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Thread: Chisels

  1. #46
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    I prefer a Church Key, for opening paint cans...and a few bottles of Guinness, if you please....
    A Planer? I'm the Planer, and this is what I use

  2. #47
    I know I'm late to the party.... But I spent way too much money and time on this for my own good... So here's my two cents.

    Stay away from dirt cheap imports. Some people here have had good results with Aldi/Harbor Freight/Lidl/Miscellaneous cheap Chinese.... I have bought and tried to work 10 sets now and only got frustration and trouble out of it. I couldn't get any of this stuff to hold a reasonable edge for anything but trivial work. As the Aussies say, "It's still expensive at half the price." Skip it.

    If you don't have a giant/advanced sharpening setup, stay away from super fancy pants steels. PM-V11, A2, and anything high speed steel... The stuff might be great but getting it sharp on common knife stones will drive you to distraction.

    Skip the ancient, vintage stuff made 100+ years ago. Sure, some of it really is great, but a lot of it is not, and worse, it's not available in commercially viable quantities... That means you can't just go out and buy it. Collecting and rehabbing vintage rust is a hobby of it's own.

    That leaves the Mid-price stuff. This is stuff that's made of quality steel which you can sharpen on common hardware store kit. Two cherries, Narex Richter, Ashley Iles, Sheffield made Stanley Bailey or Sweetheart socket chisels, Woodcraft socket chisels, or Pfeil wood chisels. Nothing with a steel butt cap or a giant steel rod running through it. While I like Ashley Iles the best of these, they can be hard to source. Personally, I'd start with a few pieces of either Pfeil, Two Cherries, or Narex Richter, because they are very good and also very easy to buy online.

  3. #48
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    Skip the ancient, vintage stuff made 100+ years ago. Sure, some of it really is great, but a lot of it is not, and worse, it's not available in commercially viable quantities... That means you can't just go out and buy it. Collecting and rehabbing vintage rust is a hobby of it's own.
    You only have to find it once. A lot of modern tools are not currently available in any quantities.

    Many vintage chisels can be found on the auction site and other sources. If just a few are needed, it shouldn't take long to find them. If like me a whole set is desired, it will take longer to come up with the odd sizes.

    Yes, for many rehabbing an old tool can be enjoyable. If one is just looking for usable tools it is a short lived hobby.

    Rehabbing old planes gave me an understanding of planes the reading of books and forums never could.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 01-06-2022 at 1:47 AM.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  4. #49
    In terms of availability... All the ones I recommended are currently in stock at common internet retailers as of Jan 2022. Prices have certainly climbed, but so have prices on quality vintage.

    I'm not surprised to see "very good" condition, first quality pre-war octagon bolster bevel edge chisels running well over $50 each, if you can find them to buy. Firmers of the same first quality brands run above the $25 range... A lot more when you pay international shipping. (Yikes, I know...). That's stuff like old Buck Bros, Sorby, Marples, Ward, Witherby, etc.

    Now, if you need to get some work done now and need a couple chisels, I wouldn't turn up my nose at imports that plainly advertise DIN 5139 or ISO 2729. Certifying to these standards requires meeting minimum performance standards and construction requirements such as steel alloys. That means they nominally shouldn't be trash. If you notice, early Aldi and Lidl chisels all proudly displayed the DIN markings. Once they hit the big time, they took it off... Hmm... Why? Because certifying to those standards costs money for stuff like quality alloys and proper heat treatment.

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by John C Cox View Post
    In terms of availability... All the ones I recommended are currently in stock at common internet retailers as of Jan 2022. Prices have certainly climbed, but so have prices on quality vintage.

    I'm not surprised to see "very good" condition, first quality pre-war octagon bolster bevel edge chisels running well over $50 each, if you can find them to buy. Firmers of the same first quality brands run above the $25 range... A lot more when you pay international shipping. (Yikes, I know...). That's stuff like old Buck Bros, Sorby, Marples, Ward, Witherby, etc.

    Now, if you need to get some work done now and need a couple chisels, I wouldn't turn up my nose at imports that plainly advertise DIN 5139 or ISO 2729. Certifying to these standards requires meeting minimum performance standards and construction requirements such as steel alloys. That means they nominally shouldn't be trash. If you notice, early Aldi and Lidl chisels all proudly displayed the DIN markings. Once they hit the big time, they took it off... Hmm... Why? Because certifying to those standards costs money for stuff like quality alloys and proper heat treatment.

    If you're willing to be patient and wait for bargains to appear within your country, you can score great vintage chisels on ebay for a few bucks.

    I'm not so patient, but I just bought a set of 4 good firmer chisels in *very* nice condition for 46 GBP, or about $62. The chisels themselves were $20, and the shipping like $42, because that's how the UK's government rolls...

    Still a great deal.

    I think nice firmer chisels are often a great deal, because everyone seems to want bevel edged chisels. I don't really care that much; a few bevel edged chisels for dovetailing are all you need (not that you can't cut dovetails with a firmer chisel. Just skew it a little more...)
    Firmer chisels actually kind of work better for a lot of other tasks, especially if you're using them in lieu of a mortise chisel. Bevel edged chisels tend to rotate when chopping, because they don't have significant flats to register against the walls.
    But, anyway, this relative lack of love by the dovetail obsessed makes them a great deal, IMO
    Last edited by Luke Dupont; 01-08-2022 at 6:53 AM.

  6. #51
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Runau View Post
    I do most of my woodworking with power tools, but from time to time I need a chisel to clean something up etc... I've been using some cheap throw away Stanley chisels and thought it would be nice to have a set of maybe 3 pieces 1/2, 3/4, & 1" sizes.

    Looking for opinions of a reasonably priced, but good quality brand for this type of function.
    Thanks.
    Brian
    Set of Stanley 60s on Leach's tool list this month.

    A set of Millers Falls on ebay now. $50 with no bids and a day left to go.

    Both should be good quality.

  7. #52
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    Fine Woodworking did a comparison piece on 23 different brands of Western and Japanese style chisels in 2008. It should be out on the interwebs. It's worth a read. It helped steer me to chisels that were best suited to the work I was doing and the design attributes I was looking for. As mentioned earlier in the thread, I started with some budget Blue Chips. They sharpen up well and retain an edge but as others have mentioned they're not well suited to dovetails. I found that out the hard way. Like Jim Koepke, I enjoyed finding vintage pieces in the wild and refurbishing them but could never really find something that checked all the boxes.

    I invested in a six piece set of the LN Bevel Edge Chisels a few years ago and have never looked back. I didn't spend much more than I had spent to accumulate all the chisels I had at that point and they wound up replacing them all. Those odd ducks that haven't found new homes sit idle waiting for the next herd thinning event.

    I guess my point to the OP is, understand what you want in terms or performance and invest in the best version of whatever that is you can afford. Save up if you need to. At the end of the day you'll pay less and be happier. You'll never regret them working better, being more comfortable in the hand, or having a more durable edge. I've learned that the hard way a couple times.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  8. #53
    I agree with the point about vintage firmers if you don't specifically need the side bevels. I'm not doing much in the way of dovetails, so I actually reach for firmers first because it's easier to register their sides on stuff and they don't cut my fingers.

    If you plan on dovetailing and feel like you need chisels with teeny, finger slicing side bevels, well, they're out there. Many of the premium chisels now come with those.

  9. #54
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    Some eye candy for you all...
    Bench Chisels, normal sized.JPG
    From the rack on the back of my bench...throw in a few of the bigger ones..
    Bench Chisels, and the bigs.JPG
    Then put them back in the rack..
    Top of the bench, needs cleaned up.JPG
    "Blue Handle" is a Stanley No. 5002..one of three I have.

    Maybe I just have a "thing" for old chisels....
    A Planer? I'm the Planer, and this is what I use

  10. #55
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    Some eye candy for you all...
    At least eye candy doesn't get stale:

    100_3503.jpg

    This picture was taken over a decade ago.

    They have multiplied since then.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  11. #56
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    Very nice collection of chisels Jim! I notice a number of similarly made handles with a kind of guard to keep your hand from slipping down. Did you make those? Interesting. Do you still favor those handles? I'm just curious.

    Mike

  12. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Manning View Post
    Very nice collection of chisels Jim! I notice a number of similarly made handles with a kind of guard to keep your hand from slipping down. Did you make those? Interesting. Do you still favor those handles? I'm just curious.

    Mike
    Yes Mike, many of the handles were made on my lathe. My right hand was injured many years ago. The "guard" and shape helps in not having to hold with as tight of a grip. It is also handy for chopping as it can be held between my pinky & ring finger.

    They are still favored and repeated when a new handle is made.

    The handles on the Buck Brothers chisels are more of an attempt to follow their original handles. Some of them do not come very close.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  13. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    At least eye candy doesn't get stale:

    100_3503.jpg

    This picture was taken over a decade ago.

    They have multiplied since then.

    jtk

    Are those skew chisels used for woodworking, or just for turning? Just curious. I've never seen anyone use them in normal woodworking and always wondered if they'd be useful or not.

  14. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Dupont View Post
    Are those skew chisels used for woodworking, or just for turning? Just curious. I've never seen anyone use them in normal woodworking and always wondered if they'd be useful or not.
    None of those chisels are used on the lathe. Skew chisels are useful on dovetails.

    They can get into the corners:

    Clean Corner with Skew.jpg

    The are good with lap joints:

    Skew Chisle Paring.jpg

    Also useful in cutting dados:

    Skew Chisel.jpg

    The skewing lowers the effective bevel/cutting angle. It also helps in places a straight across edge might not be able to reach.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 01-10-2022 at 1:11 AM.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  15. #60
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