Chisel Lust Follow Up

Let me thank all of you who took the time to post your thoughts on chisels. I haven’t done anything rash yet but I have taken a hard look at chisels, steel and reviews. I am surprised that so many commented that the Lie-Nielson A2 chisels didn’t take a super sharp edge. After a little research, A2 seems to be tougher but not capable of achieving a fine edge like good old high carbon steel. So it’s a trade-off.  Several of you noted that you had newer chisels but kept going back to your vintage tools. I think this hints to the balance of the Narex chisels that I talked about. Mine just seem top-heavy while I’m working. Is this one of the nuances that vintage makers had figured out and the new manufactures have overlooked? Maybe.

The Japanese chisels just seem way to fussy. I’m sure they are superb tools but they require too much work IMHO. I like the idea of Japanese tools but the reality is they are just not for me.

Let me add that Narex chisels are good tools and a very good value and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them for someone just starting out or are on a tight budget. I just wish they felt more comfortable in my hand while working, mostly while chopping. But I’ll stick with them for now.

So I went out to the shop this evening and sharpened up my Narex chisels, shaved a little end grain, wiped them lovingly with an oily rag and put them back in the rack. I apologized to them for my wandering eye as I closed the door, but made no promises that it wouldn’t happen again.

Greg Merritt

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5 Responses to Chisel Lust Follow Up

  1. Ron Harper says:

    Old Buck Brothers I mean old. And even better , Charles Buck

  2. alfred kraemer says:

    I’m glad I never bought a preassembled set! All of my chisels are good old chisel except one LN mortise chisels. That one 1/4 inch is excellent and I’m not a fan of the pigsticker variety especially for smaller sizes. It was easier for me to aseemble a small set of bench, mortise, and a few paring chisels from what was available in catalogs. There is a lot of information on the old brands to look for Buck, witherby, swan, etc. I also like the Swedish chisels, the Bergs can be pricier, especially when bought as a set, but Gensco, etc. are great, too. The one thing to keep in mind is how much time would you want to spent to refurbish an old chisel. I avoid pitted ones, there are enough out there that just need shsrpening.

  3. handguitar says:

    Most of my chisels are old, but I recently bought a new Pfeil chisel with an octagonal handle. They’ve got two models, one with a round handle and the other with an octagonal handle. I’ve tried the round handled ones but the octagonal handled model feels better in the hand. They are a step up in price from the narex but great to use. I guess a lot of it is down to personal choice though…

  4. billlattpa says:

    O1 is superior in my opinion, though I’m hardly a tool steel expert. But it seems to take an edge better, and if it doesn’t hold as well as A2 does it really matter? We’re all constantly sharpening anyway.
    I do really like the Narex chisels. I have a pair of skew chisels that I paid around $20 for and they are great tools, I just wish the handles were nicer. I’ve thought about shaving them down with a spokeshave, but doing stuff like that always worries me a little. In any event, I think you made a good call.

  5. Jason says:

    I picked up a new set of sorby chisels about a year back. The typical complaint is about edge retention. If I used jigs and such to sharpen up it would be a problem. But the steel takes an edge quickly and gets me back to work. I believe I got them on sale at woodcraft for $150. No complaints so far.

If you don't comment this is just a fancy way for me to talk to myself.

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