Narex Bench Chisels Questions

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Forum topic by Bigtones posted 04-14-2014 07:17 AM 2480 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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19 posts in 1600 days

04-14-2014 07:17 AM

Hello again,

So I have decided to purchase my first “real” set of chisels and since I am still brand new to this I have decided that $80 is my starting point…I know, that’s not very much.

But I stumbled on some Narex Bench Chisels from Highland LINK

And I was wondering if anyone has heard good or bad about these. I have done some research and for the most part it seems pretty positive, but a lot of the reviewers were employees of Highland so I assume their views are slightly skewed in their own favor.

Anyways, any information would be greatly appreciated.


-- Boilermaker By Trade, Woodworker By Love.

11 replies so far

View Robert Brown's profile

Robert Brown

151 posts in 2689 days

#1 posted 04-14-2014 08:14 AM

I have these,41504,43500&ap=1 but they are discontinued. Lee Valley now offers these Narex chisels,41504. The Narex chisels hardness from Highland is Rc 58. And the Narex from Lee Valley are Rc59. I don’t know if that one point makes that much of an difference. The Narex (discontinued) chisels I have are good. Some people don’t like the handles (looks and comfort) and change them but I found the handles comfortable. A lot of people, myself included have recommended the Narex chisels from Lee Valley so I would think that the ones from Highland would be okay too.

View jdh122's profile (online now)


1011 posts in 2816 days

#2 posted 04-14-2014 11:58 AM

The Lee Valley ones are sized in inches rather than mm. This may or may not matter to you – I first bought the metric ones, but found that the slight difference between those and my imperial mortising chisels was a real pain, so bought a few of the metric ones.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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3217 posts in 1649 days

#3 posted 04-14-2014 12:07 PM

I own a set from lee valley. Took a while to flatten the backs but the chisels are fantastic.

-- -Dan

View Rb12's profile


80 posts in 2226 days

#4 posted 04-14-2014 05:02 PM

I have the LV Narex ones as well. I like the handles a lot (I have some various footprint and misc others as well) but the Narex I like the best handle-wise. They are matte and plain but that didn’t matter to me at all.

i found they sharpened up well and work like a charm. Good value for the money imo

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1035 posts in 2109 days

#5 posted 04-14-2014 05:10 PM

I also have the LV ones. At first I thought the handles were really ugly but as soon as I started using them I realized that they are actually quite comfortable and sturdy. I think they are a good buy. You really can’t beat the price.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany

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19 posts in 1600 days

#6 posted 04-14-2014 06:46 PM

Thanks so much for the replies and always giving me an honest opinion. I think I’m going to pull the trigger on these chisels and the reveal may be my first blog post along with flattening the backs and getting a razor sharp edge.

Thanks again.

-- Boilermaker By Trade, Woodworker By Love.

View Mark E.'s profile

Mark E.

387 posts in 3740 days

#7 posted 04-14-2014 10:08 PM

Another Narex owner.

Great chisels for the price. I didn’t have the same difficulty flattening the backs, but I may be less fussy (aka, less knowledgeable). They work great for me and hold an edge really well.

-- Mark

View WoodAndShop's profile


149 posts in 1507 days

#8 posted 04-17-2014 12:37 AM

I’m so glad you asked! I just sold my set of Narex bench chisels and mortise chisels because of steel quality issues. My recommendation would be to piece together vintage bench chisels and restore them. I wrote this chisel buying article recently, which should help you find a good set within your budget. Here are the Stanley 750 chisels that I recently refurbished:

But don’t worry about getting a matching set. Just start off with sizes that you need, restore those chisels, and you’ll have magnificent chisels for a fraction of the price!

-- Joshua Farnsworth - Free Traditional Hand Tool Woodworking Tutorials:

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2969 days

#9 posted 04-17-2014 01:38 AM

I have the Narex chisels from highland and love them.
Also have the Narex mortise chisels and love them too.

I have some other chisels from Stanley (the yellow plastic handled #60s), Marples (blue plastic handled) and a boxed set from Wood River (the Woodcraft store brand). Heck, I’ll even admit I have a few Harbor Freight and home Depot Buck Bros. chisels and some old Fullers (Japanese Stanley knockoffs) from the 1970s. Everyone needs some beater chisels for scraping glue and opening paint cans and other “less than craftsman like” chores.
Fact is, they all cut wood and are very handy. Admittedly, I don’t have anything like Lie Nielsens or other really top end chisels, but I like all the ones I have. My favorites are the Narex because I like the handles and they sharpen well and hold an edge.

View Bigtones's profile


19 posts in 1600 days

#10 posted 04-17-2014 04:21 AM

Gorgeous pictures WoodAndShop and thank you for the advice and great links to help me on my way.

-- Boilermaker By Trade, Woodworker By Love.

View WoodAndShop's profile


149 posts in 1507 days

#11 posted 04-17-2014 12:56 PM

You’re welcome Bigtones. And I’m glad you liked the photos! The Narex chisels work well for people who do primarily machine woodworking. However, I am pretty tied in with the hand tool community and the Narex are known as the chisels that a lot of guys mistakenly purchase (because of the good price and the Chris Gochner review) and then most of these guys (including me) end up selling them and getting even better priced vintage chisels. It’s super easy to restore chisels, as long as you know what to look for. Check out that link that I sent you about buying chisels…it’ll list some good brands to look for. I got a whole set of Stanley 750 chisels (without handles) on ebay for around $50. They are the chisels that Lie-Nielsen based theirs off of. Let me know if you need help choosing some!

-- Joshua Farnsworth - Free Traditional Hand Tool Woodworking Tutorials:

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