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Chisel Starter Set - Dewalt or hone old ones?

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Forum topic by Rayne posted 03-28-2015 02:29 PM 1699 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Rayne

470 posts in 1002 days


03-28-2015 02:29 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question chisel

Hey Fellow LJ’s, I’m in the market for a very basic starter Chisel set. I would prefer to buy locally, which means the big box stores for me. I saw some DeWalt 4-PC chisel set at HD for $30. The steel is made in Sheffield, England and was wondering if this would suffice as I hone in, pun intended, my skills. I currently have a set of old Companion (Sears Brand) brand chisel set and I know when I sharpen those, they lose the edge almost immediately (when you have to hammer the hell out of the chisel to dig into 1/2” ply covering very little material after 5 minutes, you know it’s bad). Would the DeWalt set suffice for now? I’m just a hobbyist woodworker who doesn’t do this for a living. I just want something to go to every now and then that could be relied upon without sharpening after every use. I’d appreciate your opinions and maybe other options out there at local Big Box stores, if any (I’d go with Irwin Marples if it wasn’t for the fact they moved them to China for manufacturing).

http://www.homedepot.com/p/DEWALT-Wood-Chisel-Set-4-Piece-DWHT16063/202719121#specifications


18 replies so far

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TheWoodenOyster

1275 posts in 1397 days


#1 posted 03-28-2015 02:36 PM

My local HD carries Buck Bros. They run about $15 per chisel. I actually really like the one I have. I bought it as a trash chisel, but it turned out to hold an edge much better than my other chisels. They are accessible and easy to buy one at a time.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

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Rayne

470 posts in 1002 days


#2 posted 03-28-2015 02:57 PM

That’s kind of funny you would mention that. I’m about to return a Buck Brother chisel now because of so many reviews that they aren’t the same as they used to be and doesn’t have the steel going all the way through the handle. When did you buy yours?

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rwe2156

2192 posts in 943 days


#3 posted 03-28-2015 03:01 PM

You will have alot of work to do getting the backs flat, but box store chisel ‘can’ work.
Just understand most of them are in the “carpentry” realm, not fine woodworking.
The problem with them is the sides are too thick, especially at the bevel, so you’ll never be able to do a decent dovetail without some manuevering and lot of paring to clean up.
And Sheffield or not, generally the steel is not as good a quality.

Although I agree China steel sucks bigtime, I have a set of the blue handled Irwin Marples and they are decent chisels. You should keep them on your list.

My “using” chisels are a set of Narex. They are low priced, but good chisels and I think are worth a look, even for a beginner.

One thing to consider when starting out is just get a couple chisels, like 1/4 and 1/2” but get good ones.

Fine Woodworking has a good chisel review.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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Rayne

470 posts in 1002 days


#4 posted 03-28-2015 03:12 PM

I’ve read in many places that the steel made in Sheffield are quite good which is what drew me to the Dewalt set. I don’t mind putting in a little work initially as long as they hold an edge for a while for a weekend woodworker type. I want the Narex set but just not yet for the price (yes, I know by Chisel standards they are cheap but not to my budget right now. :) ).

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Richard H

489 posts in 1143 days


#5 posted 03-28-2015 03:22 PM

I bought a set of the Dewalt’s year’s ago when I first started to get into doing more work by hand rather than machine to replace some buck brothers chisels I couldn’t keep a edge on to save my life. I still have them in my toolbox but they are buried pretty deep these days. They are not bad chisels (at least the ones I got back than) by any means and the steel did seem to hold a edge pretty well at a 30 degrees bevel angle. I don’t like the handles as they are closer in size to my English Mortising chisels than the Stanley/Lie Nielsen socket chisels that I mostly use today but all in all for the money where a pretty good buy. The Dewalts really are more suited for pounding on than paring with but I did plenty of both with them before I moved on. It’s just that once I started to use the Stanley socket chisel design or it’s Lie Nielsen modern counterpart I was converted.

I have a dozen or so antique chisels and they are great once they have been tuned up but keep in mind a lot of these things have been abused to no end over the decades. Used as pry bars, screwdrivers, and paint can openers if your lucky had the temper drawn out of them if your not. If you are willing to spend the time fixing them up or spending a bit more for one someone else already has they can be a great buy. if you don’t like spending hours at a stone/sandpaper it can be frustrating.

As for Buck Brothers, I have a old Buck Brothers 2” socket chisel from them that I love so seeing how far that company has fallen when comparing it to the newer ones is pretty sad.

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cutmantom

389 posts in 2497 days


#6 posted 03-28-2015 03:29 PM

it real sure but I think woodworking is best done with a long chisel and most of the box store ones are kind of short “butt chisel” for general carpentry

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bondogaposis

4027 posts in 1814 days


#7 posted 03-28-2015 03:34 PM

It makes no difference whether you are a weekend hobbyist or pro. What matters is what you are trying to build. If you are making furniture, then you won’t be happy w/ big box store chisels. If you are doing framing carpentry, then the Dewalts will be fine. If you beat on them w/ a claw hammer, then don’t get wood working chisels until you get a mallet. I might mention also that for most things you really don’t need a set, I use my 1/2” chisel most of the time, that is really all you need unless you are chopping mortices or making dovetails. So you might consider buying just one high quality chisel like the Stanley Sweethearts. Then you will be assured of getting better steel in the size that will be best for most things, you can add to your collection as the need arises.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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TheWoodenOyster

1275 posts in 1397 days


#8 posted 03-28-2015 05:14 PM

I bought my buck bros in 2013ish? Definitely still made in USA when I bought it.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

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Tim

3113 posts in 1424 days


#9 posted 03-28-2015 06:02 PM

I don’t know your reasons for preferring to buy locally, but the big box stores don’t help the local economy much, more like harm it. Big box chisels would mostly be wasting your money. The Narex chisels aren’t much more than the $30 you mentioned but are a step up from those. The 4 chisel set is $45 and you can get free shipping if you wait for it.
http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?p=67707&cat=1,41504

But Bondo’s idea is really good. Everybody assumes you need a set, but one higher quality chisel is better than 4 low quality. The Narex are a good value, but I would have saved up for the Stanley Sweethearts or better if I had put more thought into it. Their chisels are one of the few things in their sweetheart reissue line that they’ve done a good job with quality wise.

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rwe2156

2192 posts in 943 days


#10 posted 03-28-2015 10:15 PM


I ve read in many places that the steel made in Sheffield are quite good which is what drew me to the Dewalt set. I don t mind putting in a little work initially as long as they hold an edge for a while for a weekend woodworker type. I want the Narex set but just not yet for the price (yes, I know by Chisel standards they are cheap but not to my budget right now. :) ).

- Rayne

Rayne,

Have you looked?

The Dewalts are $30
Narex 4 pc $40
Narex 4 pc premium $49

They are on Amazon

For 10 or 20 bucks more I guarantee you a better chisel.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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Rayne

470 posts in 1002 days


#11 posted 03-28-2015 10:35 PM

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I only want a set because I know I’ll be using a 1/4” chisel, along with the larger ones. I can see not really needing one beyond 1/2”, but a set wouldn’t be so bad to have.

rwe2156, I only saw Narex on Leevalley; I didn’t realize they were also available on Amazon. You guys are definitely making me change my mind about the Dewalt set. I did buy it today and they were super sharp and took care of black walnut with ease. At any rate, I think I may just go for the Narex set from Amazon. I also saw the Stanley Bailey 5 pc set for a good price. Are these comparable to Narex?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003HGH3W2/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A2L77EE7U53NWQ

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Mykos

102 posts in 1257 days


#12 posted 03-28-2015 11:32 PM

No, I wouldn’t say the Stanleys are in the same realm of quality as the Narex.

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JayT

4777 posts in 1674 days


#13 posted 03-28-2015 11:50 PM

I haven’t used the Narex, but have the Stanley Baileys. You can read my review of them here. Short version is that I don’t recommend them, the Sweethearts seem to be much better chisels for not a lot more money.

My normal recommendation for starting out with chisels is to skip the sets and just buy one or two high quality individual chisels in the sizes you need. Most times you only end up using half the chisels in the set and the other just sit. My most used chisels are 1/4, 3/8 & 1/2, plus one wider one when I need to pare using part of a piece as a reference. The wide one could be anywhere from 3/4 to 1-1/4, but more than one chisel wider than 1/2 is redundant.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

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oltexasboy1

240 posts in 1167 days


#14 posted 03-29-2015 12:51 AM

I got 3 Narex chisels( mortise, firmer) for Xmas from my wife and they are pretty good for the money, The set of Stanley bailey chisels that I bought myself are a lot better. I have sears, they are crap, but good to use if I I am not sure if there might be a nail in a piece of used wood. The Bailey chisels are dangerous sharp and if you don’t drop one on the concrete, tip first, they stay that way. They are not hard to sharpen but it does take a while if you do it right, the metal is good ,and hard, but holds an edge very well. The bailey s are available on Amazon for about $70.00

-- "The pursuit of perfection often yields excellence"

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Roger

19867 posts in 2266 days


#15 posted 03-29-2015 01:06 PM

I bought my 4-pack o Marples at a wood show in Florence, Ky quite a few years ago for 20 bux. After a little work, they are sharp as sharp can be.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. Kentuk55@yahoo.com

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