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Aldi Supermarket Chisels are Here Again

Aldi’s four-chisel sets are out today

[lightbox link="https://paulsellers.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2013/10/DSC_0051.jpg" thumb="https://paulsellers.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2013/10/DSC_0051.jpg" width="0" align="left" title="DSC_0051" frame="true" icon="image"]I was shocked four years ago when I first picked up and fettled a set of four bevel-edged chisels from the supermarket chain Aldi. So good were their Aldi- brand Workzone chisels that we equipped the school with a set and we’ve been using them ever since.
Hardwood handles
These ash-handled chisels are fully shaped and very comfortable in the hand. The handles hold up to the mallet and chisel hammers we use at the school and though they have steel ferrules top and bottom that I don’t like, they do work and work well. None of the thirty or so sets we’ve used has ever bent in mortise chopping or under heavy blows and not one of them has ever broken either. I can’t say that for some of the chisels with a ‘better’ reputation, but then many if not most of them are made in China too. When I first picked the Aldi chisel up those few years ago I was surprised how well balanced they felt in my hand and one thing I have not found to beat them pound for pound and dollar for dollar is the price. At £7.95, £2 per chisel, these are the best value chisel on the market. If you need a good working chisel, this could be exactly what you need. They are not particularly pretty chisels, they beat the socks of some of the higher-end and better known chisels for edge retention and hardness. Some British makers crumple or fracture in the first few minutes of use. These don’t.Even if you bought them as a second set, you’d more than likely pick them up over your first. I have used them for fine chisel work such as paring and cutting dovetails and tenons and then for chopping mortises and just about everything else needing chisel work in the woodshop.
Buy your set today
[lightbox link="https://paulsellers.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2013/10/DSC_0052_1.jpg" thumb="https://paulsellers.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2013/10/DSC_0052_1.jpg" width="0" align="left" title="DSC_0052_1" frame="true" icon="image"]Today the Aldi chisels made their annual return to the supermarket shelves and they won’t last long when this blog is pulled up around Britain this morning. I bought several sets as presents and for my demonstrations at the school. Comparing the sets I have bought in the past with other makers, they are comparable for flatness, which generally means you will indeed need to flatten them if they are bellied. Most of the ones I have bought in the past have been slightly hollow and that’s the best way they could be. With a slight hollow you get straight to the cutting edge in seconds and as long as the flatness on the flat face is developed to around 3/4” from the cutting edge the chisel will perform perfectly.
Macro-camber not micro-bevel
[lightbox link="https://paulsellers.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2013/10/DSC_0053.jpg" thumb="https://paulsellers.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2013/10/DSC_0053.jpg" width="0" align="left" title="DSC_0053" frame="true" icon="image"]This tradition continues and so it should. Look at any old chisels from the past and you’ll most likely see that the bevels were indeed cambered and not flat or hollow ground. That doesn’t mean they were not hollow ground periodically, just that once they were reground to correct flaws, they were then cambered in hollowed stones that remained hollowed and were never flattened. Arghh, is this some kind of heresy?!! Not at all. Grinding was done on stone wheels but these wheels were not the rinky-dink wheels with electric motors we know and love today, but any size up to two feet in diameter and often four inches wide passing through a bath of water for cool grinding. Sometimes they were water driven by power transfer from line shafts and others were hand cranked by a farmhand or apprentice. Subsequent to grinding they were further honed and sharpened on 2″ wide whetstones that were mostly natural stones. These stones hollowed and that is what gave them the ability to create their perfect and natural macro camber. The method was and is fast and effective. No more than a minute to sharpen a 1″ chisel. The system was cutting-edge technology of the day and we for certain should not discard what has proven the most effective method a craftsman at the bench could ever use for maintaining the edge on his competition.

29 comments

  1. Eric Potter says:

    Shot a message to Aldi this morning asking why these aren’t available in their US stores. Would be wonderful to be able to point woodworking-interested family and friends at these as a very inexpensive starter set.

    • Paul Sellers says:

      I spent the afternoon testing them out and filming and these chisels should in no way be considered inferior. Perhaps they couldn’t supply North America because of the volume.

    • Steve Massie says:

      That would be great, I would buy a set or two for sure, we have an Aldi’s where we live and shop there all the time. Great food at great price’s, grant it it is a no frill’s supermarket and you have to supply your own bags or boxes but who care’s with the cost savings.

      Steve

      • Eric Potter says:

        This is all I’ve gotten back so far:
        *****
        Thank you for your suggestion regarding the Work Zone 4 Piece Wood Chisel Set . We greatly appreciate it.

        We are committed to bringing ALDI
        customers the highest quality products at the lowest possible prices,
        and we consider each suggestion carefully. Your recommendation has been
        forwarded to the ALDI Buying Department for their review. Please note ALDI U.S. is independently managed than ALDI in other countries.
        *****

        • Hello Eric, Hope you and the family are all well. Just a note to thank you for being active in the solution of finding out. They may well discover their tools do work in the US too.
          Since I did the video last week I have used that 1″ chisel on all my work and have yet to sharpen it because of its perfect edge retention. Course that’s no guarantee on every chisel they make, but it has been the case in the 100 plus Aldi chisels I’ve used at the UK school over the past 3-4 years.

          • Eric Potter says:

            Thanks, Paul. We are well. Just trying to get settled in to a new home and get the shop set up. I walked in to my local Aldi the other day and found a pile of items for sale under the WorkZone brand, so it shouldn’t be too difficult. I’ll post updates as I get them.

    • Jeff Brann says:

      This evening I discovered two sets of the ALDI Chisels on sale here in the US on eBay for $5.99 And the shipping was $8.99. Interesting. I am going to bid on a set and try them out. We shall see……..
      Jeff/Memphis, Tn

  2. Yes, but what did the real woodworkers do at the bench. The used a single bevel, cambered and the research I have done on hundreds of chisels and plane irons show that in the field, a single bevel was the bevel of choice.

  3. Jon place says:

    I just got myself a set of these. For anyone wanting them, you may find that they are buried under the sets of files. Also got myself a pack of their ruler/squares. They both came out of the pack dead square. The chisels are a lot like the ones being sold as sets by Rutlands with the same handle shape and a similar weight and balance. The only real different seems to be that the Rutlands sets are very shiney and polished but that’s only a consideration if you want these for display purposes.

    • Big difference in price I suppose. The closest ones in price size for size and shape for shape were £15 a chisel not for four. I thought all of their chisels were pretty pricey compared to other suppliers.

  4. Maverick81 says:

    As a relatively newcomer to woodworking, with a newly renovated workshop and currently doing my Level 2 Bench Joinery at college….I had talked myself into buying a entry-mid level set of chisels. I had pretty much set myself on a set of 6 Narex Chisels from Rutlands for £66. I had actually fallen in love with them a little bit. But then I accidently stumbled across some positive forum comments on Aldi chisels which I took with a pinch of salt to be honest. Your comments however I respect somewhat more seriously. So I need a set of chisels and Aldi have these on sale this week….I saw this as a sign. So I got in my car, drove to Aldi and took a punt on a set of these bad boys…..and got change from a tenner. :o)

    • I don’t think you will regret this purchase. These are good chisels right from the get go. Used ‘em again today. My advice to you and anyone out there is to then go to ebay and buy yourselves some older boxwood handled Marples chisels. The ones with brass ferrules. The are lovely to have and they may cost you a tenner a piece but you’ll fall in love with them for special work.

  5. I missed this one, Caleb. I haven’t in any way found that to be the case. Also, the old Marples blue chip chisels are not the same as the Irwin chisels that pretend to be so. Your “used’ blue chips were Sheffield made and vastly superior to anything Irwin makes today.

  6. Peter Buchin says:

    I, for one, would be willing to purchase two sets of these.
    I’m in Arizona and got the same ‘Thanks for your interest, we’ll consider it’ reply that others have received from Aldi HQ..

    There’s a market here… who’s going to fill it?

  7. ScottV says:

    Sorry to rain on a parade, but someone must be getting pinched here. Chisels for 2 pounds? Is this a loss-leader for Aldi, or are the poor souls who manufacture these items being taken advantage of? Perhaps consumers should as the question…

    • I think we all know this, and globalism is at a cost. There are other tools that may be at similar cost prices and the big name and big box companies make the most because they dictate what they will buy at and if a company meets their criteria they are in. The economics are complex. At the moment, my main thrust is to get tools in the hands of people working wood that have no other means of buying what they need.
      I doubt that this is a lost-leader for the Aldi Co. They are savvy business people. But I could be wrong. Thanks for your input though.

  8. Pingback: Chisel Set
  9. Paul, I read your post two days before flying from Denver to London for a business trip. Researched Aldi locations in London but they were pretty far from our hotel. So on a lark, I searched locations in Leicester–where I was conducting my business. There was an Aldi 0.2 miles from the Premier Inn by the train station. So my lovely lady went in search of the chisels for me during the day while I did my work. I think she enjoyed the adventure. She found them in a bin along with socks and files. While she was there she picked up an amazing chocolate bar with hazelnuts. The chocolate is long gone but I’ve been using the chisels for the last couple of months and love them. They get and stay sharp, and I love being able to pound them with my wooden mallet. My vintage chisels, by contrast, dull quickly when chopping out dovetails. Thank you for writing about them. I think of Leicester every time I use them.

  10. Tom Lawrence says:

    Just a quick update – these are coming up for sale again in the UK on Thursday 23rd of January…I’ll be buying a second set, as they really are very good!

  11. Vince says:

    I just bought 2 sets, how is it possible to tell if they did go the cheap-o route? These say made in China on the back, and Chrome Vanadium and the size in mm on the face of each chisel. They look pretty good let’s see how they sharpen….

    • These Aldi chisels are still the same excellent chisels. Best value for money ever, and will meet the demands of almost any demanding woodworker. They do take and hold an edge for a goodly amount of time.

  12. Vince says:

    I sharpened these last night (following Paul’s excellent DVD on sharpening) and I’m impressed. These seem like a steal compared to everything else that is available. I’m very glad I got a hold of a few sets, thanks for the heads up Paul!

  13. Alan T. says:

    Just gave Aldi here in the US (Virginia) another plug for offering these chisels for sale here in the US. Who knows what will come of it, but if they respond positively, I’ll be sure to follow up here.

  14. jim says:

    I’m sorry I upset I would like to start a handyman shop
    and I have no plans on wood furniture, and if there are some who have no. tool so it is also very rich come so if there are some who can help me
    I will be very happy, I’m unemployed so I can not pay anything for them
    but I hope you will still help my address is
    Denmark
    8660 skanderborg
    Kildevænget 1
    jim borg

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