Most important chisel sizes?

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Forum topic by Eddie posted 01-06-2014 04:38 PM 6350 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Eddie's profile


212 posts in 1920 days

01-06-2014 04:38 PM

Topic tags/keywords: chisels buck bro

Hi guys,

I have tried searching but not finding the info I was hoping.

I have a little bit of money (read $80ish) to put towards tools now after Christmas. I do not see an influx of cash for quite a while…our little one seems to be soaking up whatever budget that was.

About $40 of that will be going to Lee Valley for their Steel Backed Dozuki and a couple Gramercy Bow Saw blades.

For the last few moths I have been borrowing 2 older Marples chisels (1/4” & 3/8”). I have one crummy 1/2” chisel of my own.
I have decided to put the rest towards a few chisels.

As far as the brand, I am planning to purchase from and get the Buck Bro brand (not the same as the Big Box store brand)
They are roughly $10 a piece, and complete set discount.

If you were to pick 3 sizes to go with which ones would you consider most necessary?

The options they have are—- 1/4”, 1/2”, 5/8”, 3/4”, 1”, 1-1/4”, 1-1/2”, 2”

9 replies so far

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2007 days

#1 posted 01-06-2014 04:48 PM

What are you using them for? Any opinion we have is going to be based on our own needs/usage.
I’ve used my 2” twice in the last five years – both times when I was hanging a new door. If you’re doing timber-framing then I’d bet that a 2” is just a little baby and a 3-4” slick is more important.
Are you doing dovetails? What size do you normally do? Maybe I like 1/2”, he likes the big fat 5/8, but you prefer them skinny and need to grind a 1/4” down even smaller. Are you just using them to scrape glue out of corners or open paint cans? Carve totem poles? Shave .000000000000001 off of end grain 1/2, 3/4, 1” thick? Stab intruders or repel invading hordes of rabid weasels bent on stealing your tablesaw?

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View Loren's profile


10281 posts in 3617 days

#2 posted 01-06-2014 04:49 PM

The four I wouldn’t want to be without for furniture joinery:

1/4”, 3/8”, 1/2”, 3/4”.

1/4” is somethings a little narrow to handle well in some cuts
and that’s why I like the 3/8” size.

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3328 days

#3 posted 01-06-2014 04:51 PM

IMO, it depends pretty much on how you’re going to use them. Are you going to be doing a lot of dovetails? You might want to get a size (or two) that will fit the size of dovetail you like. You can get a nice set (1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and 1”) of the old Marples for $40 (plus shipping, $6)

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View JayT's profile


5590 posts in 2180 days

#4 posted 01-06-2014 04:51 PM

Sizes will depend on what you plan to do with them. My 1/2 & 3/4 get the most work, just depending on the size of the task. I also use a 1/4 for cleaning up small dovetails or grooves and a 1-1/4 for tasks that require a flat reference, such as paring mortises.

Those sizes fit my projects and working style, but it’s tough to make a recommendation without knowing what kinds of projects you like/plan to build.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View jmartel's profile


7815 posts in 2119 days

#5 posted 01-06-2014 04:54 PM

I would go 1/4”, 1/2” and 3/4” to start with if you only went with 3. After that, 1/8” and 3/8”. I don’t really use the 3/8” much, myself.

I would also look into Narex chisels. There’s a lot of people on here that have them and there aren’t many complaints.,41504

They have a 4 chisel pack of 1/4”, 1/2”, 3/4”, and 1” for $45.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Eddie's profile


212 posts in 1920 days

#6 posted 01-06-2014 04:59 PM

JustJoe- Besides the sporradic intruder stabbings… I will likely be doing things on a smaller scale (dovetails and mortises)

I am still pretty new to the woodworking game so my projects still vary.

I would guess it would consist mainly of furniture joinery and dovetails.

From the sound of it, the 1/4”, 1/2” are a good bet, not too sure about the 3rd size tho.

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2940 days

#7 posted 01-06-2014 08:37 PM

i’d go for these Narex chisels from Lee Valley.

Set of 4 for 44.50

View bbc557ci's profile


595 posts in 2043 days

#8 posted 01-06-2014 09:55 PM

How about looking at garage sales? I’ve picked up a bunch of stuff at garage sales really cheap. Never chisels but several other small items. Even if their beat up (cheaper yet) it’s pretty easy to refurb them back to useable condition.

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2007 days

#9 posted 01-06-2014 10:04 PM

Gosh Dang it Bill – stop giving the trade secrets away! If he wants to spend his money on something new that he doesn’t even know if he needs, then let him. You keep spreading the word and then everyone will be buying the used ones for a quarter at the garage sales, and I’ll have to get up even earlier to beat them there just to have a chance at picking them up for cheap. Look at my avatar. Does it look like I need to get up even earlier????

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