Chisels...Where to start?

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Forum topic by RPhillips posted 394 days ago 1098 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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365 posts in 433 days

394 days ago

I’m looking for some advice on purchasing my first real set of chisels. Where do I start? Below are a few that I have found. I would like to get a good set under $100, but I am willing to go up to $200 if it’s worth the extra coin.

Here are a few that have caught my eye:

Sorby Sheaf River Series

Stanley Sweet Heart 750 series

Wood River 6 Piece Bench Chisel

Irwin Blue Chip 6 Piece Chisel

-- Rob - Learning... one mistake at a time...

29 replies so far

View Buckethead's profile


1894 posts in 466 days

#1 posted 394 days ago

I am a n00b as well. I just got my fourth Stanley Sweetheart and I have no complaints. I did try to get just a single chisel (1/2”) but having different sizes was recommended, and the recommendations were spot on.

I’m sure more experienced people will chime in, but I did want to say that my new chisels seem pretty sweet to me.

I did jab myself in the thumb by not having my workpiece properly secured to a stable surface in addition to attempting to use a chisel as a plane.

Yup… They’re sharp.

-- Bucket, any person that spends 10k on a bicycle is guaranteed to be a $@I almost started to like you. -bhog

View waho6o9's profile


4744 posts in 1174 days

#2 posted 394 days ago

One can learn a lot in the above thread, and shorten the learning

curve as well.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


9575 posts in 1215 days

#3 posted 394 days ago

I’ve done a review of the SW re-issues, and after 18 months or so of use, they’re still a five-star. Good stuff, FWIW.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View Loren's profile


7230 posts in 2245 days

#4 posted 394 days ago

I hit them with a steel hammer so I prefer bench
chisels with butyrate or hooped wood handles.


View JADobson's profile


280 posts in 708 days

#5 posted 394 days ago

I’ve had the Narex chisels for a while now and they seem to be holding up all right.

-- James

View shampeon's profile


1273 posts in 780 days

#6 posted 394 days ago

IMO, the chisels aren’t really as important as the sharpening method. There are a couple good ones, both mechanical and manual, and it’s up to you to figure out which one you’ll use more. Choose one and get really good at it, and whatever chisel you end up buying will do its job.

Oh, and there are a ton of great, unloved vintage chisels out there that need just a little upfront time to get back into working order. Some that I like are: Union/Samson, Pexto/PSW, Butcher, Greenlee, Herring, Challenger, Buck Bros.

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

View knotscott's profile


5367 posts in 1973 days

#7 posted 394 days ago

Find a set that feels good in your hands, and learn how to sharpen them.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View HorizontalMike's profile


6914 posts in 1511 days

#8 posted 394 days ago

+10 on having a good sharpening routine.

PLUS, have a good easily accessible ‘honing’ routine while you are actively using them. I use the heavy brown contractor’s paper that I cover my bench with. A few swipes every few minutes while chiseling makes all of the difference, IMO. And the resulting mirror finish tells me that I must be onto something. ;-)

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Tedstor's profile


1369 posts in 1230 days

#9 posted 394 days ago

Of the given choices, I’d go with the Stanleys. I have a SW 1/8”. It’s well made and performs nicely.

View chrisstef's profile


10383 posts in 1603 days

#10 posted 394 days ago

Id also vouch for the reissue 750’s. They don’t chop as good as my vintage firmer Witherby’s but it’s not really an apples to apples comparison either.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View RPhillips's profile


365 posts in 433 days

#11 posted 394 days ago

I’m going with the scary sharp method of sharpening for now, and may consider water stones sometime down the road.

I like the type of handles on these chisel, which one of the primary reasons I picked them. I’m going to make a trip out to Woodcraft and see how the feel. I wanted make sure that none of these I should avoid.

-- Rob - Learning... one mistake at a time...

View BigRedKnothead's profile


4390 posts in 579 days

#12 posted 393 days ago

Sounds like a plan. You can totally get a decent set of chisels in the $100 range. Stanley Sw, sorby, narex, and I would throw in Ashley Illes (which I have). No need to go with Chinese made marples or wood river when you have those options.

-- Red -- "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one." C.S. Lewis

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


600 posts in 532 days

#13 posted 393 days ago

I went with Paul Seller’s advice and got a 6 chisel set for $75 including shipping. They are only around over in England, but they can ship them over here. I have been pleased with them and they were cheap.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Paul C.'s profile

Paul C.

154 posts in 1842 days

#14 posted 393 days ago

Narex chisels are very good value for money. I have bad arthritis and neuropathy in my large hands, and these chisels work great for me. Get the small set, and buy a honing guide and a 1000/4000 combo stone. Add an 8000 when you can.
Set for life.

View BentheViking's profile


1746 posts in 1161 days

#15 posted 393 days ago

i find typically narex get a lot of love on this topic around here

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

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