Advice on buying first set of Chisels (Gouges, staight, V, etc)?

Discuss hand tools here, its quieter and less dusty than the other sections.
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Advice on buying first set of Chisels (Gouges, staight, V, etc)?

Post by royal90 »


I am new to wood-working and construction in general. So I'm quite naive and ignorant to industry.

I actually want to do a bit of wood work as a hobby, and particularly like 'wood carving' (relief carving, maybe a bit of furniture making).

My question revolves around advice to do with hand tools. What brand of chisels would you recommend for wood carving?

I have heard that Pfeil (Swiss made) is a good brand, and narex (potentially)?

I don't want to be a cheapsake and pay peanuts, but I don't want to pay way too much.

I've seen a set of 4-5 for £50 for Pfeil, do you think its worth the investment?

Any suggestions?

Cheers guys.

(PS I'm also open to any recommendations for power tools, sanders, saws, and other things. I am thinking of buying a Dremel hand (multi tool) for sanding, and cutting.
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Re: Advice on buying first set of Chisels (Gouges, staight, V, etc)?

Post by Jenks »

I use Irwin-marples (red and yellow) splitproof chisels for 99% of the woodworking I do, and a real mix of original marples, narex, and kirschen for carving and chopping out mortices etc.
Just buy whatever you come across in builders merchants, car boots and autojumbles etc. As long as you keep them clean and sharp you’ll get the results you require.
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Re: Advice on buying first set of Chisels (Gouges, staight, V, etc)?

Post by Meccarroll »

I have been using hand tools for over 44 years professionally and used to buy Stanley Black Handle Chisels (New).

The chisels that I have found to be reasonable at holding an edge and that don't cost a fortune are: Marples Chisels with Yellow handles (red streak in them) are quite good, also Stanley Chisels with Black handles are ok too.

Now I buy second hand chisels from car boot sales mainly Marples or Stanley if I can find them but if the steel looks good I'm not too fussy because if they are cheap enough and end up being no good for woodwork I use then as paint scrapers etc.

Mostly the steel on a good chisel will have a more polished look about it. You can generally tell a good chisel even when old and dulled because the metal will still have a shine about it.

When thinking about buying new chisels hold the chisel in your hand a see how the handle feels because if it's not comfortable or you can't get a decent grip on it you might not have much success when using it. Most decent chisels have a well designed handle that lets you grip it easily.

cheap chisels, like cheap paint brushes, both tend to make it almost impossible to do a decent job.

I have a couple of chisels that I prise more than the rest and one is a 1" 1/8" wide Chisel that is long and a 1" 1/2" Chisel that I use for door hinges.

Some of the old wood handle chisels I have bought from car boot sales have turned out to be excellent for indoor shop use.

When my planer blades become too small for use in my planer machine I grind them into shape and make them into hand chisels. They hold a really sharp edge for a long time.

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Re: Advice on buying first set of Chisels (Gouges, staight, V, etc)?

Post by woodsmith »

Being able to sharpen them is probably the most important aspect of using hand tools. Diamonds stones are very good and not too expensive but there is quite a skill in using them.
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