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I’m looking to get my first set of good chisels (non-Home depot)! I’m primarily a power tool user but want to have a good set with good steel that will get really sharp and not have to sharpen all the time. I don’t want to spend $70+\- per chisel either. Thoughts on Stanley’s from link below? Or others?

http://www.rockler.com/stanley-sweetheart-4-pc-socket-chisel-set

 

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post-14184-0-58605800-1407173823_thumb.jpgIt doesn't matter how much you spend on a chisel, you're going to have to sharpen it, either occasionally, or quite often.  The sharper one is, the easier you can do good work with it.  I've never seen one that came sharp enough, to suit me, to start with.

You might ask how sharp is sharp enough.   The picture shows a chisel shaving up curlings  from the high ridges left by a small backsaw.  The light colored, larger shaving in the picture is a .0011" thick shaving taken by a block plane.

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I have a couple Stanley sweethearts that I have ground for special tasks they work well. IMHO I would buy one premium chisel rather than a set of good chisels. for instance in my work I probably use the 1/4 & 3/8 more than others. As always having your sharpening regimen down is key I still have a couple of Irwins from the box store that work great but as you stated don't hold an edge as long.

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I bought my original set of 4 Narex from Amazon for $38 an prime shipping since then I’ve gotten the 1/8 sizes for around 15$ from Lee valley plus mortise chisel they are a little more but I’ve got a whole set for the price of probably 2-3 lie Nielsen ones

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 Those sweethearts will work just fine and won't break the bank. Obviously a 4 piece kit won't get you everything you may want, but you can always piece others in as you find a need for them.

More important than your chisel selection in my opinion is are you set up to sharpen them properly?  A hone and two stones will easily cost double or more of that set of chisels. 

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I use 1/2" and 1" and rarely the 1/4" Only reason my 3/4" gets grabbed ever is when the 1/2" or 1" are a bit dull and i'm too lazy to sharpen. I agree with the buy 2-3 exepsnive singles over a set.

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I got a Narex set, together with sharpening stones (the stones and a sharpening jig cost more than the chisels.)  Later I went back for a Narex mortising chisel.

Bottom lines

- I think a Narex (or even an Irwin) set is a good starting point.

- like Tom says, you need to sign up for flattening/tuning and sharpening them.

 

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So what's the next brand up from Narex? I've been using blue handled Irwins and am curious to try something else to see if there's a difference.

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The Narex chisels have gotten a lot of positive comments for quite some time, so you can't go wrong with them.  I'll also suggest the Stanley Sweetheart chisels - I have the full set, and I really like them a lot...but in all honesty a set of 4 would probably be more than enough for most work, and then add the one or two you might really need for your work.  The 4-piece Sweetheart set is on sale now at Amazon for $82.99, which is a great deal for them IMO.

I'll also add to the comments above about sharpening - one of the most important decisions with decisions is how you're going to sharpen them.

I'm surprised no one has commented on the 'style' of chisel - socket versus tang.  If you're planning on striking the chisels with a mallet, the socket style is considered the better choice.

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As far as sizes go, I've got the 4 piece Narex set and use the 3/4" by far the most, followed by the 1/4" and 1/2", and I'll admit I'm not sure where the 1" one is. I did buy a 1 1/2" chisel which I find I use quite a bit, since it's nice for evening out a surface with the width of it. I'm pretty happy with them, but I've never had better so I don't know the difference.

 

@I B, I was eyeing those dovetail chisels. How do you find they've worked out for you? Most of the other options seem pretty expensive for something I'll only use once in a while.

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7 hours ago, SawDustB said:

@I B, I was eyeing those dovetail chisels. How do you find they've worked out for you? Most of the other options seem pretty expensive for something I'll only use once in a while.

+1 ?

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I have the blue handle irwins and spent a long time getting a good sharp edge. Also have a crappy craftsman set for construction purposes, exactly the same as kobalts chisel set. To give my opinion of the irwin, I use my craftsman chisels about 75% of the time...

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Next up from Narex could be Ashley Isles, or Lie Nielsen from there.  It's all so subjective though.  Personally I'd get Narex before the new Stanley 750, it seems like they're pretty similar in quality and the Narex is a better value. 

I've got Irwins, and my next tool purchase will likely be three'ish Lie Nielsen chisels... 

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Let me toss Rober Sorby into the mix. I only have one Sorby mortising chisel, but I find myself using it for any task it is small enough to fit, paring, mortising, whatever. That thing holds an edge for what seems like eternity. I see more Sorby chisels in my future. 

One at a time.  

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My dovetail chisels are all ground down from old blue handled 1/4" chisels I bought off of ebay for 10 bucks or so.  I needed some for replacement drawer parts I made for a priceless 18th Century sideboard.

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