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  #1  
Old 03-09-2019, 12:46 PM
guitarxan guitarxan is offline
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Default Preferred set of chisels

Hey folks, I am nearing retirement at the end of this year and have decided to take up guitar building as a hobby. I have started doing research on techniques, kits, and tools. I have learned a lot from the is forum already-thanks for that. One thing I have learned is don’t scrimp on the chisels. To that end which brands do you all recommend? Also which sizes and shapes would constitute a good set. I won’t say money is no object but with tools you tend to get what you pay for. Thanks!!

Mark
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Old 03-09-2019, 02:13 PM
amohr amohr is offline
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Hey you stole my idea, although I have a few years left till I can claim retirement. I am currently using an old set of Craftsman chisels learning how to maintain a sharp edge might be the most important thing. I am sure others will chime in with their recommendations. I was eying up this set at Lee Valley seems like a good value.
http://www.leevalley.com/en/Wood/pag...03&cat=1,41504
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Old 03-09-2019, 02:44 PM
Howard Klepper Howard Klepper is offline
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I have recently had to replace my tools and researched the same question. I read a lot of reviews, and found the best value in a new chisel set to be the Stanley 16-793. You won't beat the price on Amazon. I bought them and find them to be good steel, well-balanced, and good feeling in the hand.

https://www.amazon.com/Stanley-16-79...gateway&sr=8-3

That said, I continue to hunt on Ebay for good old American and Sheffield chisels, especially long and thin paring chisels. There are many good brands. Avoid anything with a plastic handle, or that looks like it was beaten on, or has more than a very few, very small spots of pitting. The old carbon steel is best, and can usually be recognized by the grey patina or tarnish it gets. There have been no improvements in the past 60 years or so in the ability of steel to take an edge. Actually, most of the "improvements" in steel over that time are in tarnish resistance (purely cosmetic--they stay shinier) and the duration of edge retention. But the thing is, the steels that can hold their edge longer because they have greater toughness do not sharpen as easily or to as fine an edge.

You may find that on a certain guitar maker forum there are a few very vocal members who insist that only high end boutique brands such as Blue Spruce and Lie-Nielsen will do. Not so, although those are fine tools. Among contemporary makers, I like Crown and Henry Taylor (both English). Crown are priced better. Two Cherries (Germany) is also very good.
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Last edited by Howard Klepper; 03-09-2019 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 03-09-2019, 02:48 PM
redir redir is offline
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When I saw the title of this tread I was gonna recommend the Sweethearts too. Pro quality chisel set at every day prices, best bang for the buck and so on. I mostly have Marples, a nice Blue Spruce pairing chisel and some Two Cherry ones.
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Old 03-09-2019, 02:49 PM
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BT55 BT55 is offline
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Default Preferred set of chisels

I was looking for a good set of chisels and started my research. The first thing I learned was that brand new chisels need to be properly sharpened before use. I was surprised until I saw the prep work being done and how much good quality chisels could be improved. After reading a ton of reviews I ended up ordering a reasonably priced Stanley Bailey Set. I also ordered sharpening stones, angle jig, leather belt and sharpening compound. Following my YouTube sharpening research I prepped the chisels. They are Awesome! IMHO I could have paid double or triple for “better” chisels but a good quality properly prepped chisel works for me.
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Old 03-09-2019, 03:29 PM
Simon Fay Simon Fay is offline
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Without question, the best chisels are the Lee Valley Veritas PM-V11 bench chisels.
http://www.leevalley.com/en/Wood/pag...47&cat=1,41504

The steel is equal to some of the best Japanese handmade chisels at a fraction of the cost. Easy to sharpen and hold an edge very, very well.

You don't need a whole set. More important than the chisels is the ability to sharpen. You want your tools to be razor sharp all the time.
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Old 03-09-2019, 04:47 PM
Carey Carey is offline
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I like the E.A. Berg chisels from Eskilstuna, Sweden. No longer made, but
not expensive or hard to find, e.g. on eBay. Very good carbon steel, well formed, with a good balance of hardness and toughness.
The ones with wooden handles, made before 1950
(I think), are my favorites.

Last edited by Carey; 03-09-2019 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 03-09-2019, 05:42 PM
mirwa mirwa is offline
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I have a set of stanley baileys and like them a lot and various other chisels from ohter manufacturers from over the years
Steve
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Old 03-09-2019, 06:48 PM
guitarxan guitarxan is offline
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Wow folks thanks for all the great suggestions. What I have learned is sharpening and dressing is as important as the tool itself. The adventure continues!!!
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Old 03-09-2019, 06:58 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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The Veritas chisels are nice, though I can't justify another set of chisels.

My favourite love/hate relationship with chisels is my set of Lewis Music/Luthier's Mercantile. I've never tried a better chisel, and I've tried many. I bought the entire set, as I could afford them, over about a 10-year period starting nearly 40 years ago. Wonderful hardness/toughness and they get and stay really sharp but, out of the box, though there was nothing flat, straight or square about them. They were hand forged and a real pain to initially get flat, straight and square, and it still haunts me when I sharpen them, since they are tapered in thickness and don't have parallel sides. (Hand-held sharpening is what works best on them: standard jigs don't work all that well.) They made them is a set of 14 sizes from 1 mm wide to about 2" wide. The small sizes are great for small/narrow jobs, such as bridge saddle slots.

Looking at what is now available, I see that they are available in fewer sizes and they appear to be properly machined: https://www.lmii.com/47-chisels-gouges. I can't attest to the quality of the steel of the new ones.

Lie-Nielson chisels are also very good. Blue cherry are good, as are many other's in these price ranges. In these price ranges, most of the brands come out of the box needing only minimal fettling before use. Less expensive brands can also be more than adequate but often require more fettling prior to use: more along the lines of a "kit" than a ready to roll chisel. Ditto for many hand planes.


As Simon points out, one needs to be able to sharpen well whatever chisels one buys. To do so, they need to well fettled - flat backs, square cutting edges, well-defined cutting bevels. If the backs aren't flat, for example, you'll never get them really sharp, regardless of the quality/hardness of the steel.
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Old 03-09-2019, 07:17 PM
redir redir is offline
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On the topic of sharpening, I remember the first chisel I ever bought was a 1in Marples Blue handle chisel. I think this was in about 1990. Anyway I bought it from a really nice hardwood dealer in my city and the guy I bought it from said, "here let me show you how to sharpen it..." He sharpened it on various stones by hand and then stropped it on leather.

I've gotten pretty good at sharpening over the years, certainly good enough, but I don't think to this day I ever was able to match that. I just remember that thing cutting like butter. Each stroke had a 'tone' to it. I could hear what it was doing.

I think sharpening is like finishing and I am mediocre but good enough at both to get by. But some people have mastered it and it's truly a wonderful thing to behold.
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Old 03-09-2019, 08:19 PM
ruby50 ruby50 is offline
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Without question, the modern steel is not any better than vintage steel. There are so many great names to look for - Eskiltuna by Berg has already been mentioned, but Buck (both Charles and the Brothers), Witherby, Mix, D R Barton, Stanley, Marples - the list is endless with my favorite being James Swan. And remember, Craftsman never made any tools, but bought from quality people. Their planes were either made by Stanley, Sargent, or Millers Falls. Stanley made most of the clear plastic handles carpenters chisels. I have some Craftsmans (Craftsmen??) made by Witherby and nickel plated.

So pick up a few vintage ones at $10 and give them a chance. I know a lot of guys like to have matching sets - you can find them as vintage too. Check these:

https://www.jimbodetools.com/product...den-case-83248

and here is a winner:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Buc...4AAOSwCXRcfIYz

The one on the left is pre World War One and both are great steel. The 2 sizes that you "need" and $15 with less than a day to go.

I have 10 1/2" chisels that I just prepared for a ukulele building class my daughter put on for girls 10-13 years old - they are all for sale.

It's raining (vintage) chisels

Ed
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Old 03-09-2019, 08:56 PM
mirwa mirwa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redir View Post
I think sharpening is like finishing and I am mediocre but good enough at both to get by. But some people have mastered it and it's truly a wonderful thing to behold.
You are correct, i set up a sharpening business within my repair business, so sharpen other peoples chisels, router bits, scissors, drill bits etc

Steve
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Last edited by mirwa; 03-09-2019 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 03-10-2019, 07:12 AM
ruby50 ruby50 is offline
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Steve

do you sharpen handsaws?

Ed
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Old 03-10-2019, 07:42 AM
mirwa mirwa is offline
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Yes, what do you need to know, many saw types, im assuming your enquiring re a push or pull saw, cross cut saws are pretty easy to do.
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Last edited by mirwa; 03-10-2019 at 07:55 AM.
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