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  1. #1
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    Default Recommendations for a set of bevel chisels

    As the title says, looking for advice on a new set of chisels. I already have a set of heavy and rather chunky but nevertheless quite useful Stanley Fat Max carpentry style chisels but am looking to supplement that with a set of more delicate bevel chisels for finer work. I really enjoy chisel time, indeed it's one of my favourite woodworking activities, so I'm willing to spend a bit on a set that will help me enjoy that chisel time even more.

    As a guide to what sort of money I'm prepared to pay (or thereabouts) this attractively boxed set 'coming soon' at Carbatec of 6 Pfeil bench chisels has caught my eye Pfeil Bench Chisels Set - 6 piece | Carbatec

    Are these any good, or are there other brands or sets I should be looking at? I'd be willing to stretch the budget to $400 ish for a set of six nice chisels suitable for relatively fine work.

    I'm hoping some aficionado will be able to help me spend my money to best effect, so please do put your two cents in on the subject.

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  3. #2
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    Apr 2001
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    Perth
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    Hi Biggus

    A Monty Python fan?

    By "fine chisels" you could mean chisels for dovetailing, which then means chisels with fine side lands. If so, then you must look carefully at this area on any chisel you consider, or be prepared to modify what you get.

    Pfeil have a decent reputation for their steel, but their lands are large ...

    PF-CC-16MM.jpg

    I would rather purchase a fewer good chisels than a set of poorer one.

    Look at the Veritas PM-V11 for excellent bench chisels.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on constructing handtools, handtool reviews, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by derekcohen View Post
    Hi Biggus

    A Monty Python fan?

    By "fine chisels" you could mean chisels for dovetailing, which then means chisels with fine side lands. If so, then you must look carefully at this area on any chisel you consider, or be prepared to modify what you get.

    Pfeil have a decent reputation for their steel, but their lands are large ...

    PF-CC-16MM.jpg

    I would rather purchase a fewer good chisels than a set of poorer one.

    Look at the Veritas PM-V11 for excellent bench chisels.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

    Always was a Python fan, as were my mates, but I acquired 'Biggus' many moons ago when I was at Uni by somewhat of a convoluted nickname evolution, Richard----->Dick----->Dickus----->Biggus. As with all Australian nicknames they're only really valid if bestowed upon oneself by one's friends, and I'm happy enough with mine.

    Wow, those Veritas chisels are a wee bit pricey, but after quick use of the defibrillator and another coffee I figure I can get away with two or maybe three which is doable price wise (I almost always end up spending more than I originally figured I would anyway). I'll probably buy a 1/4 and a 1/2 and see how I feel about them.

    Many thanks Derek, will proceed with caution as advised.

  5. #4
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    Perth
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    At about half- to a third of the price of the Veritas are the Ashley Iles chisels. These are O1 steel (not as durable as the PM-V11, but excellent steel for chisels). However they are not available directly in Oz. This is a link to the UK store ...

    Mk2 BEVEL EDGED : Ashley Iles Tool Store



    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on constructing handtools, handtool reviews, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by derekcohen View Post
    At about half- to a third of the price of the Veritas are the Ashley Iles chisels. These are O1 steel (not as durable as the PM-V11, but excellent steel for chisels). However they are not available directly in Oz. This is a link to the UK store ...

    Mk2 BEVEL EDGED : Ashley Iles Tool Store



    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Thanks for the follow up Derek but you've pretty much sold me on two or three of the Veritas chisels. I get an enormous sense of pleasure out of using nice tools so they'll have value to me well beyond their pure utility value anyway, and it's still cheaper than collecting Faberge eggs. Had a read of some of the stuff on your website which was most illuminating, many thanks.

  7. #6
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    Hi Biggus
    It'll be a couple of weeks before I'm back in Calgary, but when I am, it's no problem to check how thick the lands are on a Narex chisel.
    The Calgary LV store has Narex in stock priced from CAD $16.90 (plus 5% tax).
    regards from Canada

    ian

  8. #7
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    Jul 2011
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    Berowra Waters
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    Kirschen 1103000 Chisel Set with Plastic Handles in Wooden Box 4016649110679 | eBay

    Ive beeen really impressed with these. They’re German, top quality. They have a massive range,so you’re bound to find a specialised version that’s suitable, I also have a couple of the bent ones, for fitting locks, which are very nice.

  9. #8
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    Kirschen & Two-cherries (same-same) have a reputation for excellent steel. I had a couple many years ago & they were great for edge-holding but had two flaws, the lands were way too thick for dovetailing chisels and they'd polished them silly, so the corners were nicely rounded all along the blade. Took me a week on each chisel to flatten enough of the back to get sharp corners on the cutting edges! When I was looking for a new set of chisels abut a dozen yeas ago, I found you could order them unpolished, which would solve that problem, but they still looked rather dumpy.

    All Narexes I've seen so far have very fat lands, and would not be my choice for dovetailing, but I have a few Narexes and they are reasonably good at taking & holding edges, though a couple of paring chisels I have are a bit on the brittle side.

    I ended up with a set of Lie-Nielsens, which I'm surprised no-one has mentioned yet (or did I miss it?). These are beautifully made, with very fine lands & very crisp corners (I cut myself several times holding the blades when paring until I got used to them). They are just right for me in terms of size (some find them too small). I wish I'd bought the O1s, which are no longer available, but at the time I was still in my "harder is always better" stage when it came to blades of any description. My one complaint with my LNs is the higher sharpening bevels needed on the A2 steel makes them less suitable for cutting soft woods like Aust. Cedar. No matter how sharp they are, they tend to bludgeon their way through softer woods rather than clean-cutting them. No problem with Qld. Maple & similar woods and pretty good in harder woods apart from their propensity to micro-chip if belted into very hard woods like most of our Eucalypts, but that's inherent with A2 steel, I'm told. I guess there are always compromises to make.....

    Cheers,
    IW

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Perth WA Australia
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    Disclaimer: i'm definitely not as experience\ds as Ian or Derek so take my input with a grain of salt.

    I'm like you, first set of chisels came from Stanley, useful as they are not ideal for dovetails. Similarly like you i didn't want to pay the asking price for the Veritas or Lee Nielsen chisels. So I opted for the Narex set.

    Is it worth it? Depends... if you put a value on your time in the shed probably not, as out of the box they take considerable time to get them ready for work. The time depends on how finicky you are with your tools. From memory i think i spend about 10-12 hours on the set of 6, obviously the larger the chisel the more time it took.

    Does it perform for Dovetails? Sure does, the bit that lets me down is still my sawing technique which has nothing to do with the chisels performance.

    Would i buy again, sure will. I'm half tossing up buying a second set to hone to a different angle.

    Do i wish i have the Veritas/LN set sure do if money was not an issue.

    Bottom line, if you're a beginner the Narex set will serve you well, but if money was not an issue def go the premium route.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
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    Perth
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanW View Post
    Kirschen & Two-cherries (same-same) have a reputation for excellent steel. I had a couple many years ago & they were great for edge-holding but had two flaws, the lands were way too thick for dovetailing chisels and they'd polished them silly, so the corners were nicely rounded all along the blade. Took me a week on each chisel to flatten enough of the back to get sharp corners on the cutting edges! When I was looking for a new set of chisels abut a dozen yeas ago, I found you could order them unpolished, which would solve that problem, but they still looked rather dumpy.

    All Narexes I've seen so far have very fat lands, and would not be my choice for dovetailing, but I have a few Narexes and they are reasonably good at taking & holding edges, though a couple of paring chisels I have are a bit on the brittle side.

    I ended up with a set of Lie-Nielsens, which I'm surprised no-one has mentioned yet (or did I miss it?). These are beautifully made, with very fine lands & very crisp corners (I cut myself several times holding the blades when paring until I got used to them). They are just right for me in terms of size (some find them too small). I wish I'd bought the O1s, which are no longer available, but at the time I was still in my "harder is always better" stage when it came to blades of any description. My one complaint with my LNs is the higher sharpening bevels needed on the A2 steel makes them less suitable for cutting soft woods like Aust. Cedar. No matter how sharp they are, they tend to bludgeon their way through softer woods rather than clean-cutting them. No problem with Qld. Maple & similar woods and pretty good in harder woods apart from their propensity to micro-chip if belted into very hard woods like most of our Eucalypts, but that's inherent with A2 steel, I'm told. I guess there are always compromises to make.....

    Cheers,
    I am in total agreement with everything Ian has written.

    To note: Two Cherries have tough steel, but they are best used as general purpose bench chisels, rather than for fine detail work owing to the thick lands. If one is interested, only get the unpolished variety (unless you like spending hours flattening the back!).

    A2 steel gets a bad reputation because many believe that it must have a 30 degree bevel. Many years ago, when Dave Jeske began selling chisels as Blue Spruce, I was in a dilemma whether to get the detail/dovetail chisels because the steel was A2, and I would have preferred a 25 degree bevel. Then I realised two factors: firstly, chopping with chisels requires a 30 degree bevel. All steels are weaker under this angle. Secondly, all my Japanese bench chisels (which are designed for chopping) have a 30 degree bevel. So I went ahead and purchased the Blue Spruce. They are wonderful chisels for detail work. They also get very sharp, and are proof that sharp trumps all when paring. The bottom line here is that the LN chisels are also a good buy, even though A2. I did not mention them simply because the Veritas PM-V11, which I own, are my preferred choice.

    Last point: if you are going to be chopping into particularly hard wood all the time, then Japanese chisels, such as Koyamaichi (and I do not know who sells these any more) are the best of the lot. It is more difficult, however, to find them with very fine lands (the Koyamaichi are one exception).

    Comparison of four steels: http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ToolRev...sCompared.html

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on constructing handtools, handtool reviews, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.

  12. #11
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    Aug 2008
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    Look for Japanese dovetail chisels and you'll find plenty of options with fine sides. The cheapest I could see locally are here: Dovetail Chisels – Japanese Tools Australia

  13. #12
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    Melb
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    I have a set of Sandvik chisels since the 80s and I find them very good. They look pretty much like the Bahco chisel today.

  14. #13
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    Dec 2019
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    What a can of worms I've opened, so many options! Here's the thing, I can actually afford to buy the best, I just have to feel it's worth the outlay, and I'm feeling that the only way I'm going to end up not in any way regretting (even just a little) my final decision is to buy the Veritas PM-V11 chisels. That way six months down the track I won't have any negative feelings about having cheaped out and will (hopefully) be just chuffed I didn't. All the other choices seem to involve some degree of compromise either with regard to the steel or the profile. Spending big on a few fine chisels seems to me to be money well spent, I just needed a little while to get my head around what that might cost.

    Thanks to all for your input, I'm definitely better informed now than when I started.

  15. #14
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    Excellent decision.

  16. #15
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    Yairs, I think I'd go that route meself if I were looking for a set of chisels today.

    There's no guarantee against minor disappointments, I think we let our expectations get a bit too high, sometimes, and expect more than the product can possibly deliver. I was disappointed with the first PMV11 blade I bought. It definitely isn't as easy to sharpen as O1 steel, whatever they claim, or even A2, but a decent water-stone made all the difference, and now I can get the sort of edges I like relatively easily. Disappointment changed to much happiness; I reckon they are close enough with their claim that PMV11 holds a useable edge about twice as long as anything else, and it doesn't chip in glass-hard woods. Case in point: I've been planing some Solomon Island "Ebony" over the last few days. It's relatively easy to plane for such a dense wood, but the sample I'm working on dulls blades faster than just about any wood I've come across. I would have had a very frustrating time if I'd had only O1 blades!

    I've got PMV11 in 3 planes now, and the cutting edge is getting close to the screw-slot on another of my heavy users, so it will be #4 in a year or two. If I live long enough, they may all be sporting the fancy irons, someday.

    So despite initial scepticism & disappointment, I think I've become a staunch convert to PMV11...
    Cheers,
    IW

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