My favorite chisels

Planes seem to get all the love from hand tool woodworkers but it is with chisels that my work really gets done. Without my beloved bits of razor sharp steel on wood handles, I would be lost and totally useless in a woodshop. Aside from my full set of Gabriel hollows and rounds, they are most prized tools and the things I would run into a burning shop to save.

I have many wonderful chisels but I thought that a closer look at a few of my favorites might be appreciated.

My Blue Spruce paring chisel which I purchased at Woodworking in America a couple of years ago is pretty high on the list. It is beautifully made tool that, more importantly, works beautifully too.
All the best,

My workaday bench chisels. A mostly full set of William Butchers with one no-name, a Lakeside, thrown in. The Lakeside is my favorite overall chisel and the one I grab for first for most shop tasks. It is also the only tool with which I have ever seriously hurt myself, having nearly lost the tip of my right pinky finger in a moment of sheer stupidity involving poor work holding choices. The handles, except for the vintage one in the middle, are shop made in a process I documented here on the blog.

I also enjoy my Lie-Nielsen bench chisels. They are truly beautiful tools that I use less than I should.

My Iles mortising chisel. I have some vintage ones too but the Iles usually gets the nod for any task which can accommodate the 3/8" width. I should just bite the bullet and get one in 1/4" and maybe 1/2" too.

I'm always on the lookout for new chisels as well. Do you have any particular favorites of which I should be made aware? Let me know in the comments section.



  1. I have no new makers chisels, like you I have a couple Butcher's. My favorite are my Erik Anton Berg, Swedish steel is the best! I also have some Swan and early Witherby's that I really like. I've also been into old Japanese chisels lately, wonderful tools but you have to immerse yourself in Japanese sharpening techniques and their natural stones which can get expensive.

    1. I have a few Bergs as well. Great chisels. I've never gotten into Japanese tools but I know that those who have swear by them.

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  3. Just bought an 1 1/4" Lakeside chisel oon Ebay, gotta say I am disappointed. After removing 1/4 inch off the end because the seller took a grinder to the backside, I settled in to putting an edge on it, and found it to be really soft. I ground the end patiently, with water, and did not burn it.Keep generating a wire each time I flip it on the diamond hone. Makes me wonder if I should try to re-temper it, or was there another, cheap maker besides stanley for this brand?