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Mid range/budget chisels

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Picalilli

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The only Marples I have are ancient mortice chisels with wooden handles that I've picked up from here and there over the years. I have no complaints with those either. I've never heard a bad thing about Marples so I imagine they must be good. As for the bid, I would just watch until near the end of the auction and as with any auction, have the maximum bid in your head and if they have not gone passed that maximum place your whole maximum bid with seconds to go. It will still only sell at the next bidding price and not necessarily you max bid. Forgive me if I'm teaching you how to suck eggs.
No that’s okay - I know what you mean. I guess what I’m wondering though is how much my max bid should be. For example, a new set of the marples is £50 for 4, so I assume I shouldn’t pay much more than that for these ones...unless the steel quality is just far superior in these used Stanley’s and worth paying for. I’ve been looking at the marples second hand and the old sets seem to be going for a lot too, so assume the old ones must be better quality steel?
 

Picalilli

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i have bought loads of the yellow/red handld marples chisel at car boots. dont think i have paid more than a pound each!
I’d like to get to a car boot sale or flea market but they’ve all been off for lockdown. Guess the car boot sales might be back on after next week though?
 

eribaMotters

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I'd go vintage blue chip Stanley or Kirschen. Like others I've been using a set of Stanley for a long time. Bought new in 1979 they are a nice solid chisel with a good feel to them and cut well. I bought a set of Kirschen to try out at school where I taught and was so impressed I bought 40 sets for the workshops. The handle finish is poor [strip the ugly shiny varnish off] but the steel is wonderful and holds a keen edge, even with teenagers use.

Colin
 

silentsam

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No that’s okay - I know what you mean. I guess what I’m wondering though is how much my max bid should be. For example, a new set of the marples is £50 for 4, so I assume I shouldn’t pay much more than that for these ones...unless the steel quality is just far superior in these used Stanley’s and worth paying for. I’ve been looking at the marples second hand and the old sets seem to be going for a lot too, so assume the old ones must be better quality steel?
If you buy some branded used ones on ebay (especially if they need a bit of a clean up and sharpening) and use them for 6 months... or 3 years until you either buy something higher end or pick up some at a car boot you should usually be able to resell them for the same price you paid. If you keep them for a few years and clean them up you should actually be able to make a few pounds so it almost works out free anyway.
 

silentsam

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There is also the option to buy something like the Stanley Sweetheart chisels:


Two used sets sold recently on ebay, one for £67 and the other for £100. Both used. These have "the look" and the reviews seem consistently good. If you sold them in the future you'd probably get most of your money back so if you want something you could just buy, quickly sharpen and use this would be a good investment.
 

Hino

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Hi all,
Looking for some advice on some chisels to get started with as beginner. Not wanting to spend crazy money but don’t mind up to £100 for a set or maybe £50 or so for a couple of good ones separate (seen some advise just buying a couple to begin rather than a whole set)

anyone used the Axminster rider chisels? Is it the case that they’re made by Narex? I’ve been considering one of the narex sets of 4.
I’ve thought about maybe getting the marples red and yellow handled ones too.

the kirchen chisels Axminster sell seem reasonably mid-range price too. Had a search on the site for threads on this but theres surprisingly few of them (loads on sharpening them though!)

been keeping an eye out for the lidl/aldi ones that Paul sellers seems to love but not sure if they still do them anymore.
I was recommended Ashley Iles bevelled Mk II and have started building a collection. They are excellent chisels for cabinet making. The backs don’t take much flattening to get a mirror finish.
I buy the odd vintage Marples on eBay too. But they tend to go for high prices.
 

D_W

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There is also the option to buy something like the Stanley Sweetheart chisels:


Two used sets sold recently on ebay, one for £67 and the other for £100. Both used. These have "the look" and the reviews seem consistently good. If you sold them in the future you'd probably get most of your money back so if you want something you could just buy, quickly sharpen and use this would be a good investment.
i don't know how good those are, but they're the first chisels that I've seen made of steel that meets our 52100 spec in the US. That's normally used for bearing surfaces here (and ball bearings) and by the knife community.

It's too bad stanley didn't make them as a tang type with a decent handle style.
 

Spectric

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From experience you need a decent chisel, I used cheap chisels for a while and lost incentive using them because they just were hard work. I then brought some Ashley Isles bevel edged chisels and realised where my problems had been, these just cut clean and gave me the confidence to learn to use them. I also got hold of a sharpening system called scary sharp which also keeps a good edge on them.
 

Noho12C

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I have a set of Ashley Iles and really like them. Also have a set of Two Cherries (Kirschen) and are very good, despite the handles.
 

shed9

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I'd be erring towards wood handled chisels, easier on the hand and lighter. As others have said, don't discount Narex. They have a good following and have the pedigree in recommendations and parentage.
 

Fergie 307

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I can only add that it's probably worth trying out different handle styles before you make your decision. Difficult with so many places being shut at the moment. You want to find something that is comfortable to use. I have some Marples that are a joy to use, and some footprints where I find the handles are too skinny, surprising what a difference it makes.
 

Picalilli

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I can only add that it's probably worth trying out different handle styles before you make your decision. Difficult with so many places being shut at the moment. You want to find something that is comfortable to use. I have some Marples that are a joy to use, and some footprints where I find the handles are too skinny, surprising what a difference it makes.
That is the shame at the moment. It’s why I’m curious about the Axminster ones as I think if I go down they’ll probably let me have a look at a couple before I buy, but they don’t do marples or narex, just the rider ones and kirchen.
 

Picalilli

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Thanks everyone for the good advice. Think the main issue I have right now is not being able to go anywhere and actually see them before I buy (plus loads online are sold out).
 

ey_tony

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If I didn't already have an original full set of Marples non-split yellow and red handled chisels bought in the 1960s as well as a green handled set bought for slightly rougher work then if looking for a new set I'd be tempted to buy a set of 6 yellow and red handled Irwin Marples chisels which are available for around £72.00 incl vat.

Marples chisels have served me well and I can only go on my own personal experience. I'm sure there are other brands which are also good but as workhorse chisels go, if kept well honed they will do the job as good as tools from any competing manufacturer.
 

okeydokey

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Depending on what you want to do - consider a very inexpensive set of 5 made by Irwin Marples sold by Toolstation for £29.99 reduced from £44.98 as a first set. I know others will shout but I still think well worth a look.
 

shed9

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I'd be tempted to buy a set of 6 yellow and red handled Irwin Marples chisels which are available for around £72.00 incl vat.
You can usually get the M373's a lot cheaper if you shop around, FFX do them for £55 at the moment and often sell the individual larger chisels as clearance though their Ebay store. I have a set of the M373's and the MS500's in my general toolboxes and whilst they are perfectly good chisels, not sure I would recommend them for joinery.

At the risk of muddying the options further, another contender to consider is Japanese chisels. Workshop Heaven do a good range of Fujikawa sets at several price points. Easier to get going and sharpen (albeit with it's own compromises) and a nice addition to any tool box.
 

Picalilli

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You can usually get the M373's a lot cheaper if you shop around, FFX do them for £55 at the moment and often sell the individual larger chisels as clearance though their Ebay store. I have a set of the M373's and the MS500's in my general toolboxes and whilst they are perfectly good chisels, not sure I would recommend them for joinery.

At the risk of muddying the options further, another contender to consider is Japanese chisels. Workshop Heaven do a good range of Fujikawa sets at several price points. Easier to get going and sharpen (albeit with it's own compromises) and a nice addition to any tool box.
The Japanese chisels look really nice and are interesting, but I’m thinking as a beginner maybe best to start with traditional...they do look nice though. Aren’t they harder to sharpen though as steel is harder?
 

Nigel Burden

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Don't dismiss makers like Mathieson, Ward, and Stormont.

I don't possess a named set, more a hotch potch of different makes. including the ones mentioned above, but they're all good. I also have some Stanley 5001s and they're fine. Any poor buys get ground straight across the cutting edge to make scrapers, very useful when you want to remove a miniscule amount.

Nigel.
 

simoncmason

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Another vote for the Stanley 5001 chisels. I have my Grandad's, bought some time in the 1970s, he used them for 30 odd years, they then rested for a few years until I started using them 5 years or so ago, now in daily use along with a couple of Marples split proofs - also excellent, some big French Arno framing chisels - great but a bit expensive and a few other odds and ends picked up at car boots.

Chisels are simple tools, the steel matters, the balance matters, and the comfort of the handle matters. That's it. You will get top quality steel with old Stanley or Marples for next to no money. You'll only know about the balance and comfort by using them for a while. If you don't like the handles you can resell second hand chisels at no loss when you find a handle you prefer or make your own.

When it comes down to it only the sharpness of the edge really matters, so if you aren't already set up, I'd suggest spending less on the chisels and more on a couple of good - DMT or Easilap - diamond plates to keep them sharp. I'd always choose cheap chisels and expensive sharpening stones.

Happy hunting.
 
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