Hello all, just wanted to drop in a quick note to reinforce PS’s recommendation for Narex brand bevel edge chisels, and a plug for Lee Valley customer service. I was ordering the hardware for the two clocks I’m making via the class, and decided to order a few of these chisels to supplement the 2 E.A. Berg’s (1/2″ thin beveled paring chisel and a 1 1/2″) I inherited from my grandfather and get the plastic handled home center chisels out of my chisel rack 🙂 I placed an order for a 3/8″, 3/4″, and 1″. When the box came today I opened it to find the ordered 3/4″ and 1″, but with a 1/4″ instead of the 3/8″. A quick call to Lee Valley resulted in a 3/8ths being sent out, and the 1/4″ mine to keep. Not surprising, since what Lee Valley’s cost for these is probably much less than return postage would be, but still a nice gesture, and one more plastic handled chisel shaped object out of the rack 🙂
Haven’t had time to do much, but with a few minutes to spare after opening the package and calling Lee Valley, I decided to start flattening the 3/4″. Thinking only to make a good start on flattening the back and finish the job later, much to my surprise I was able to run through the course, fine, and superfine EZE lap plates on the back in less time than it took me to find my package of wet/dry sandpaper and clean residual adhesive off my granite flattening tile. From walking into the shop to the first test paring cut was less than 20 minutes including the rummaging for sandpaper, cleaning the tile, and letting the spray glue set for the new pieces of wet/dry (took longer than usual, the shop is about 45 degrees F today, no fire built for such a short time)
I don’t know if the others will be as flat, but for the $11.90 US I paid for the 3/4″ chisel, I couldn’t be more pleased. Now to see how long the edge lasts.
Washington State, USA
My own humble blog:
At an other forum there has been discussion about the Narex (8105 model) chisels and consensus was that they’re good bang/buck.
I don’t know if they still practice it, but a shopkeeper here in Finland was in contact with Narex and found out that the initial bevel is achieved with a sandbelt machine. So the sharpest point has likely overheated and will not stay sharp long. The fix has been to sharpen them initially to lower angle (30deg?) which effectively removes the part that won’t stay sharp. He says that after his customers do this there was no more complaints.
I have only one other chisel (Sorsakoski 🙂 and don’t use that much so can’t tell anything else but that they seem to work well, especially when just sharpened. Their backs were mostly easily flattened too, only the widest (40mm) gave me any trouble. I maybe should sand the backs edge a tiniest bit, it cuts skin when used for paring.
Stupid is like stupid does, even here in rural Finland.
I did notice when initial sharpening the burr was pretty pronounced in width, which leads me to believe you are correct that the leading edge is softer than it should be, but I’ve come to expect this from lower end chisels in the beginning, no idea if it’s the same for high end chisels. It did take a fairly good edge for the quick sharpening I gave it, I’ll be using it more tonight so we’ll see if that happens with the next sharpening. I tend to sharpen quickly but often so I suspect I’ll know within a few days if the steel changes hardness as I move away from the initial edge.
Washington State, USA
My own humble blog:
http://toolsofourfathers.wordpress.com/Anonymous27 November 2012 at 11:36 pm #3915
I have a few Narex chisels, the initial edge dose tend to be soft, but once past that you get in to the good suff. I find I can get them really sharp, and they hold there edge very well
We have had nothing but success with Narex and now that we’ve used them for a year we do feel we can endorse them as reliable, edge-retaining chisels that sharpen well and give excellent results. I am in the middle of testing out the Robert Sorby range right now and the results will be out in the new year. I have used their chisels for about 18 years, the ones I personally have are the London-pattern hexagonal handle made from boxwood and these have been just excellent chisels. i am testing out three doifferent styles from their range and will be posting the results on the paulsellers.com blog.
Also, I just did a post on my blog on the blue handled Faithfull line of plastic handled chisels. These sell only in the UK and look identical to the old (not the new Irwin Marples) Marples bluechip. As yet I have found no difference between the two makes.Anonymous28 November 2012 at 12:57 pm #3931
Thin, light, beautifully balanced with fine sides and correctly flat backs, Ashley Iles Mk2 bevel edged cabinetmakers’ chisels are truly in a class of their own.
These chisels have been designed and optimised for paring work, although a bit of gentle tapping with a mallet will do them no harm at all.
Forged from O1 high carbon tool steel, the blades are individually hand ground by our team of highly experienced grinders who work without the aid of jigs or fixtures. The blades are accurately heat treated to RC60-61 right through to the shoulder to ensure a long working life.
The backs of the blades are intentionally lapped a couple of thou hollow in the length so that the underside of the cutting edge can be polished in isolation. The degree of concavity is small enough not to affect the accuracy of the tool and should be maintained throughout its life.
The handles are turned from Bubinga in two sizes to give the proper feel and balance throughout the range of 11 sizes.
Like all Ashley Iles tools, the Mk2 bevel edged cabinetmakers’ chisels are unconditionally guaranteed for the duration of the purchaser’s life.
Forged from Sheffield O1 High-Carbon Steel
Hardened to RC60-61
I have these and find all of the above very true buddy. Sorry guys I’m off topic 🙂Anonymous28 November 2012 at 2:30 pm #3956
Welcome buddy 🙂
Highland Woodworking in Atlanta (www.highlandwoodworking.com) offers 2 different versions of Narex chisels. Two options are a 6-piece set for $59.99 as well as 6-piece set of “premium” chisels for $129.99. Interestingly, both of these versions, in the handles at least, appear different than the version available at Lee Valley. Anyone have any thoughts on these options? Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.
I did look at those, but the deciding factor for me was that Lee Valley offered a true imperial set (measured in inches/fractions thereof) whereas all the other Narex chisels I’m aware of are metric and the inch conversions listed are nominal, not exact. I’ve chosen to run an imperial shop and didn’t want to mess with conversions and the opportunities for error they pose. Apparently Lee Valley had these made specifically for them, hence why they aren’t available anywhere else.
Washington State, USA
My own humble blog:
I have the cheaper set that Highland Woodworking sells, the metric set. I really like them. They were very easy to get flattened on the back and sharpened. I have primarily used the 6mm and 10mm ones for mortise chopping and have had no issues. I run them over the strop 30 times when I’m done and have not yet had to resharpen them. I’ve used the 26mm one for some paring as well.
I received the Narex premium chisels from Highland Hardware for Christmas. They are wonderful. Paul had mentioned the handles are more like a rasp handle, which he didn’t like. I have big hands and find smaller diameter handles on tools uncomfortable so I am very pleased with this set. Metric in Canada is not the end of the world. There is always a solution without buying more tools, but don’t tell my wife.
I got the Narex premium set from Highland as well. Their customer service was excellent, but I never had a problem so I can’t tell how they would resolve it. 🙂
Narex does seem to produce their tools to different specifications depending on the vendor and I read a comment somewhere that Lee Valley’s specifications are very high for the chisels they order. I haven’t flattened all of mine yet, but the ones I have went very quickly as dmr400 mentioned above. So I don’t know if Highland’s specs are any lower but they seem very good.
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