

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