First set if Chisels

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Forum topic by COMO posted 11-19-2012 04:41 PM 4192 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View COMO's profile


25 posts in 2487 days

11-19-2012 04:41 PM

I am looking to buy my first set of chisels. Until now I have used cheap kobalt chisels from lowes.I have about 100 dollars to spend and was wondering which would be a good place to start. Sweethearts, bluechips…...
Just looking for recent opinions.

20 replies so far

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 2318 days

#1 posted 11-19-2012 04:53 PM

I have and like a set of Narex bench chisels. I got them from Highland Woodworking for around 55 with a magnetic tool holder. Lee Valley also sells them. Very solid users. Easy to setup and hone. You might search on Amazon for the Neiko chisel set. They’re well regarded. The Irwin Marples blue chips are also decent users. I have 3 of those and like them. If you like butt chisels, Woodcraft sells a set of 4 Woodriver that I like. I use them for dovetail work where I like the extra control.


View toddbeaulieu's profile


815 posts in 3176 days

#2 posted 11-19-2012 05:02 PM

I have the wood river chisels. I recently bought a fancier set of used, but I haven’t had time to compare them.

Personally, I think it’s important to get something reasonable, but not too fancy (unless you have plenty of cash) and learn how to sharpen them and keep them sharp. I’ve got many hours into learning to sharpen and I have a long way to go still.

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2541 days

#3 posted 11-19-2012 05:39 PM

I have a set of the blue-handled Marples chisels I’m happy with. Out of the box they needed to be flattened and sharpened, but once that was done, they work great.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 2318 days

#4 posted 11-19-2012 06:16 PM

I don’t know if you have a Woodcraft near you, but their Black Friday ad included a 4 piece set of their regular Woodriver bench chisels for 20 bucks. So, that might be an option.


View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 2318 days

#5 posted 11-19-2012 08:15 PM

Talk about a timely sale email. Check these out:

This is exactly the set I have, and for like 15 bucks cheaper. There’s also a boxed version for 10 bucks more.


View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3530 days

#6 posted 11-19-2012 08:25 PM

Another vote here for the Narex. I think they are the best value around right now.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3819 days

#7 posted 11-19-2012 10:19 PM

Another option is to buy a couple of finer modern
chisels like the Veritas or Lie Nielsen. A 1/2” and a
1” are the most useful sizes for furniture, imo. You’ll
want a 1/4” too, but you can get by pretty well
with any 1/4” chisel since the small blade concentrates
pushing force so well, it will still cut okay even if
not very sharp.

View a1Jim's profile


117270 posts in 3749 days

#8 posted 11-19-2012 10:24 PM

I’ve been using a set of Marpels for 20 years ,they do the job.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View bobasaurus's profile


3539 posts in 3355 days

#9 posted 11-19-2012 11:23 PM

The Irwin/Marples are a decent cheap option, but beware… the 1/8” one is horrible. I have the set of 4 from 1/4” to 1” that are okay users, straight and well-ground though the steel is crappy. After I bought the 1/8” version, I found that it was a bent parallelogram instead of straight and square.

Or just buy one or two really nice chisels, like lee valley or lie nielsen. I use the 1/4” and 1/2” the vast majority of the time, since I cut small joinery like dovetails and smaller mortises.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View Arminius's profile


304 posts in 3975 days

#10 posted 11-19-2012 11:30 PM

$100 is going to get you one L-N or Veritas chisel, though with change.

I would go with the Narex, bit of a pain in the butt to prep the first time, the machining marks on the back take a while to remove. But a full set will last you a very long time and come in under the $100 mark. You can upgrade to premium quality as you go..

View shampeon's profile


1857 posts in 2355 days

#11 posted 11-19-2012 11:31 PM

More important than the brand or steel quality is the sharpness. You’re better off spending money on [DMT plates|plate glass & sandpaper|ceramic stones], a honing guide, and a strope first, then fill out your collection.

A dull Blue Spruce jewel is much worse than a freshly honed Kobalt.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View COMO's profile


25 posts in 2487 days

#12 posted 11-20-2012 02:17 AM

What sharping stuff should I purchase with the chisels? I limited my chisel budget to leave room to buy the sharping things I need

View toddbeaulieu's profile


815 posts in 3176 days

#13 posted 11-20-2012 02:25 AM

I recommend reading up on “scary sharp”. Do you have a table saw? Something else that you trust is pretty flat? I use spray adhesive with strips of sandpaper. When I get down do a fine grit I switch to a combo stone (two sides). I end up with a strop (suede glued to a board) with compound rubbed in. Gives you a nice mirror finish with minimal effort after the first tuneup.

Oh, and I like the veritas mk II jig. Pros don’t need it, but people like us I think do.

View MNgary's profile


303 posts in 2589 days

#14 posted 11-20-2012 03:43 AM

For sharpening, Como, consider a Kings carving set (listed as two stones, but is actually 4 stones) of Japanese water stones. 1000 grit and 4000 grit. The set includes a slip stone and larger (4.5 by 2.5) stone of each grit and sells for less than $40 for all four stones at Woodcraft and many other suppliers.

The larger stone in each of the two grits has profiles on one side for carver chisels, but that side can be flattened using wet ‘n dry paper in just a few minutes.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3819 days

#15 posted 11-20-2012 04:27 AM

I use waterstones but I’ve had them for a long time. In
the last few years the diamond stones have improved
as finishing stones and come down in price.

Ceramic and oil stones are other options.

All the sharpening systems work. Some people are
struggle not to gouge water stones. Diamond,
ceramic and oil stones are all much harder and
difficult to damage. Water stones cut very fast
and of course the mess from using water as
a lubricant is not hard to clean up.

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