When buying chisels, you will usually find a set of 4 or a set of 6. The set of 4 includes the 4 most common sizes listed below and the set of 6 includes the two additional sizes:
- ¼” (6mm)
- ½” (12mm)
- ¾” (18mm)
- 1” (25mm)
and 2 additional sizes
- ⅜” (10mm)
- 1¼” (32mm)
Some chisels come with a plastic handle and some have a wooden handle, this is down to personal preference. If you choose to go for plastic handles, ensure they are made with impact resistant, unbreakable plastic only, not the ones with a rubberised grip. Some come in boxes, leather or cloth wraps, it is not necessary to get these if you already have a place to store them. Places such as Amazon and eBay sell the Faithfull brand and they should cost you between £20-30 for a set of 6, slightly more if they come in a box/wrap. Some are described as bevelled edged butt chisels, these are just a shorter version of the bevel edged chisels and are less balanced in the hand than full-sized chisels.
Here are some things you should look out for when buying chisels:
- Metal capped chisels are made for heavier carpentry work where carpenters generally use steel hammers, some with pyramid patterns forged into the hammer face. This geometric pattern will damage both plastic and wooden handles and so the steel cap was introduced to protect the handle. The combination of steel caps and steel hammers can be noisy and less pleasant to work with.
- Chisels with rubber gripping on the handles have a tendency to disintegrate after even a short time of use and you can end up with messy edges on the rubber grips, making them difficult to work with.
🇬🇧/ 🇺🇸We purchased this Set of 6 MHG Chisels in Canvas Tool Roll which are great quality and had the ground bevel of the cutting edge fully ground all the way to the edge, they are also suitable to order from the US. Paul often recommends the ‘Aldi Chisels’, however, we cannot recommend these as the stock is seasonal and inconsistent. Paul thinks these are very similar in design and quality to the Aldi chisels he so highly recommends. We recommend buying the chisels separately in the following sizes, ¼” (6mm), ⅜ (10mm), ½” (12mm), ¾” (18mm), 1” (25mm) which costs €48.70 with €9.90 shipping to the UK and €40.92 with €37.00 shipping to the USA*.
We also purchased this Faithfull Bevel Chisel Wooden 6 Piece set from Amazon for £44.96*, and found that the ground bevel doesn’t go all the way to a developed cutting edge which resulted in a steep second bevel. The bevels on the Faithful chisels are ground to the correct angle (25°), however they will need some extra abrading work before they can be used, the steep, square secondary bevel needs to be ground to a 30° angle as shown in the picture. This can take up to 15 minutes per wider chisel using abrasive paper (it will be quicker if you have diamond stones). You can read more about Paul’s findings on this set of Faithful chisels here.
* Prices correct as of December 2018
To read more on chisels, we recommend the following from Paul’s blog:
Bevel- Edged Chisels or Heavy Mortise Models?