Rated 5.0 out of 5 by 1
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by lilrabbit Well made, good quality steel, nicely balanced, easy to use, great value for the price.
There are several things customers should know about these chisels. The first thing is that the handles are intended to come off. Traditionally, socket chisels were sold without handles at all and you either bought them separately, or you made your own, and replaced them as they wore out. The Boxwood handles on these are nicely turned and laser engraved with the Stanley Sweetheart logo. They do come off, but with a bit of sanding and tuning you can make them seize up nicely if that is your preference.
They are wooden handled chisels, so you really need to buy or make a mallet, not beat on them with your claw hammer. The internet abounds with plans and patterns for mallets that are easily made in the home shop, and Home Depot now stocks a variety of S4S hardwoods appropriate for making a nice mallet...I'd suggest maple. So if you have reached a state of skill as a woodworker where you are contemplating buying these chisels, you are probably ready to make yourself a good mallet too.
These are made to be used in the shop, not out on the jobsite. If you just need chisels to bang around in your nail bags and chop out reliefs in framing, there are cheap chisels much better suited to that task. These are intended for more artisan woodworking, cleaning up dovetails, mortises and tenons.
They shine as paring chisels, meaning you hold them in your hand and use them to shave off thin slices. You don't necessarily need to beat on them with a mallet, and the socket head handle is nice for this. You can accomplish a lot using these like a knife, with an occasional rap from your fist if a bit more force is needed.
All high quality chisels need to be honed before use, and while these are surprisingly sharp out of the box, they are no exception. The edges and faces all contain mill marks from the grinding process and you will want to flatten the back and hone the bevel. I started with the largest chisel in the set and used a coarse diamond stone, then worked down to medium, fine and extra fine, which is equivalent to about 1200 grit. Then I worked them on my 6000 grit water stone to get a mirror shine on the back and the bevel. They come ground to 25 degrees. I went to 30 degrees for the finished bevel. Took me about ten minutes of work to get the 1-1/4 "fettled" to where I wanted. The smaller ones are going faster, but it will be a few more days before they are all ready for work. Be careful with the smallest so you don't rock them on the stone and end up with a convex back.
I tested out the 1/4, 3/4 and 1-1/4 cleaning up mortises and tenons and they are nice to use. I also have a couple of this same pattern in the motley set of chisels I inherited from my grandfather. Obviously I can tell the old chisels from the new ones, but these are comparable in quality to the Stanley Sweethearts he bought in the 1930s.
For amateur woodworkers or small shop professionals who want a good set of chisels but are not ready to drop a grand for a set of Japanese chisels or Lie Nielsens, these are a good value. The price of the individual chisels is jumping around a bit, but buying the set gives you about a $75 discount compared to buying them individually...plus the set comes with a nice leather tool roll.
Each chisel is individually bagged in plastic and coated with an oily anti-rust compound. Small plastic keepers to protect the edges are also included. The blades are purported to be of Sheffield steel, forged in the UK, and the boxwood for the handles grows natively in the UK as well.
October 20, 2015