rathrbefishn

Chisel upgrades

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I've hit the point where I think it is time to upgrade my chisels.  I don't use them often but have been getting by with some cheapo (new Stanley and equivalent) construction grade chisels.  I've flattened the backs to almost a mirror and sharpened. They have served me OK over the years.  But they don't hold an edge great and because of what they are, I do abuse them on occasion.  I am not looking to break the bank but would something that I can use for finer work.   I only need a few- probably 1/4,1/2, and 3/4 " bevel edge chisels -maybe 1 or 2 others .  Not looking to break the bank, but I know the $25 set of Kobalts will disappoint. Yeah, I am sure  would be thrilled with LeiNeilsen or the like but that's too big a step and would be wasted on me. I am not looking to track down antique chisels and restore- I just haven't had luck finding them and don't have the time.  I have read a bunch of online reviews and there are lot of opinions. Any experience with Narex or WoodRiver? 

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27 mins ago, rathrbefishn said:

I've hit the point where I think it is time to upgrade my chisels.  I don't use them often but have been getting by with some cheapo (new Stanley and equivalent) construction grade chisels.  I've flattened the backs to almost a mirror and sharpened. They have served me OK over the years.  But they don't hold an edge great and because of what they are, I do abuse them on occasion.  I am not looking to break the bank but would something that I can use for finer work.   I only need a few- probably 1/4,1/2, and 3/4 " bevel edge chisels -maybe 1 or 2 others .  Not looking to break the bank, but I know the $25 set of Kobalts will disappoint. Yeah, I am sure  would be thrilled with LeiNeilsen or the like but that's too big a step and would be wasted on me. I am not looking to track down antique chisels and restore- I just haven't had luck finding them and don't have the time.  I have read a bunch of online reviews and there are lot of opinions. Any experience with Narex or WoodRiver? 

sharpen up some old files and go for it 

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I have a set of the Czech Republic made Narex.  They rate high but seem klunky and top heavy to me. Out of four chisels, I spent way to long flattening the backs on two of them.  Their new Richter chisels are supposed to be much nicer and the price reflects it.  I also have a set of the Stanley sweethearts.  These are socket style and feel much nicer in my hands for things like hand cut dovetails.  I also bought one lie-Nielsen which is socket style also.  The lie-N’s are $65 and basically come ready out of the box.  Most woodworkers will add a micro bevel.  Diamond stones and other sharpening stones are as important as the chisels and not cheap.

if you are looking for knock around carpentry chisels you can get a set at harbor freight for 8-12 bucks and they actually get some good reviews.

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Like JonnDe, I've got a variety of chisels (Stanley Sweethart, Narex, and Lie-Nielsen). The Sweethart set that I have was a pretty good bang for the buck. I had to do a little bit of sharpening work to them when I got them, but they hold an edge well and I've been happy with them. I've got a couple of Narex mortising chisels that work well, though the edge does seem to chip easily, which means more frequent time on the sharpening stone (though I am beating the crap out of them as since they are mortising chisels). Lie-Nielsen, wel you get what you  pay for and their stuff is the best for a reason.....

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Go to yard sales   Look for old ones   Buck and others with English Marker Marks. 
Old files are good if you want to make your own 

You can tell good steel when you put it to the grinder.  Look for small blue sparks. 
 

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11 mins ago, ccb said:

Go to yard sales   Look for old ones   Buck and others with English Marker Marks. 
Old files are good if you want to make your own 

You can tell good steel when you put it to the grinder.  Look for small blue sparks. 
 

This, i try to get my tools from estate sales. I have a bunch of old quality chisels from estate sales that sharpened up real nicely and hold their edge well.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

There's a trade off decision you have to make

Do you want razor sharp, but have to sharpen more often - in which case go with quality vintage steel.

If you want to sharpen less often and are OK with very sharp, but not quite razor, modern high speed steel is the better choice (unless you are willing to spend the bigger $$ for high end Japanese steel that does both, holds an edge and keeps it)

 

I like my old tools and don't mind touching the edge up often.

Witherby (My favorite), Swan, Erik Anton Berg, R. Butcher & Son, older Sandvik (Swedish steel is amazing), Stanley Sweatheart, Greenlee, Union Hardware, and quite a few others.

These can all be tracked down at garage sales and flea markets for short $$ then rehandled and refinished

 

No matter what you choose, avoid Chinese steel

 

 

 

 

Edited by Sudsy

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8 mins ago, Sudsy said:

There's a trade off decision you have to make

Do you want razor sharp, but have to sharpen more often - in which case go with quality vintage steel.

If you want to sharpen less often and are OK with very sharp, but not quite razor, modern high speed steel is the better choice (unless you are willing to spend the bigger $$ for high end Japanese steel that does both, holds an edge and keeps it)

 

I like my old tools and don't mind touching the edge up often.

Witherby (My favorite), Swan, Erik Anton Berg, R. Butcher & Son, older Sandvik (Swedish steel is amazing), Stanley Sweatheart, Greenlee, Union Hardware, and quite a few others.

These can all be tracked down at garage sales and flea markets for short $$ then rehandled and refinished

 

No matter what you choose, avoid Chinese steel

 

 

 

 

I've had my share of chineesium tools break and sometimes blow up under normal use

 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Apparently you all missed the part where he does not want to track down chisels at estate sales and rework them. 

Edited by BLilly

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38 mins ago, BLilly said:

Apparently you all missed the part where he does not want to track down chisels at estate sales and rework them. 

That's the way half these threads go. I'm as guilty as the rest, someone asks about takeout and I tell them to cook it themselves!

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How are you sharpening? The Worksharp 3000 is a game changer... I only use the grinding wheel if the chisel has been used as a nail finder and has a Leon Spinks gap. The Worksharp will tune up most any chisel within two minutes.

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For fine work I have Kirschen chisels that are similar to Two Cherries, I think not as polished.  Excellent tools.  For sharpening Google "Scary Sharp" sharpening.  Using 800 and up wet dry sand paper on a flat surface.  I use a cut off from a granite counter top.  Use a Lee Valley sharpening jig and you get an edge that can cut your eyes just looking at it. 

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4 hours ago, nightfighter said:

How are you sharpening? The Worksharp 3000 is a game changer... I only use the grinding wheel if the chisel has been used as a nail finder and has a Leon Spinks gap. The Worksharp will tune up most any chisel within two minutes.

I am still trying to decide on my favorite sharpening approach. I've used Scary Sharp, oil and diamond stones and also a cardboard impregnated wheel on a grinder.  All have their merits, but i have been thinking about a belt grinder.  The Workshop looks interesting.

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7 hours ago, gellfex said:

That's the way half these threads go. I'm as guilty as the rest, someone asks about takeout and I tell them to cook it themselves!

If I thought I could find some good vintage ones I would try that approach. I don't yard sale or flea market as much as I used to.  Just too busy. I have had good luck getting some nice older Stanley and Sargent planes, and a lot of other tools.  But chisels have evaded me for years. I rarely see any, and when I do they are either complete basket cases- pitted rusted beyond belief or really ground down or they are modern junk that usually look like they have been used to pry open paint cans.  I'm OK with restoration but just haven't had luck finding anything worthwhile.  

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Like others I have a vast array of old and new. I still have  Robert Sorby  2 3/8"  slick from my days as a timber framer. Cost me a days pay ( $50.00 ) back then. 

My chisel roll that goes with me is full of only Stanley's. I carry two of each size, 1/4" , 3/8" , 1/2" ,  etc...  to 1 1/2".  

The real good, old ones, stay home in the shop. 

I have a good stone, and sharpening is easy for me.

 

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