Woodworking is an activity that requires smooth finishes to come up with high-quality and beautiful workpieces.
There aren’t many tools capable of delivering that, but there is an old tool that will get you the perfect finishes even with the hardest materials. We’re talking, of course, about the chisel.
Chisels seem like an ancient tool when you compare it to modern power tools, yet, they still manage to stay relevant by providing a comfortable and efficient performance over different materials, especially wood.
Today, we have put ourselves in the task of finding the best wood chisels available. It was tough, but our research has taken us to many brands and tools. Now, we will introduce you to the results of our search by reviewing our picks for the best chisels you can buy in 2020.
Types Of Wood Chisels
The number of tools designed for woodworking activities never ceases to surprise us. There is a new one every day, with new features and more benefits than previous models. It is the same case when it comes to the chisels.
Different brands offer their take on what a good chisel must be. They use different materials for the construction, the blade, and the overall design of the tool. However, the chisel type is an aspect that requires your attention because it defines the one you’re going to need for your tasks.
You should know that there are three types of wood chisels: bench, mortise, and paring chisels. What do they do?
- A bench chisel is a regular tool that most woodworkers have. It is the perfect type that you can use for general purposes and regular woodworking. They use a medium-sized blade and beveled edges to produce 30-degree cutting edge capacity.
- Mortise chisels have thicker blades. They are suitable for prying work that requires cutting mortise joints, although that is not their only purpose. The cutting edge of this tool is up to 40 degrees.
- Finally, we have the paring chisels. Unlike the two previous models, this one has a long and thin blade to produce outstanding finishing work. These tools provide the accuracy you will need for those woodworking tasks requiring accurate and precise finishes.
The regular cutting edge of the paring chisels varies between 20 to 25 degrees.
As you can see, every type of chisel is made for an individual purpose. Which one you need will depend on the requirements of your projects, which is why knowing what they do and what are their limitations is very useful for when you get to decide between the three.
After all, the best professional wood chisel set must offer variety in their chisel tools.
Wood Chisel Handles – “Socket Chisels” Or “Tang Chisels”?
To find the best chisels for carpentry, woodworkers need to spend some time going through their specifications to figure out if they are worthy or not. One of the things that make a high-quality chisel is the handle, which is responsible for giving you comfort and control over the tool.
Two types of chisel handles are going to pop up regularly during your research: the socket, and the tang chisel.
- The socket model features a chisel handle similar to a cone in the metal part of the socket.
- Tang chisels, on the other hand, feature a metal tang fastened in the chisel handle inside.
Many people prefer the tang design over the other, but we recommend getting a socket chisel, especially if you’re a beginner.
Socket chisels are more durable, and they will resist the amount of pressure you put over them.
Woodworking Chisel Handles – Wood Or Plastic Handles?
- Plastic vs wood is another regular discussion that woodworkers have. Plenty of high-quality tools feature either of these two handles, but which one is the best?
- We think that wooden handles beat plastic every time. There is a beauty in wooden tools that other materials can’t match.
- Now, we are not saying that plastic handles are low-quality. Sometimes, they’re even better than the other, and they do have their unique benefits. However, a wooden handle has a better feeling and an aesthetic that makes it blend naturally in the workshop.
- It is safe to say that it is a matter of personal preference. If the chisel succeeds in other areas, the handle becomes a secondary feature.
Our Top Picks For The Best Wood Chisels
The following list has the most efficient and well-designed chisels that the market has to offer. Want to know what they have to offer? Then let’s go through them!
The 750 Sweetheart series from Stanley was a revolutionary product when it first came out a couple of decades ago. It was everything carpentry workers needed, and it soon became a sensational set of tools that you could find in any workshop.
Now, in the current days, they have brought the 750 series back to life, with new takes and the sole mission of assisting woodworkers. But, does it meet the expectations?
Undoubtedly, this set of chisels owes its popularity to its quality and affordable price. The manufacturers use high-quality materials like high-carbon and chrome steel to design and provide durable and resistant tools.
They go through an automatic manufacturing process to acquire consistent beveled edges, flatbacks, and the 30-degree factory-ground bevels.
Although most of the blades have flat backs, others may need an extra amount of work to get it flattened before starting to use them. It is an issue that could take up several hours of your day to fix it, but it does pay off afterward.
What you get after going through the flattening process are tools capable of competing with more expensive chisels, like Veritas or even Lie-Nielsen products, while still offering unique features.
The shape of the Stanley 750 chisels makes the chisels a reliable tool that you can control easily without any issues.
Features like the short length and the hornbeam handle provide the comfort you’ll need, while also having complete control over the chisels. It is an incredible benefit that woodworkers will appreciate, especially when they are dealing with a hard material that requires considerable pressure.
- Clean beveled edges
- Short length and lightweight tools
- Comfortable hornbeam handle
- Affordable price
- Some of the chisels require extra effort to get them flattened
Buying tools like a chisel is often like a bet; if it isn’t from a popular and well-known brand, there’s always the risk of getting tools without flat backs or proper sharpness.
Then, woodworkers must use a lot of time to get them in the perfect shape. That’s the time they could be used to work on their projects and make some progress. It is a common issue that happens with most chisels, and it is a problem Narex tries to solve.
Right from the moment you open it and get your hands on the chisels, they come with a sharp edge and flat backs that allow you to start working quickly.
However, if you do consider sharpening them before first use, then there is a tip that you should know. Using a diamond stone is one of the best sharpening methods you could use. It gives the chisels an edge that it will maintain, even after months of using it.
While looking for information about this set of chisels, there were plenty of customers that reported having issues with the handle.
However, after testing it, the handle doesn’t become an uncomfortable problem. It may be a little larger in comparison to other chisel models, but it allows you to get a firm grip on the tool to have more control over your activities.
For the price, the Narex wood chisels are reliable tools that will help you complete almost any project. All of the features above make this set of tools that every carpentry worker, whether professional or beginner, should consider buying.
- Fine-Grained blades
- Chrome-manganese and hardened steel
- Hornbeam handle
- Requires little to no sharpening at all
- Large handle
An issue woodworkers faced while using the past IRWIN chisels was their inability to retain and keep their sharp edges. It was among the few disadvantages that make workers lose their interest in the brand and search for better options.
With their newer models, however, IRWIN Marples tries to solve that issue by providing chisels capable of having an incredible performance by keeping their sharpness much longer. Because of that, they manage to succeed where its predecessors failed.
But it also improves in many other areas, too. For instance, the materials that are used to create them are improved. By using high-quality materials like high carbon and a hardened steel blade, this set of chisels is capable of outperforming the competition easily.
Once you get your hands on them, you’ll notice that they’re quality chisels designed to provide the accuracy you need for your carpentry activities. Whether they use them with a mallet or the palm of your hand, both professionals and beginners will get a reliable set of chisels that deliver outstanding results.
Regardless of how you decide to use them, the inclusion of a slam handle makes them comfortable and easy to control.
Upon receiving this set of 6 pieces, you might need to do some flattening and sharpening first before using it.
Other than that, there aren’t disadvantages that could diminish the performance of these chisels. On the contrary, after making some comparisons, the Irwin chisels come on top as one of the best items for the money.
- High carbon and hardened steel creates an incredible tool
- Capable of retaining their sharpness
- The slim handle is comfortable to use
- Accurate tools
- Affordable price
- Requires some time to sharpen and flatten
Woodworking and carpentry work, in general, is an art that requires time, effort, and dedication.
There are many things that you could create solely by using wood, but if you want the best outcomes and perfect results, you will need tools designed to provide the accuracy and precision that wood needs.
The Stanley 16-401 Bailey set are among those tools that woodworkers can rely on to produce what their projects demand. This set of chisels is among their best products to date, designed using a stained beech handle and a high-quality brass ferrule.
These materials deliver a highly durable set of chisels suitable for professional and DIY standards. Not only are they capable of providing the accuracy you need, but they’re durable and will withstand the abuse you put them through during your tasks.
This only takes a quick look at the blade to confirm how resistant it is. By being a lacquered blade, it won’t suffer corrosion or external factors that could damage its integrity.
Keeping the sharpness was another goal the manufacturers tried to pursue while creating these chisels. They’ve added carbon-chrome steel of the highest quality, which retains the sharpness long after you use them.
However, getting them sharp is not an easy process. It takes about 15 minutes for each chisel, which is more than some woodworkers might be willing to invest.
It might require extra time to get them sharp, but once it gets there, you’ll be able to perform your woodworking projects without the inconveniences of an unsharpened tool. The new and improved finish for the blade featuring modern grinding centers will ensure your success.
- Stained beech handles
- Upgraded brass ferrule build
- Optimum blade finish including the grinding centers
- Leather pouch
- High price
- It takes up to 20 minutes of flattening and sharpening to get them working properly
These chisels use durable materials that resist plenty of abuse throughout the years.
The chrome vanadium steel blades go through a heat-treating process to bring the best out of it, which translates in a high-quality tool capable of withstanding tough woodworking activities. It is particularly efficient for DIY projects around the house.
Sharpening is an issue that most chisels have, and that’s why the addition of a sharpening stone improves the perception woodworkers have about the brand.
It is a clear sign that the manufacturers know the problems their tools have on a regular basis. While it is not necessarily the case for the Kaypar 10 PC chisels because they don’t require much time to sharpen, we still appreciate the sharpening stone to get the tools in the perfect state for our work.
A particular feature we enjoy the most from this set of chisels is the high-quality handle. It features polypropylene plastic that is one of the most resistant materials a chisel can have.
This design provides two valuable benefits. One, it is very comfortable to use, which is something every woodworker appreciates. Secondly, it can resist impacts.
Overall, the handle is among its best benefits because it gives complete balance and control over the chisel.
- Affordable tools ideal for plenty of regular DIY woodworking or carpentry projects
- High-quality blades with side bevels for higher accuracy
- Polypropylene handle is highly resistant to impacts
- It comes with a beautiful and unique wooden case
- It includes a sharpening stone
- The included honing guide allows woodworkers to have more precision
- Not the best choice for professional carpentry activities
Vonhaus 10 PC Premium Craftsman chisels are one of those sets of tools that you would be happy to have in the workshop.
Although it follows almost the same manufacturing process featuring heat-treated steel blades, VonHaus chisels provide the necessary high-quality characteristics for cutting and shaping the wood during your projects.
Both DIYers and professionals will find durable and efficient blades in the VonHaus chisels set. Something that truly stands out from the VonHaus chisels is the capacity to adapt to other tools. For instance, all the chisels in this set have metal in them and also highly resistant strike caps.
It might not seem like an essential feature, and sometimes it isn’t, but it is very useful if you want to use it with another tool, like the hammer. A combination of these two tools will get you to complete those tasks that require strength and pressure.
Because comfort is an essential benefit that woodworkers must have, VonHaus chisels have an ergonomic handle to keep your hands free of injuries and make it a comfortable experience. Upon arrival, the manufacturers recommend sharpening the chisels.
They include an aluminum stone to get it to sharpen, but our trusty diamond stone managed to get the chisels sharpened very quickly. It might take a different amount of time using different tools, but it is better to do it because they do lack sharpness when you first open the packaging.
The narrow side bevels also contribute to the quick and accurate flattening process. With all these utensils to get the best sharpness possible, there’s no valid excuse for woodworkers to avoid doing it.
- High-quality tools
- Helpful honing guide
- Comfortable handle
- Affordable price
- The included sharpening stone is not the best
- It is difficult getting the chisels in and out of the case
Like previous chisels by Narex, this one uses chrome-manganese steel. The manufacturer puts it through a tempering process, and then it gets hardened at 59 RC.
Undoubtedly, the materials used for the construction of this set of chisels aren’t innovative ideas from Narex, but as long as it works producing a functional tool, there’s no need to change it.
Naturally, you’ll need to sharpen them before use. It is a process that takes up to 15 minutes if you use the proper tools. Once you finish doing it, the blades will hold their sharpness throughout the completion of your tasks, and even later.
This set of chisels has made it in our list because of how effective they are, especially considering they’re rather dull and don’t offer anything new. However, their simplicity makes them easy to use and one of the best options for people that are beginning their woodworking projects.
Another feature Narex continues to use for their chisels and still succeed at it is the handles. For these chisels, they use lacquered European beech wood.
Again, not really anything new, but at this point, it has become their signature designs that continues to provide a comfortable grip for woodworkers.
The overall feeling we had while trying these chisels was that they work as transitional tools. Newcomers will enjoy them quite a bit while they learn what they like the most about them. After that, choosing a more professional set of chisels becomes a much easier process.
- Top-quality blades deliver precision and accuracy
- Lacquered beech wood for the handle makes it comfortable
- Proper tools for beginners
- These chisels are soft, which could be awkward for some woodworkers
There’s something about well-designed tools that increases your interest in woodworking. Having a beautiful set of chisels like this one truly makes us want to get them ready and start working on those projects quickly.
From the handle to the tip of the blade, there aren’t many chisels that can compare to the gorgeous design of the tools in our spot number eight.
This set of chisels feature premium lacquered hardwood, which is an ergonomic design capable of providing the comfort you need to work without exhausting or hurting your hands.
The build for the handle helps to improve the efficiency of the chisels by giving you complete control and a secured grip over it.
Nonetheless, its success relies entirely on the blades. There are many materials that you might decide to cut and shape using chisels, but some are stronger than others. When that happens, the blades of these chisels will cut through soft and hard workpieces equally.
Also, to improve their quality, this set of chisels use chrome-vanadium steel featuring beveled edges. This material has been a constant element for chisel manufacturers over many years, and its high-resistance and durability is one of the reasons why.
By including a convenient canvas chisel bag, keeping your chisels in a secure place will no longer be an issue for you. Security is always necessary when you’re in the workshop, and the bag will keep your tools safe from environmental conditions, too.
Although their marketing strategy specifies that they work with a mallet, the reality is that it is very tricky and it might not be the best decision. Instead, it would be better to use them only as a hand chisel.
- High-quality construction featuring chrome-vanadium steel
- Ergonomic handle
- Secure bag to keep them safe
- Beautiful design
- Requires extra sharpening before use
- Doesn’t work as it should with a mallet
If you’re looking for the best chisels for demolition and scraping work, then DeWalt comes once again to save the day, and your projects, too.
The Side Strike chisel set features high-quality tools with carbon-chrome steel blades. These blades are both tempered and hardened, which produce durable edge retention that other chisels cannot offer.
It takes special consideration for the project’s versatility by adding a serrated cutting edge capable of dealing with most materials.
Additionally, the hardening process serves another purpose, too. It strengthens both the strike cap and the surface of the side strike to give the chisels durability and higher resistance to impacts and pressure.
This set features a 5.25-inches handle length with wood-style tips and side strikes. Furthermore, it has a curved handle with bi-materials that increase the comfort of woodworker’s experience while using this set of tools.
To compete with high-quality chisels currently on the market, DeWalt also implements the ergonomic handle for this set as well. If there’s anything this brand doesn’t fail to provide for woodworkers is comfort while using their tools, and in this case, it is no different.
When the chisels have the perfect sharpness, they will cut through woods like pine without a problem. The handles feel strong, allowing you to have a firm grip to control the chisels and use it as you see fit for the tasks.
DeWalt continues to be a reliable ally for woodworkers producing tools that every workshop must-have.
This set of chisels is another worthy addition for your repertoire if you’re looking for high-quality tools. Make sure to get them sharpened before use, and try them out first to see if their weight is comfortable for you.
- Amazing price
- Quality blades
- Comfortable handle
- Requires sharpening before use
- The weight can be uncomfortable for some woodworkers
For the last spot of our list, we’ll introduce you to a set of chisels that might not be able to compete with more popular brands, but they’re still pretty useful for beginners and woodworkers needing cheap and affordable tools.
The WorkPro chisels are, probably, the cheapest you’ll find in the market. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not good.
Evidence to its quality is the materials used for their construction. Like top-rated chisels, this set features chrome-vanadium steel to make durable blades, which go through the same heat process to increase their edge retention.
WorkPro aims for versatility, too. The bevel edge is a multi-purpose feature capable of carving in different wood materials. It works efficiently for every softwood workpiece, as well as some hardwood and the laminated wood pieces.
Also, these chisels are reliable tools if you want to pound them using either a hammer or a mallet. It opens up many possibilities to create tough projects that demand high pressure to achieve the best results.
The ergonomic handle in these chisels allows you to have more comfort, but it serves another purpose, too. It prevents the tool to slip from your hands while all of your attention is on the task.
Overall, and despite being in our last position, WORKPRO delivers tools with enough quality. It certainly isn’t the best wood carving chisel set, but they’re still efficient for many tasks.
- Cheap tools
- Top-quality materials for the construction
- Ergonomic handle
- Hardened strike cap
- Not for intense tasks
What To Consider Before Buying
To find the best set of chisels, you’ll need to look for specific features. Now, we’re going to discuss some of the must-have elements that a high-quality chisel should provide.
Chisels share the same purpose as any other woodworking tool, which is to help you shape and mold different materials.
Now, some of these materials can be very tough, which is why you’ll need quality construction materials capable of handling the pressure.
During our list, we’ve reviewed several chisels with different construction materials, but there is one that pops up regularly, which is the chrome-vanadium steel.
This material manages to resist the incredible amount of pressure you might put on it while delivering quality results and without suffering damage.
The Blade Quality
The blade is essential to make your activities successful or a complete failure. It won’t matter if you have the best set of tools. As long as it doesn’t have a proper blade, there won’t be much you can do with it.
Make sure to buy a chisel with durable blades. They will be in contact with the workpieces, and having a low-quality blade will only produce awful results with high chances of breaking.
Consider chisels featuring steel-alloy blades. They’re as durable as well as resistant.
Observation: If you notice the blade doesn’t have the best sharpness upon arrival, don’t worry. It is normal.
Some chisels come pre-sharpened, but even those might require you to take some extra time to sharpen them properly.
During the early sections of this article, we discussed the handles for the chisels. There are different models, but deciding which one you’ll need depends entirely up to you.
Nonetheless, don’t give up comfort. There’s nothing as frustrating as having tools that make your hands suffer after working with for barely a couple of minutes.
There is a reason why ergonomic handles are the favorite for many woodworkers. They are comfortable, sure, but you also get other benefits of using them, like more control and a better grip.
Chisels require the use of other tools to work efficiently. For instance, a sharpening stone provides the sharpness they need.
Fortunately, many brands offer their set of tools with other accessories to make them work as they must. Including, of course, a proper sharpening stone to keep the chisels sharpened.
There are other accessories you could keep in mind before buying. A proper case to keep them secured and the honing guide are the other two essential extra items that you might need.
Before you make any quick decisions, check all of the offers available to find a set of chisels worth your money. High-priced sets have incredible benefits, but if you’re a beginner or a DIY woodworker, expensive tools might not be what you need.
Luckily, many cheap chisel sets provide high-quality tools capable of delivering what the most expensive models have to offer. It is a matter of doing the previous research before buying.
If you’re a professional, though, you may be more inclined to spend as much money as necessary to get the best chisels.
After all, the fine results you can achieve with them may be worth every cent you’re willing to invest.
These are a couple of considerations to keep in mind before buying a specific set of chisels. The market has many offers that could make your decision-making process harder, but having the right information will allow us to sort through all of them to find the right chisels for our projects.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What can I do with chisels?
Chisels allow you to cut and carve different materials like wood, metal, lumber, and stone. They feature a blade at one end to help you work through those workpieces.
- What are they made of?
These tools often feature high-quality materials like chrome-vanadium steel and iron-cast for their manufacturing process.
Chrome-vanadium steel is one of the most popular builds because it creates a highly resistant chisel capable of enduring plenty of pressure and abuse.
- Can I use other tools with the chisels?
You can use a hammer to pound on them, and it will help you get through those hard materials that won’t budge if you use other tools. A mallet works, too. Don’t worry about damaging the chisels. Most of them can and will resist the impacts.
- Are chisels comfortable?
Yes, they are very comfortable. Just make sure to get a set with an ergonomic design. The ones listed above, in the majority, have a suitable handle to keep your hands safe while giving you complete control.
- Plastic or wood handle?
It is up to you to decide which type of handle is the best. However, we recommend buying a chisel with a wooden handle. These chisels are comfortable, give you complete control, and they’re better looking too.
The best wood chisels are tools that make your job at the workshop easier. You could use it for different projects, materials, and to produce a variety of results, which is why learning about them is a must before deciding to buy.
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