Author Topic: Recommendations for a quality chisel set/block plane and a way to sharpen?  (Read 1139 times)

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Offline gearhound

  • Posts: 73
I just picked up my 1st ever chisel set (really cheap DeWalt kit from HD) to square up some routed mortises and after using for a few days I'd like to invest in a quality set. Also, having enjoyed my 1st use of hand tools I think I'd like to add a nice block plane as well. I'd prefer to only buy these things once so suggestions for quality tools would be appreciated along with a good way to keep them sharp.


Thanks!

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Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3884
I imagine the mods might move this to another board, but I will answer here anyway:

You can't go wrong with a Lie Nielsen block plane: https://www.lie-nielsen.com/nodes/4072/block-planes

The 60 1/2 is a great all around option, though I should mention that since I got it a few months ago, I have been using the 102 almost exclusively for block plane work.  I like the smaller fit in my hand and it's greater maneuverability in tight spaces.

In terms of sharpening, the Veritas MK2 honing guide is a great option for handling a wide range of sharpening needs: http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=51868&cat=1,43072,43078&ap=1

The only issue I have with the MK 2 set is that the rollers can degrade over time, which is why I migrated over to the Lie Nielsen sharpening system, but if well treated the MKii set is a really nice choice.

The key to sharpening with a jig is repeatability, which is why the angle register of the MKii is valuable.  But you can also achieve the same results with a relatively cheap honing guide and a piece of plywood scrap that has stops on it to set the projection distance of the blade (and thus the angle).
 
For chisels, you might consider the Narex set, which for many people strikes the right balance between quality and affordability:

http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?p=67707

Once you've learned how to keep them sharp and understand what their range and limits are, you might then look to more premium options, like Blue Spruce, Lie Nielsen, or the Veritas PMV11 chisels.

I just picked up my 1st ever chisel set (really cheap DeWalt kit from HD) to square up some routed mortises and after using for a few days I'd like to invest in a quality set. Also, having enjoyed my 1st use of hand tools I think I'd like to add a nice block plane as well. I'd prefer to only buy these things once so suggestions for quality tools would be appreciated along with a good way to keep them sharp.


Thanks!
« Last Edit: July 09, 2019, 08:59 AM by ear3 »
Kapex KS 120 w/UG Cart and Extensions • CXS Set • T18+3 w/Centrotec Installer's Set • PDC 18/4 • TS 75 • TSC 55 • HKC 55 w/250, 420 and 670 FSK rails • Carvex 420 w/Accessory Kit • Domino 500 Set • Domino 700 XL • OF 2200 w/Base Accessory Kit • OF 1400 • OF 1010 • MFK 700 EQ Set • LR 32 • MFS 400 w/2000, 1000, and 700 extensions • Rotex 90 • Rotex 150 • LS 130 • ETS-EC 150/5 • ETS-EC 150/3 • Pro 5 LTD • RTS 400 • RAS 115.04 • RS 2 • HL 850 • Vecturo OS 400 • CT 26 w/BT module • CT Sys w/Long-Life Bag • MFT/3

Offline Sanderxpander

  • Posts: 380
I use almost all the above-mentioned gear (though a "Dictum" 60 1/2 plane) and am probably coming from a similar place in that I'm a growing hobbyist but like decent quality tools.

The Narex chisels are a good buy in that they do exactly what they're supposed to and they're not so expensive that you'll regret having them even if you get a really high end set. They'll need their backs flattened and you can definitely get them sharper than they come in the box but the same goes for any chisel. Don't get all twenty or anything. I have a small boxed set with 6, 10, 12, 16 and 20 mm I think, or something close to that.

I use the Veritas Mk2 jig but you really need the version with the "narrow blade" head. Or both heads if you want to use it for your plane too. It don't see any problem with the roller yet, and you can buy replacement rollers anyway. I doubt this would be an issue for non-professional use. What I was really disappointed with is the micro bevel adjustment. I would have really liked to use it but it always gives a heavily angled bevel against the primary one. If you google a bit you'll find this is a common problem. As I see it, there are two solutions to this if you'd still like to use the (otherwise pretty nice) jig.
1. Discuss this with the supplier and test it right away. Exchange if needed. Unfortunately I didn't because I left it in the box for months before using it.
2. Use a thin shim between the angle setting jig and the blade instead of the dedicated mechanism. This is similar to setting the bevel with a home made plywood jig and works reasonably well.

For sharpening, after trying a bunch of things, I'm most happy with diamond stones. There will be lots of arguments in favor of and against this but for me it's the most hassle free and reliable and I don't use them enough that wear is a problem. DMT is a good brand, I have the DuoSharp coarse/extra coarse and fine/extra fine. Waterstones will get you a finer finish but you'll need a way to keep them flat and well soaked and all that. The DuoSharp, I just lay it on the supplied rubber mat, spray it with water and I'm good to go.

The block plane, it doesn't say so specifically but I think plane numbers are universal and a 60 1/2 is low angle. It helps with doing endgrain. I'm not a huge fan of mine but I have too little experience with planes to say why that is. I think I just should've gotten a jack plane. I don't like the one handed operation and I always struggle to find the balance between taking anything pff at all and it biting into the wood. Learning curve I suppose.

Just my 2c.
Good luck!
« Last Edit: July 09, 2019, 01:07 PM by Sanderxpander »

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 2650
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
All good advise above.

I’d suggest going right to the top and buy a full set of Lie Nielsen or Blue Spruce chisels. I’d recommend buying the Lie Nielsen plane.

I tried just about every sharpening system and ended up with the Lie Nielsen waterstones and their angle guide.  I get a mirror finish and the cutting performance is amazing.
Birdhunter

Offline ChuckM

  • Posts: 1190
Get two block planes for the price of one (plus a little):

1) Low-Angle Plane (choose the blade desired -- PM-V11 is my choice)
http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=47881&cat=1,41182,41188,47881
2)  Optional Blade, 38° and then regrind it to 33°

Use (1) as a low angle plane with the 25° that comes with the plane -- the cutting angle is 37 (12+25)
Use the low plane with the optional blade (at 33°) as a standard block plane -- the cutting angle is 45 (12+33).

Alternatively (if you have no means to regrind the optional blade, and can't find someone to do it for you), simple use the low angle plane with the 38° blade with the cutting angle at 50.

As for honing jigs, consider the Veritas® Mk.II Standard Honing Guide  05M09.01 http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=51868&cat=1,43072,43078,51868, though some users have encountered clamping issues with narrow chisels. I have had no problems with it for the past decade. Veritas® Mk.II Narrow-Blade Honing Guide  05M09.10, of course, is another option if you have no wide blades (over 1-1/2") to sharpen.

Next, you would need to get stones (water or diamond, etc.). The rabbit hole can be pretty deep.... [tongue]

Edit: With these, you could turn your Low Angle Block Plane into a small bench plane, too:

http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=41715&cat=1,41182,41189,41715


« Last Edit: July 09, 2019, 05:16 PM by ChuckM »

Offline demographic

  • Posts: 501
Veritas low angle block plane, Veritas MK2 honing jig and diamond plates for me.
To be honest I have massses of chisels but generally find them much of a muchness.

Offline Sanderxpander

  • Posts: 380
Going all LN seems rather over the top for the OP, though I suppose there would be reasonable resale value if you treat them well.

As for the Veritas guide, the heads are interchangeable so you can use either on the same base. Technically it's possible to do narrow blades with the regular head but due to the construction it's quite hard to keep the blade perfectly straight while tightening the bolts, not to mention the blade can easily move during operation. For an "idiot proof" system I really recommend the narrow blade head for chisels.

Offline Bob D.

  • Posts: 1259
The new generation planes are great, and the old planes of the 80s and earlier can't hope to match, but there are many good pieces of 'old iron' out there that can get you started for WAY less. You can pick up a #4, $5, and a #60-1/2 for less than the price of one Veritas or Lie Nielsen plane.

I have four Stanley #5s that I picked up at yard sales or off CL and didn't pay more than $50 for any one of them, and that one was almost like new and still in the original box.

I found a #7 on eBay that I won the bid on for $75, it's like new. Not a museum piece but that's not what I want it for, I want a good worker, not something that collects dust or is under glass.

I made a rabbit plane from a chuck of 12/4 oak and a 3/8" Allen wrench became the blade. Of all these planes I only bought a couple new, and that was 30 years ago, except for the Veritas shoulder plane. At an estate sale earlier this year, my sister found a Veritas Apron Plane and texted me asking if I was interested. I said yes and I would go as high as $40 since it came with a spare blade and looked to be barely used. She was able to pick it up for the $40  and I added it to my stable of planes. That plane is still in production and sells for $124, plus another $30 for the second blade, so I think I got a good deal.

My point is you can good work with some old planes to start, and keep your tool budget under control. Later when you 'need' that $300 plane go get it. You'll have a better understanding of what you need and the original purchase won't go to waste.

If you want to read up on the old Stanley planes, check out Pat's web site which covers every plane Stanley ever made.
http://www.supertool.com/StanleyBG/stan0a.html
« Last Edit: July 09, 2019, 03:06 PM by Bob D. »
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Offline Jiggy Joiner

  • Posts: 749
I just picked up my 1st ever chisel set (really cheap DeWalt kit from HD) to square up some routed mortises and after using for a few days I'd like to invest in a quality set. Also, having enjoyed my 1st use of hand tools I think I'd like to add a nice block plane as well. I'd prefer to only buy these things once so suggestions for quality tools would be appreciated along with a good way to keep them sharp.


Thanks!

Chisels, where to start? Depending on what type of work you’ll do, and budget etc.
A set of decent bevel edged chisels will cover a lot of situations. Over here on site, I will mainly use Marple's, in the workshop now my collection of Japanese chisels is expanding, they are just a lot more effortless to use, and seem to stay sharp longer.

You could do a lot worse than Lie Nielsen though, superb tools.

As for sharpening, I use diamond and water stones. The water stones take a little longer to get comfortable with but, give superb results. If you touch up your chisels regularly, you can do them quite easily without a guide. The guide will accelerate wear on the stones too.
Don’t get me wrong, the honing guides are great, and I have a few that get used but, I use mine more for plane irons.
A properly sharpened chisel, should glide right down the middle of an A4 piece of paper. Sticky sharp!

Offline gearhound

  • Posts: 73
Thanks for all the tips guys, it is greatly appreciated! Going to do some research on all these suggestions and will let you know which way I end up going. I was planning on buying a set of 5 or so chisels, but being a hand-tool novice I'm not really sure if I need a full set or just a couple different sizes? All I've used so far in my DeWalt set are the 1/4" and 1/2" and feel a 1/8" one would be nice to have too. I actually inherited 4 old Stanley planes from my father-in-law that I need to photograph and determine if they are worth tuning up and using or if it would be wiser to just buy new.


Cheers,
Matt

Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3884
A set of 5 should do you pretty well: 1, 3/4, 1/2, 1/4 and 1/8.  I don't end up using my 1/8 chisel all that often, but when it's needed, there's nothing else that can be used, whereas you can usually get away with using a slightly smaller size to do the work of a larger chisel.  If you go with Narex, it's affordable to go with the larger set that adds in a 3/8, 5/8 and 7/8.



Thanks for all the tips guys, it is greatly appreciated! Going to do some research on all these suggestions and will let you know which way I end up going. I was planning on buying a set of 5 or so chisels, but being a hand-tool novice I'm not really sure if I need a full set or just a couple different sizes? All I've used so far in my DeWalt set are the 1/4" and 1/2" and feel a 1/8" one would be nice to have too. I actually inherited 4 old Stanley planes from my father-in-law that I need to photograph and determine if they are worth tuning up and using or if it would be wiser to just buy new.


Cheers,
Matt
Kapex KS 120 w/UG Cart and Extensions • CXS Set • T18+3 w/Centrotec Installer's Set • PDC 18/4 • TS 75 • TSC 55 • HKC 55 w/250, 420 and 670 FSK rails • Carvex 420 w/Accessory Kit • Domino 500 Set • Domino 700 XL • OF 2200 w/Base Accessory Kit • OF 1400 • OF 1010 • MFK 700 EQ Set • LR 32 • MFS 400 w/2000, 1000, and 700 extensions • Rotex 90 • Rotex 150 • LS 130 • ETS-EC 150/5 • ETS-EC 150/3 • Pro 5 LTD • RTS 400 • RAS 115.04 • RS 2 • HL 850 • Vecturo OS 400 • CT 26 w/BT module • CT Sys w/Long-Life Bag • MFT/3

Offline Bob D.

  • Posts: 1259
On sharpening I like the Worksharp 3000. I don't have the time, space, or patience to mess with wet stones honing guides, et al. With the Worksharp I can touch up a chisel in a couple seconds, just walk up to it, turn it on, and in less than 30 seconds you'll have renewed the edge, and it will be scary sharp.

https://youtu.be/VU9WecxUFfw?t=2m15s
« Last Edit: July 11, 2019, 02:58 PM by Bob D. »
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It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?