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Jon A

Wood River Chisels... keep or return?

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My wife bought me a 6 piece set of Wood River Bench Chisels for Christmas.  I had been planning to get Narex chisels or Stanley Sweathearts.  I have researched the issue and the general consensus seems to be that they are decent chisels but not great.  Understand, I am stepping up from a set of $7.99 Harbor Freight bench chisels that "work".... they don't hold an edge but they will get sharp enough to do some work in softer woods.  I certainly do not need to spend several hundred dollars on Japanese chisels or LV/LN level quality.  Given what I am used to and the fact that I don't get into the shop as much as I'd like (23 month old twins), I am sure the Wood Rivers will be a night and day improvement.  That said, I agree with the old adage that "you never regret buying a good tool."  I'd like this to be the last set I have to buy.

I am looking for feedback especially from those who have owned the Wood River Chisels for a while.  Any regrets?

Thanks in advance.

Happy New Year!

Jon A.

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Never used Wood River chisels, but I have a couple of sets of Narex & am well pleased with them.

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I've never owned a set of wood river chisels but my suggestion is keep them since they were a gift from your wife. Happy wife - happy life, as they say. I understand where you're coming from but if you have young babies you probably have time in your life to buy other chisels on down the road. You said they were an improvement on what you already have so keeping them sounds like a win win situation to me.

Others might have a different opinion but this is mine.

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I say keep them.   Eventually you will want a couple more specialized chisels anyhow.   You can use the WRs as you basic set, and then supplement with one-off chisels that might be a little more expensive.  For example, you might want some specialized paring chisels or a cranked neck chisel eventually.  Buy narex, japanese, or LN/LV when those needs arise.  

 

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The wood River chisels get pretty strong reviews, I say keep them and down the road you may decide to upgrade and you can use the Wood River for your beater chisels.

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I've got 4 wood river butt chisels, they do what they are designed to do, I don't spend hours using them, but they hold an edge, as well as my Narex chisels.  Keep'em.

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Keep em.

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It's freeing to have some tools that aren't Cadillacs in the shop. Keep the Wood River chisels, let them be the daily-user "beater" chisels and don't worry too much about them.

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I have a set of old Craftsman chisels that are just 1 piece of steel, handle & all. They're pretty awful & don't hold an edge well at all, but I'm not afraid to use them where there might be a nail hidden, or concrete, or what ever. It's great to have a set that you really don't care how bad they get treated.

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1 hour ago, ClassAct said:

It's freeing to have some tools that aren't Cadillacs in the shop. Keep the Wood River chisels, let them be the daily-user "beater" chisels and don't worry too much about them.

If you use your "beater" chisels daily, when do you use your good ones???:huh:;)  By that standard, I must feel very "free"... I have a lot of non-Cadillac tools.  I am slowly upgrading the junk I acquired in my 20's with higher quality stuff. 

1 hour ago, drzaius said:

I have a set of old Craftsman chisels that are just 1 piece of steel, handle & all. They're pretty awful & don't hold an edge well at all, but I'm not afraid to use them where there might be a nail hidden, or concrete, or what ever. It's great to have a set that you really don't care how bad they get treated.

I was planning to use the Harbor Freight el-cheapos as my "beater" chisels for scraping glue or rough carpentry.  The new chisels were intended to by my good ones.  If they hold an edge as well as Narex as indicated above by RichardA, I think I will be satisfied.  I have a vintage 3/8" socket chisel that holds an edge very well.  I will keep an eye out for other vintage chisels in 1/4" and 1/2" (I like finding good/old stuff).

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I'll PM you my address, so you can get rid of those 'low quality' WoodRiver chisels! 😁

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21 hours ago, Jon A said:

If you use your "beater" chisels daily, when do you use your good ones???:huh:;) 

It's a paradox, isn't it? In my case, not everything is a jewel box, so I use the beaters when "good enough" is good enough. The other day I was making my own wood mallet and I needed to trim a bit of wood from the handle. I grabbed a 1/2" not-so-sharp Marples with a slight chip in it and pared off the wood. Worked fine and I moved on to the next step.

Would a high-end chisel in top condition have worked better? Yup. Would it have made a visible difference in the end result? Nope. If I was handcrafting dovetails in expensive hardwood, then yes, I'd prefer using a really good chisel. Right now most of my work is of the "good enough" variety and the Marples daily users fit my work habits just fine. YMMV!

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I own both Narex and WR.  Both are good enough for me.  The Narex has side bevels that are much smaller.  But the WoodRiver keep an edge just as well, if not better.

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I'd be happy to have a nice set of wood river chisels.  I'd definitely keep them and even cherish them, especially if they were a gift from someone you love.  You are lucky to have a wife thoughtful enough to give you such nice chisels as a gift.

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6 hours ago, Pete Staehling said:

I'd be happy to have a nice set of wood river chisels.  I'd definitely keep them and even cherish them, especially if they were a gift from someone you love.  You are lucky to have a wife thoughtful enough to give you such nice chisels as a gift.

You are right.  As I review my original post I realize how petty and trivial it must seem.  If I spent half as much time building projects as I do researching tools and techniques, I'd have a lot less Ikea junk in my house!!  I am sure these chisels will be just fine.  Thanks for all of the replies.

Happy New Year!

-Jon A.

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FWIW, I don't think your original post was petty and trivial.

With store brands and Chinese imports  like Wood River, there is also a chance the quality just plain sucks.  to me, you were simply asking if that was the case.  Most people who have used those chisels or their planes seem to think they quality is good, and at least worth the price.  don't beat up yourself.  

All wives are different.  I can say for certain that my wife doesn't like to waste money, and if she buys me something that I don't use, she feels like she wasted money.  She'd rather have me exchange something than waste money.

 

 

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16 hours ago, Jon A said:

You are right.  As I review my original post I realize how petty and trivial it must seem.  If I spent half as much time building projects as I do researching tools and techniques, I'd have a lot less Ikea junk in my house!!  I am sure these chisels will be just fine.  Thanks for all of the replies.

Happy New Year!

-Jon A.

I definitely didn't mean to imply that you were being petty or trivial.  I just wanted to provide some perspective.  I think it is easy to go overboard on tool purchases and to undervalue sentiment behind a nice thoughtful gift.

If the chisels were a terrible value for the price, I might feel differently and not want my wife to have wasted her money, so asking the question isn't a bad thing.  Since they are nice serviceable chisels at what seems like a fair price, to me keeping them is a no brainer.  Most (or even maybe all) of my chisels are probably not as nice as those though.

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1 hour ago, Immortan D said:

@gee-dub how do you like your scraping plane? Do you use it often?

 

:):):) Threadjack Alert :):):)

I use a fair amount of figured material so I may do more card scraping than the next guy.  I find card scraper holders fairly useless.  The scraper plane is a super-refined scraper holder with a large, flat reference sole and fine adjustments.

It comes in handy but, it is not used on every project. For scraping on larger panels it helps me avoid card-scraping irregularities into the surface.  It also excels at cleaning up glue lines but, this activity increases your sharpening interval. 

The iron is stout and with a good hook on it you can get a very nice surface right across things like curly or birds eye maple.  Sharpening requires the same basic skills as putting a hook on a card scraper.  I only mention this because others have asked if a scraper plane is easier to use than a card scraper.  After some discussion we found that what they were really asking is "will this solve the troubles I have sharpening my card scrapers"; it will not.

It is fair to say that I am glad to have it.  It is also fair to say that it would not be on my short list of hand tools required to establish a decent plane till.  A very well made and versatile tool for its purpose.  I wouldn't hesitate to pick one up if you do a lot of larger panel scraping.

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3 minutes ago, gee-dub said:

:):):) Threadjack Alert :):):)

It is fair to say that I am glad to have it.  It is also fair to say that it would not be on my short list of hand tools required to establish a decent plane till.  A very well made and versatile tool for its purpose.  I wouldn't hesitate to pick one up.

Thank you, I didn't ask the question but I am glad to read your answer as I was curious about them as well

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1 hour ago, gee-dub said:

:):):) Threadjack Alert :):):)

I use a fair amount of figured material so I may do more card scraping than the next guy.  I find card scraper holders fairly useless.  The scraper plane is a super-refined scraper holder with a large, flat reference sole and fine adjustments.

It comes in handy but, it is not used on every project. For scraping on larger panels it helps me avoid card-scraping irregularities into the surface.  It also excels at cleaning up glue lines but, this activity increases your sharpening interval. 

The iron is stout and with a good hook on it you can get a very nice surface right across things like curly or birds eye maple.  Sharpening requires the same basic skills as putting a hook on a card scraper.  I only mention this because others have asked if a scraper plane is easier to use than a card scraper.  After some discussion we found that what they were really asking is "will this solve the troubles I have sharpening my card scrapers"; it will not.

It is fair to say that I am glad to have it.  It is also fair to say that it would not be on my short list of hand tools required to establish a decent plane till.  A very well made and versatile tool for its purpose.  I wouldn't hesitate to pick one up if you do a lot of larger panel scraping.

Thanks man! You've clarified all my uncertainties about those planes.

Sorry for the hijack OP.

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