For more information on chisels, see our beginner site Common Woodworking.
Q: Recently saw your demo at ally pally and it was great, thanks. Just a question on chisel sets and what you would recommend as a good low to mid range set to purchase?A: In a recent blog I recommended the Aldi chisel set, but not just as a starter set. These are serious chisels that take some beating in strength, sharpenability, balance, edge holding qualities and much more (see earlier post last week). They are the cheapest wooden handled chisels in the business and I use them all the time in the school. Yes, I know, it cant be that simple and things like this don’t happen, but in this case you have got a bargain at £7.99 per set of four chisels. They have had them in for a couple of weeks and will soon go off the shelf again for a year. You might get them elsewhere like online to, but I don’t know that. Now if you want better quality in terms of refinement you can look at several other makers, but most of them have soft-grip ergo handles, which are designed for sales reps to have something to talk about and not craftsmen to use. Marples chisels are made in China as are Irwin. That actually means they have improved on what Sheffield once offered. I think a nice set of Sorby chisels are a good buy though I find them incy bit brittle. Remember, everyone touts that hard steel makes a good chisel, (again, selling reps, not users) but they often dismiss sharpenability and edge retention. I don’t want to spend hours sharpening my chisels. Once a chisel is flattened, honed and polished, it should take no more than two minutes per chisel at most.