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Thread: Blue Spruce Butt Chisels

  1. #1

    Blue Spruce Butt Chisels

    Got an E-mail from Blue Spruce/Woodpeckers just now--20$ off on a set of six of their Optima butt chisels, and they're still over a hundred bucks apiece. They're beautiful, and I almost went for it.

    Lest I be classified as a cheap chicken, I should state that over the years, I've accumulated several B/S chisels, but I notice that a number of them just sit in the nice boxes I made, and I still reach for the old Marples in the rack on the bench. There's no real point in this post; I'd like to hear what some of you have to say about my moment of attraction and subsequent reluctance.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Droege View Post
    Got an E-mail from Blue Spruce/Woodpeckers just now--20$ off on a set of six of their Optima butt chisels, and they're still over a hundred bucks apiece. They're beautiful, and I almost went for it.

    Lest I be classified as a cheap chicken, I should state that over the years, I've accumulated several B/S chisels, but I notice that a number of them just sit in the nice boxes I made, and I still reach for the old Marples in the rack on the bench. There's no real point in this post; I'd like to hear what some of you have to say about my moment of attraction and subsequent reluctance.
    I have cheap and expensive chisels. I cycle through them.

    I just made boxes for some really cheap Stanley chisels out of Wenge, Mahogany, maple, etc.... Crazy right? Those cheap chisels sure took a nice edge, but they won't hold it as long.

    For sure if you won't use them, you should probably not buy them though.

  3. #3
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    It is difficult for me to spend $100 for a chisel because it looks beautiful.

    All but a few of my chisels were purchased on ebay or other private sales. A few may have cost as much as $30. Many were under $10.

    They can likely chop and pare just as well as anything that costs more. They may not be as pretty, but they work and fill my needs fine.

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

  4. #4
    You have something there, but I've had moments of 'want' trumping 'need'. I'm moving toward being over that.

  5. #5
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    Been there and done that myself, a couple of times, so you are not alone! Consider the BS chisels as an inheritance gift for your grandchildren (or favorite niece/nephew), which they will promptly sell on eBay!

  6. #6
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    Andrew, ditto the box for some cheap chisels. I also made a fitted shotgun box for my son, mahogany, fabric and all. A local dealer in fine guns told me the box was worth more than the shotgun. Oh well...

  7. #7
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    What one spends money on is a personal choice. One of priorities. Buy only cheap tools, yet spend high on a motor car. Or vice versa.

    Good tool design speaks to me. Tools can be inspirational in their form and function, or they may not matter a whit when it comes to building. I can look at the radios of Dieter Rams and not need to turn them on. Their lines are simple and stunning.

    I have had Blue Spruce dovetail chisels since they were first made. They are now irreplaceable as their African Blackwood handles cannot be transported to Australia. I have a couple of other sets of "premium" chisels, such as Veritas. Nothing is sacred - they are all used equally, treated with care, but not babied. And this goes for my Kiyohisa slicks and oire nomi, which would retail for around $300 each, if you could get them. They are just tools, but they give much pleasure in use. I like the lines of the Record blue handled classics and would treat them the same way.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  8. #8
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    I agree Derek, my tool buying started at a time when my income was very limited. Candy liked me enjoyed the hunt for the things we liked or wanted. We have done a lot of rust hunting together.

    I too get inspiration from well designed tools. A good inspires its owner to use it often. A poorly designed or uncomfortable tool lives in the darkness at the back of a drawer.

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

  9. #9
    I think I must be trying to accumulate chisels for an ultimate chisel test. I have sets of Marples (from the 1970ís), modern Stanley Sweetheart, Lie-Nielsen, Narex Richter, and Veritas PM-V11, plus numerous inherited single chisels. In my defense, I have two shops and want a grab-it-for-anything set and a reserved-for-paring set in both places. Honestly, thatís just rationalization. I buy chisels to see how they perform. I used a super sharp Narex Richter today to clean up a fuzzy door lock mortise in a particle board core door today. It was like getting a really close shave with a fresh razor blade.
    Last edited by Thomas Wilson; 07-05-2022 at 9:15 PM.

  10. #10
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    I had a mixed collection of chisels, acquired individually and worked with those for many years. Then I spent good money for a set of Japanese chisels. I reach for them 95% of the time. They are a joy to use and sadly will not likely have another caring user when I'm gone so they get used daily.

    Chisels.jpg

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Wilson View Post
    I think I must be trying to accumulate chisels for an ultimate chisel test. I have sets of Marples (from the 1970’s), modern Stanley Sweetheart, Lie-Nielsen, Narex Richter, and Veritas PM-V11, plus numerous inherited single chisels. In my defense, I have two shops and want a grab-it-for-anything set and a reserved-for-paring set in both places. Honestly, that’s just rationalization. I buy chisels to see how they perform. I used a super sharp Narex Richter today to clean up a fuzzy door lock mortise in a particle board core door today. It was like getting a really close shave with a fresh razor blade.
    Thomas, I’m embarrassed to share your experience. I recently cleaned my shop after completing a large boat build. It was over one year of accumulated mess and I decided to reorganize my hand tools into organized drawers. Imagine my shock when I discovered I ended up with three drawers of bench, mortise, dovetail, paring, Japanese, rough construction, timber framing, you name it, chisels plus various hammers, and other accessories. These include most of the brands you mention above plus others. About the only set I don’t seem to own is Lie Nielsen, although I enjoy several of Tom’s planes.

    Some of these are gifts, a set of Tasai chisels from a colleague in return for some assistance I gave him a few years ago. They remain unopened in their boxes (which in reflection is a real waste). Then there are sets from Ashley Iles and an old Sorby set from my four kids, who always complain they never know what to give me for Christmas or birthdays (love them!).

    I had no idea I had that many, maybe I should clean my shop more often!
    Last edited by Jon Snider; 07-08-2022 at 11:54 AM.

  12. #12
    Most of my chisels are very old, 100+ years or so. These are the ones I cherish the most. Not because they're better but they can't be replaced. I find I have a certain respect for tools that have lasted that long and still work or can be worked, just as if they were new.
    (I know it's just a piece of steel but still).
    I have a couple of more modern sets but typically find my go-to are old timers that I have rehabbed for my use, new handle, hoop, ferrule, etc.
    I would have to have a certain "need" to pay that price for a new chisel, that or the chisel would have to be quite special in some way.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Vanzant View Post
    Andrew, ditto the box for some cheap chisels. I also made a fitted shotgun box for my son, mahogany, fabric and all. A local dealer in fine guns told me the box was worth more than the shotgun. Oh well...
    I can so relate to that. Part of that is also just demonstrating some of what I can do when I give these cheap chisels to people who need them.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Bovey View Post
    Been there and done that myself, a couple of times, so you are not alone! Consider the BS chisels as an inheritance gift for your grandchildren (or favorite niece/nephew), which they will promptly sell on eBay!
    I hope they figure out what some of my tools are worth before they dump them on ebay. My cheap Stanley chisels are worth less than the box that contains them. My nicer chisels, well, that is a different story.

  15. #15
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    If you were truly happy with the chisels you use then ads such as that would not interest you. My blue handled Marples were soft steel, barely held an edge 5 minutes, dreadful! Ashley Isles were far better steel but delicate. My eBay Japanese chisels proportions and weight make them my favourite. I have stopped looking at other chisels, I just pick up the odd Japanese extra chisel.
    ​You can do a lot with very little! You can do a little more with a lot!

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