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ike

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I joined the forum not long ago. I have all (most) of the power tools I'll ever find useful, but I still don't have that many handtools. I'm beginning to feel I might get even more enjoyment from handworking some of the things I efficiently bang out using the machinery at present. Plus my younger son (eight) is interested in making 'stuff' with Dad and with holidays looming...

Methinks perhaps I should consider investing in some better quality basic handtools e.g. saw, chisel, plane to enjoy, but also that my son(s) can learn to use in time (and one day inherit).

My question is (and I have looked in some of the dustier corners of the forum), particularly, what chisels are best? My guess is that they should have steel that holds a good edge for a long time. I know Japanese chisels are laminated etc, etc, but you have to be careful and not lever with them so I'm not sure they would be the best thing to go for. And another thing, when and how useful are butt chisels compared to normal bevel edge chisels as I have never worked with one? There's alot of choice and I expect much of it is pretty good, but if I want good quality at less than stellar prices - well I'm starting to feel lost. N.b Planes are well covered as I have been reading with interest on this forum.

I at present get by most jobs with a set of 4 Footprint chisels (the 3/4" chisel holds an edge much better than the 1" from the same set), Stanley No.5, Stanley 220 and Clifton 3110 planes. I'm keen that my younger son in particular, will really get sparked off with woodwork, with the help of tools also suitable for smaller hands and jelly bar arms!

Your thoughts and opinions would be most welcome.

Ike
 
A

Anonymous

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Hi Ike

Many more informed people will air their views shortly no doubt.

The new Lie Neilsens chisels are probably the best but a little expensive.

Japanese chisels are superb and you will not break them - especially if you have a few old cheapies around for 'rough' stuff including levering.

I have a set of Two Cherries chisels and absolutely love them to bits. Fantastic, superb, hard and strong. You would not be disapointed.

I also have a couple of Crown paring chisels (Axminster) which are my favouritse. No hammers but lot's of enjoyment :)

Watch out, here come the others.........
 

ike

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Tony wrote;

I have a set of Two Cherries chisels
Is that "Kirschen 1002' or '1101's ? I was maybe thinking buying individual rather than a set where I mightn't use some of them.
 

SimonA

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Ike.....I have the Ashley Iles chisels and they are great......very well build, with a edge holding ability and not that badly priced. They get very good reviews all round from most of the mags. You can also get butt chisels and corner chisels.

http://www.classichandtools.com/acatalo ... isels.html

Have a look at Mikes site for more info.

SimonA
 

Alf

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Ike,

I've come to the conclusion there simply is no definitive answer to this. In the end it all boils down to which ones you like and feel comfortable with.

For instance, Tony likes his Kirschens, but I've been put off them by tales of rounded backs caused when they create that polished finish. He also likes his Crowns, yet everything I've heard about them says Crown are a make to steer clear of. Is he wrong? No. But he may be lucky. I'm increasingly coming to the conclusion that buying new chisels is just as hit and miss an affair as buying old. No two chisels that are supposed to be the same actually seem to be the same at all. Your own experience with the Footprints bears this out. Unless you start paying the big money and look at the likes of the L-Ns. (Wish I could do more than just look... :roll: ) Now the Ashley Iles have had a rave reception across the Pond, but when I tried the handles of their regular bench chisels at the Yandles Show earlier in the year, they were way too bulky for me. But surprise, Simon loves 'em. A lot of people will tell you Sorby have gone to the dogs, but they'll still be some lucky few who have good'uns and wonder what the problem is. The only consistantly well spoken of chisels seem to be the Japanese ones, but then there's the brittle edge issue. I worried about that myself, but so far it's not been a problem (where's that oak tree to grasp when I say that? :shock: ).

For myself, I don't think I've totally solved my chisel wants yet. So far the cheapo Japanese ones from Tilgear have come closest, but I'm not entirely comfortable with the hollow backs. The Ashley Iles American Pattern Butt chisels are tempting (mainly because the Jap ones have shown me how useful a shorter style chisel can be), but I've yet to see one in the flesh. If I could justify it, and believe me I'm trying, and despite the negative attitudes there seem to be towards them from some posters elsewhere, I'd be investing in the L-Ns and figuring I'd get 40? 50? years use out of them and they'd still be something to pass on. But 5 years ago they would have been wasted on me, and I'd have been as likely to trash them accidentally as not.

I suppose that's just a long way round to say; try a few if you can, don't assume your chisel needs now are going to be the same in a few years and when it comes to buying them "do you feel lucky?" :wink:

Cheers, Alf
 

Gill

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I bought 3 chisels at a car boot sale for £1 back in the 80's. No brand name other than "Made in China" :) .

I've tuned them up and whilst they may not be quite so long as they once were, they're still serving me well. I've toyed with the idea of replacing them but finally decided I didn't need to. I suppose some people would feel a stigma in having such tools around; I don't.

Yours

Gill
 

Alf

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GillD":b9txnqog said:
I suppose some people would feel a stigma in having such tools around; I don't.
I wouldn't say "stigma"; blisters maybe... :wink:

Cheers, Alf

P.S. Nice to see you around again, Gill. We were beginning to worry that the bunker had a time lock. :lol:
 

ike

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Gill wrote;

I suppose some people would feel a stigma in having such tools around; I don't.
I hope you weren't suggesting I am snobbish over tools. My post was in essence 'what chisels seem best for holding their edge'. I appreciate quality like most people do. If I can afford them, I will buy them - simple as that.

Ike
 
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Alf":1h8lglez said:
Ike,

For instance, Tony likes his Kirschens, but I've been put off them by tales of rounded backs caused when they create that polished finish. He also likes his Crowns, yet everything I've heard about them says Crown are a make to steer clear of.
Cheers, Alf
Ike and Alf

The slight radius mentioned above is blown out of all proportion. Whilst there is a VERY slight radius on rear edges, this was removed in 10 minutes of back flattening on a waterstone.
However, (as always it seems) I disagree with DC that this the rounding has any real impact on performance - see his recent LN article. I do make lots of furniture and hate spending loads of time 'tuning tools' or, come to that sharpening them. I do not (cannot) make chipendale class furniture and am working with wood after all (not sure what DC cuts with his chisels + planes that requires accuracies of 1 thousandth of an inch) which is fibrous and moves with changes in temp. + humidity.

I would say the radius of the rounded edge is roughly 0.1 -0.2mm. When would this matter in wood? Dovetails? These are general purpose chisels, not Dovetail chisels. A pointless question anyhow as the 10 minutes has removed the radius.

Alf
Interested to find out why people advise avoiding the Crown chisels? I have not seen any warnings (this is really the only woodworking site I visit as I prefer making to surfing) and do, as you say, appear to be lucky in that they are flat and the steel is very hard - seems to be harder than the two-cherries! I use the Crown 3/4" nearly every time I'm in the workshop!

Cheers

Tony
 

Alf

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Tony,

Seems to be a problem with poor steel quality. I was surprised at first too, 'cos the best marking knife I ever had was a Crown, and it took, and held, a wicked edge. However, the replacement I got is a piece of poo. So I suppose the main complaint about isn't so much the steel quality, as the consistancy of the steel quality. Sounds like you were lucky. :wink: There's quite an interesting thread here, if you don't mind surfing elsewhere just for a moment. :lol:

Cheers, Alf
 
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Alf":3jkdgjj0 said:
Tony,

if you don't mind surfing elsewhere just for a moment. :lol:

Cheers, Alf
Ohh go on then, since it's you :wink:

Cheers
T

Who would like 36 hour days :)
 

Philly

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Tony,
I'm starting to worry about you-"I don't like spending time tuning or sharpening my tools" (Or something alone those lines...)
You actually use your tools to make things? I thought the whole idea was just to buy tools, tune tools, build cabinets for tools, repeat...... :lol:

Joking aside, I agree that actually making stuff is the goal here. Although, as time goes by I find it's running 50/50 on making stuff/tune-ups, re-arranging the shop, buying new tools, etc.
David Charlesworth does take tuning to a high level but it is good to know that people are out there trying new things, pushing it to the limit and trying to understand how to extract the best from tools (even, why they work/don't work). When I read David's articles I strive to improve my standards of work (and tool prep!! :lol: ) and I feel that is important-after all, you don't want to be producing work of the "Changing Rooms" standard!
best regards,
Philly :D
 
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Yeah Philly

I don't mean to be disrespectful to DC (I have both his books and love them) or anyone else, just that I don't feel the need to go to these lengths.

Embarrased to say that in earlier years of woodworking I spent 3 days tuning a Stanley plane to DCs standards :oops: :oops:

I think it is a law of diminishing returns (exponential too) - first 'x' minutes gives huge improvement in performance and each subequent minute gives less and less improvement............
It is up to the individual to decide when the trade off's are balanced and when making furniture is more important than trying to get a little extra from tools

Also, do we really need the 'best ' tools? I know 3 professional woodworkers, one a cabinet maker, one makes solid hardwood bar furniture and the third is a first/second fit chippy. They all use standard Stanley etc. planes/chisels and an oil stone with 3-in-1 oil. None of heard of DC and none have the time nor inclination to go to the lengths he prescribes.
My LNs etc. do not make furniture of the quality their untuned Stanley's do :( :cry:

Cheers

Tony
 

dedee

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I can vouch for the Ashley Isles. I have four of them now and I find the bulk of the standard handles to my liking. The handles appear to add weight and offer a large target for the mallet!

The have coped very with birch ply dovetail cutting.

The only chisels I can compare them with are a set of old Footprint (blank and yellow handles) which definitely do not hold there edge as long as the Isles do.


AndyP
 

Philly

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Hi Tony,
His Highness Norm manages to knock out some super projects from his shop-he is not a "hand tool" afficianado, indeed the New Yankee Workshop was set up to show how to make projects using power tools.
Most (if not all) jobbing chippy's use B+Q tools-not Lie-Nielsens, etc. The Fine tools the Hand Tool lovers on this site are purchasing and (hopefully) using are for making fine furniture and cabinet-making of the highest standard. These are not needed for DIY work. You can use a belt sander much easier than a hand plane.
David Charlesworth's books are on tuning everyday hand tools to get the performance that a craftsman needs to work to a high standard. You can also buy off the shelf tools that will operate at this level. But these are for specialized use. Most tradesmen don't use/need them. Furniture makers, yes! (And I'm sure the furniture maker you know doesn't just use a bog standard new Stanley :shock: ) And if he does, lend him your L-N's for a day! :lol:
When it comes down to it-tools are a means to an end. (unless you're a collector :roll: )
best regards,
Philly :D
 

Alf

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Philly":22gqej4z said:
When it comes down to it-tools are a means to an end.
Woe betide you if your "end" is taking pleasure in using good tools, well tuned, 'cos there's always someone who'll helpfully point out that "you don't need that to do the job, I know X number of professionals who can do it with one hand, blindfolded, using a teaspoon". :roll: Usually in a condescending manner too (no, not you Tony, but others have in the past.)

If you're woodworking for pleasure, and the best tools increase the amount of pleasure you get from it, then yes, you need the best tools. If you're doing it for profit, you need the tools that'll do it in the least time-consuming and painless way. Sometimes that works out as the same tools, sometimes not. Generally it'll vary from woodworker to woodworker anyway, so why bother debating it?

Cheers, Alf
 
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Also, do we really need the 'best ' tools? I know 3 professional woodworkers, one a cabinet maker, one makes solid hardwood bar furniture and the third is a first/second fit chippy. They all use standard Stanley etc. planes/chisels and an oil stone with 3-in-1 oil. None of heard of DC and none have the time nor inclination to go to the lengths he prescribes.
My LNs etc. do not make furniture of the quality their untuned Stanley's do
Tony,

I wholeheartedly agree!
Owning a Rolls Royce doesn't automatically make you a good driver :D
By the same token, judging by the planes I am looking at at the moment, anyone coming into the trade will be at the mercy of poorer quality handtools than the ones I bought as an apprentice. If I was in the same position today, I would with out doubt be looking for an older model.
That said, even old tools aren't necessarily better, I own quite a few box and ash handled chisels, bevelled, firmer and paring, and some of them, having been barely near stone from the day they were forged are pretty dreadful when it comes to flattening the backs, and the edge holding quality of the steel is of little difference to that of a set of Marples Blue Chips that i've used day in day out throughout my career.
What is disheartening is that the world reknowned Sheffield steel industry, mass producing hand tools for trade and professional use has all but packed up or has had to lower its standards so much to stay in business against the cheaper imports.
A very sad sign of the times I'm afraid :(

Andy
 

Alf

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andy king":1wr2nibl said:
Owning a Rolls Royce doesn't automatically make you a good driver :D
On the other hand, you can probably afford to employ a good driver... :lol:

Cheers, Alf
 
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