The results of Fine Woodworking magazine's bench chisel tool test are in. Among 23 top brands tested, our
earned Author's Choice for "Best Value" western style bench chisel.
Chris Gochnour, a professional woodworker and writer, considered a
number of criteria in determining the top chisels, including tool performance in dovetail, paring, chopping and durability
tests, as well as additional factors including out of the box condition, tool
ergonomics and edge retention properties.
Mr. Gochnour enlisted the help of the Department of Material Science and Engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio to fully access each chisel's edge-retention qualities. Under the direction of Professor David Matthiesen chisel edges were examined in a scanning electron microscope at 100X resolution.
Regarding Narex Bench Chisels:
"The beech handle, with a hoop and ferrule, is easy to grasp whether chopping with one hand or paring with two. The back of the chrome manganese blade was nice and flat and the edges were beveled sufficiently for excellent dovetailing. The cutting edge held up quite well and at $6, this is the obvious choice for best value among the Western-style chisels."
Highland Woodworking's Narex Chisels are available in sizes ranging from 6mm - 50mm, and also are available in sets of 4 (6,12, 20 & 26mm) or sets of 6 (6,10, 12, 16, 20 & 26mm). Their blades are fine-grained, nicely tempered chrome-moly steel (Rc 58).
Narex Czech-made bevel edged chisels are a fine value. Stained beech handles feature well seated heavy steel ferrules to withstand vigorous mallet work; bolstered tangs are also ferruled for durability. The blades are excellent: fine-grained, nicely tempered chrome-moly steel that takes and holds a beautiful edge without brittleness. Like most edge tools, they'll need sharpening before use; and like most chisels, they'll feel better and work better after you've gentled their long edges and flattened their backs.