$100 set of chisels...give me your recommendations!

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Forum topic by startingfromscratch posted 12-27-2012 03:58 AM 1605 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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69 posts in 3364 days

12-27-2012 03:58 AM

Getting into dovetailing and mortise and tenon joinery with hand tools. I got an awesome 1/2” and 3/8” mortising chisel and mallet for Christmas.

With some Christmas money I’m going to pick up the Veritas molded spine dovetail and cross cut saws:,42884,68511&ap=1

Question is, I need to get a slightly better set of chisels. I can’t afford the super duper ones and I have a handful of old ones that will be my beaters. I have about $100. I was looking at the 4 set of Stanley Sweethearts ( but have also looked at sets of four from Two Cherries and Ashley Isles. I’ve tried to shop used or on ebay but haven’t had much luck so I’m looking to buy new.

I’m set up for the scary sharp method and with a mk2 honing guide.

Any thoughts on budget minded bench chisels is appreciated.

10 replies so far

View ShaneA's profile


7043 posts in 2770 days

#1 posted 12-27-2012 04:30 AM

I have been pleased with my Ashley Iles. They are pretty nice.

View WhoMe's profile


1564 posts in 3415 days

#2 posted 12-27-2012 04:43 AM

I have been really happy with my Stanley sweethearts. I looked at the two cherries and I just was not a fan of them. That is a personal opinion. I have a cheap set of 8 Stanley blue handles like the Irwin Marples types and a set of 4 of the sweethearts and I can say that the sweethearts are a pleasure to use. I have heard nothing but good stuff about the Ashley Isles ones too.

Although it is more on antique chisels, there is a good chisel thread out in the forums that has a great amount of info on chisels and there are quite a few out there that use chisels much more than me that would be good to bounce your questions off of.

Good luck

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

View waho6o9's profile


8478 posts in 2749 days

#3 posted 12-27-2012 05:03 AM

View Tedstor's profile


1678 posts in 2805 days

#4 posted 12-27-2012 05:07 AM

I have a full set of Marples (Sheffield, England) that I scored off ebay for well under $100. I’ve been using them for bout a year now with no complaints.
I also picked-up a new Stanley SW 1/8” when I caught it under $20 on Amazon. Tough to judge an entire chisel line with a 1/8”, but I do prefer the balance, feedback, and feel of the 1/8 Stanley over the 1/8 Marples. For what its worth.

The Stanley 4pc set would be a good place to start imo. You could fill-in other sizes as you need them.

Ever looked at Narex chisels? A lot of value there. Highly regarded “cheap” chisel.

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2458 days

#5 posted 12-27-2012 06:06 AM

+1 for Narex.

-- John, BC, Canada

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3143 days

#6 posted 12-27-2012 03:11 PM

Narex 6 pc set from Highland Woodworking is only $59 and free shipping on $75 orders till Dec 31. You could throw in the small Mortise chisels to make the limit.

I really like my Narex set. Excelent value in my opinion.

View MisterInquisitive's profile


32 posts in 2268 days

#7 posted 12-27-2012 03:44 PM

The Ashley Iles American Butt Pattern chisels from Tools for Working Wood or The Best Things are great for dovetails. They’re shorter so the mallet is closer to the work, which makes it easier to chop.

View a1Jim's profile


117270 posts in 3749 days

#8 posted 12-27-2012 03:50 PM

Marples works fine you don’t have to have high end chisels to trim and cut wood well.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View startingfromscratch's profile


69 posts in 3364 days

#9 posted 12-27-2012 04:02 PM

The Christmas money was burning a hole so I went ahead and got a set of Stanley sweetheart 750s, 4 chisels and the tool roll, for $84 and free shipping on amazon.

I have looked at the narex but just couldn’t pull the trigger.

Looking at the veritas molded spine dovetail and crosscut saws….does it make sense to get the set of three? I suspect I will use the 14tpi dovetail and may use the 20 tpi to do some small pieces. I would then essentially be buying 16 tpi for half the prices (given the break you get on the set of three)...but that doesn’t make any sense if there is no use for the crosscut. I was hoping this was a tenon saw, but I’m reading that its not. Love suggestions.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3143 days

#10 posted 12-27-2012 11:44 PM

I have the Veritas 2 pc set and they are beautiful little saws. Feel good in the hand, and cut well.
They are especially good to display in the shop to make it look professional and such.

I must confess, after I got a Dozuki (Japanese Back Saw) that’s what I prefer to cut dovetails with.

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