Bench Chisel Question
Posted 14 August 2012 - 01:23 PM
Posted 15 August 2012 - 05:29 AM
I'd try to stick with the better known brands. You don't have to spend a lot to get a decent chisel. Narex chisels are held in pretty high regard for their price. They can be had from several reputable suppliers.
For just a few bucks more, the Ashley Iles are top notch. I have owned a set and in my opinion, nothing else in this price range even comes close.
Hirsch are another good option for about the same price as the Iles.
You don't necessarily need to buy a set either. Most of the time, you'll be reaching for chisels 1/2" or smaller. The most valuable ones to have are the smaller ones, in 1/8" increments from about 1/8" to about 1/2". Above 1/2", a 1" chisel (give or take 1/4") makes a good paring chisel for adjusting the fit of tenon cheeks, cleaning up mortise walls, etc. So while that 8 piece set may seem like a better value than some of the others, what you really will end up with is a not so well made set of chisels, several of which you don't really use very often anyway. None of those sets include the super handy 1/8" chisel and all of them include several sizes above 1/2" which aren't really all that useful to have in various sizes.
I'd actually recommend you take the $70 you would spend on the set and buy good quality individual chisels in 1/8", 1/4", 3/8", 1/2" and 1" (or 1-1/4"). This will give you the 4 most useful small sizes for chopping and one good wide chisel for paring wide surfaces. These 5 chisels will do 90% of the work, then you can fill in the other sizes later as needed. Buying a decent name brand chisel will also get you better resale later should you decide you want to upgrade even further later, or if you decide that woodworking isn't your thing.
Posted 15 August 2012 - 06:39 AM
Posted 15 August 2012 - 11:19 AM
I went mad and bought the 10 chisel set, but the 4 or 7 chisel set is really all you'll probably need. I've hardly used the chisels over 1", all the others have seen plenty of use, including mortising.
Posted 15 August 2012 - 03:21 PM
Posted 19 August 2012 - 08:15 PM
My set is the Standaed Bevel Edge but I would highly recommend the new Classic Bevel-Edge Chisels, with their very small side edge getting into tight areas like dovetails is easy. I bought a 3/8" and 1/2" of the Classic Bevel Edge chisels and I like them a lot, just my opinion.
Posted 19 August 2012 - 10:09 PM
Oh, and here’s a set for you Nate. The people who have the money to purchase these seem to really like them. Tom Fidgen being one. You don’t have to purchase the whole set, but they do have the 1/16” size as well as the 1/8”. I’m guessing though that you’ll be doing some grinding on a 1/4” Narex.
Posted 20 August 2012 - 07:30 AM
If you don't have any experience sharpening, pick up a set at Harbor Freight (if one is close) to practice on. You'll get all the practice you can handle.
Posted 20 August 2012 - 03:54 PM
Posted 20 August 2012 - 04:07 PM
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Posted 20 August 2012 - 05:42 PM
Posted 20 August 2012 - 06:03 PM
Posted 20 August 2012 - 07:18 PM
Posted 20 August 2012 - 10:03 PM
If you belong to FWW online or have issue September/October 2008 there is a great head to head comparison with the Narex winning best value. Now, these will never compare to a LN or anything like that but they did score better than some with much higher price tags. It was after this article that I bought mine and as I stated before I am really impressed. You will have to read the article yourself to see the comparisons as I don't want to break any rules with sharing membership info but I think it would be ok to just show you how Narex scored=
out of the box-very good, ergonomics-good, edge retention-good, dovetail-very good, pairing-very good, chopping-excellent.
Now that being said when I bought my original Narex ,which are now being called "typical bevel edge", I bought them through http://www.leevalley...707&cat=1,41504 and I think these handles are comfortable-not the nicest on the eyes but good in the hand. When I bought a couple of their new "Classic" as LV calls them or "Premium" as Highland calls them I had went through http://www.highlandw...ch-chisels.aspx. I personally don't care for these handles. They don't fit my hands as well and the handles seem too light to my throwing them off balance-in my opinion. The other thing is the handles on the two I received didn't match but the chisels themselves did. The smaller chisel had a longer and thicker handle than the larger one. To me it seemed like one was from a old production run and one was from a newer run. I contacted Highland just to let them know so others wouldn't have any issues in the future and they were super nice, they offered to send me 2 chisels that matched right away but I declined as I want to make my own handles that fit my hands nicely and look great as well (I have some small pieces of curly maple that might become chisel handles this winter-time will tell;) When I had bought mine through Highland I had to order some stuff that Lee Valley didn't have so paying the little extra didn't bother me plus in the pictures the Highland ones look much nicer, if I had it to do over again I would go through L.V. I had contacted Highland before I ordered and asked them the difference between theirs and L.V's and the customer service person I talked to couldn't find a difference but that could just be the one I talked to. I plan on getting three more and will go through Highland just to make sure the chisel itself matches the two I already bought. This is just my opinion here and I have no reservations about ordering through either one. If you are a member here is the link to the FWWing chisel review http://www.finewoodw...f/011200038.pdf Hope this helps and good luck!
Posted 21 August 2012 - 06:22 PM
The nice thing is that, since i got them to abuse, I've had no problems treating them badly. They've still held up.... possibly because of the steel quality. The cheaper the steel and lower the temper... ironically, the longer the chisel lasts as a pry bar in my hands...
You'll be sharpening them for almost ever before you get an edge you like, and it will be gone almost before you touch it to the wood you are going to test it on. But you'll learn that muscle memory very quickly.
My advice? Don't even bother with the Harbor Freight chisels. Unless you've never used the angle guide and sharpening method before, you can get just as much practice from your good set.