Who said Marples chisels are any good???

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Robert Witte writes:

While that's true in general, the owner of Grizzly is a woodworker--check out the guitars he builds. They're shown in every catalog. Actually, he started, IIRC, as a metalworker, and has sort of segued into woodworking as that part of his business has outgrown all else, by far.
His guitar-building makes one think he must at least care a bit about the quality of his tools.
Charlie Self "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure." Mark Twain http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
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Charlie Self wrote:

Yeah man... I sure wish I could play with one of those bee-yootiful guitars of his. That guy has some serious skill.
Well, serious skill at making them look good. I don't know whether they're good players or not. One would sure hope so.
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While I agree with you in principle, budgets do eventually come into play also. For the chisels you mentioned, the 1.5" (alone) is 1/2 the price of the entire Grizzly set. Frankly this is more than I intended to spend on chisels.
Don't misunderstand, I am not questioning the quality/price/value of the higher end Japanese chisels, I was just hoping to get something of reasonable quality for an affordable price. If these chisels are of low quality, I will likely purchase the Freud set instead. Though I would like Japanese chisels, I do not want a poor quality tool just because it is Japanese.
Thanks for the advice (domo arigato), Bill
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I got a cheap Japanese chisel (the Japan Woodworker brand) and I find that the edge chips out if I look at it the wrong way. It got frustrating enough that I relegated it to scraping paint and got something else to replace it. Hard to say if the Grizzly ones are good or not, but if they're really cheap I'd be nervous. (Unless you like sharpening your chisels all the time.)

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I know of the chisels you're talking about. Japanese tools are inherently more expensive (shipping, duties, taxes, etc.). Thus, when you do buy a "cheap" Japanese tool -- or even English tool -- you are paying more for it.
The thing with the Japan Woodworker brand is you don't really know who the maker is. It could be an apprentice or some factory shlep. At least with the higher end tools that may cost only slightly more...and sometimes a lot more...you know the individual maker spent years learning their craft to make the best possible tool for you.
If I'm not mistaken Mastumura, who's chisels aren't exorbitantly priced, is considered a national "living treasure" by the government of Japan.
Layne
On Fri, 06 Feb 2004 02:09:00 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@cox.net (Adrian Mariano) wrote:

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Hi Dave,
I have a set of the Marples Blue Chip and I'd rate them as "o.k.". A reasonable value for the money, but they definitely require a bit more diligent work to use regularly.
I subsequently purchased these: http://www.craftsmanstudio.com/html/fine_tools/two_cherries/two_cherries.htm
(I got the 6 piece promotional boxed set).
They are MUCH higher quality than the Marples, and for $100, I think an even better value. These promotional chisels aren't polished, but they are made with the same steel as the "regular" two cherries chisels. If you want a shiny chisel you can pay $65 more.
Anyway, that's my recommendation.
Mike

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On Fri, 23 Jan 2004 12:25:46 GMT, "Mike in Mystic"

Mike,     How flat was the back of the two cherries when you got them? They look good, and I'm thinking of picking some up myself.
Thanks, Barry
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I spent a fair amount of time flattening them with some 150 grit wet/dry sandpaper. I didn't time it exactly, but let's just say it took more than 30 seconds but less than 5 minutes. As these things go, I'd say that they were pretty flat right out of the box. Keep in mind, I only flattened the 1-2 inches right near the edge.
Mike
in message wrote:

even
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On Fri, 23 Jan 2004 21:25:05 GMT, "Mike in Mystic"

Sounds like that to me, as well.

As is all you need to.
Thanks! Barry
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Why were you using a standard bevel-edge chisel to chop mortises in the first place?
FWIW, I've been using Blue Chips for several years now without any real complaints. I also have some nicer chisels, but I've gotten about what I expected from a $20 set of chisels.
Chuck Vance
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I bought a Marples chisel twenty years ago that was in the same category as yours. Looks nice but performs like pasta. I am glad you posted. Dave

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I also have had the same experience . It should be noted that the honing a ngle should vary according to the hardness of the material they are used on , oak for instance would require a greater angle than say pine . In particular mortise chisel edges really take beating that is why they are more robust in design.
One other consideration is the old saying what you loose on the roundablouts you gain on the swings , personally one has to weigh using a softer material and consequently sharpening the tool more frequently against using a harder material and sharpening it less frequently but the proceedure taking half the day .
My SET of Marples blue chips ran me at the time $25 from Highland hardware [it used to be somewhat of a specialty with them]. The UK pound is currently higher against the dollar so I would expect them currently to be 10 to 15% higher....mjh
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SHARPEN a chisel?!? Damn ... I've just been moving them over to the screwdriver rack when they get dull.
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Chuck, did you miss the part where I mentioned that my old Sears chisel performs the same cuts with nary a blemish?? I decimated the edge on the Marples in just a few moments. I didn't even get past 3/16" deep into the wood. That's pretty pathetic.
dave
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Bay Area Dave wrote:

Uh, no ... because you didn't say that. You said you have a 3/4" Sears chisel that holds an edge nicely, but that you were using a 3/8" Marples for cutting a mortise.
I don't know about you, but I don't use a 3/4" chisel to cut a 3/8" mortise or vice versa.

I have several recent-vintage Stanleys that I keep ground to fairly steep angles. They work great for pounding into things. I keep my Blue Chips sharpened at pretty low bevel-angles. Guess what? They don't work so great for pounding into things. But they do work well for paring cuts.
Chuck Vance
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Another point of view. . . .
When I made the rocking chair at Homestead Heritage, The class used nothing but blue handled Marples chisels. The chair has 42 M&T joints, all hand made. :-) I wonder how we managed that. There were 10 chairs made in that class.
Having said that, I have purchased some mortise chisels. I tend not to use them because the bench chisels are always out and always scalpel sharp. I learned to keep the stones out on the bench when working, and it is easy to touch up the edge when required. We learned to sharpen chisels and plane irons without grinders or honing jigs at Homestead Heritage. I've started using files to clean up the edges on damaged chisels ala The Furniture Doctor (George Grotz). I really think it is more a matter of technique than some realize.
If I were chopping mortises in mesquite though like you do, I'm sure my attitude would change. Has anybody here tried Jim Cummings instructions for tempering chisels with propane torches. I think I will try it on one of my really soft chisels (old Stanley Defiance) and report back.
Woodworking is largely a matter of personal preferences. I'll spend $140 for a dovetail saw, and $200 for a hand plane, but I've never purchased a $100 chisel.

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Lowell Holmes wrote:

You have my utmost respect. :-)

Your technique is probably better than mine. I find that I need the thick cross-section and square sides to make my mortises come out halfway decent.

Please do. While I don't know that I'll experiment much with the metallurgical side of things, it might be interesting to see the results and compare that back to the chisels we buy and see if we can draw conclusions on how they were tempered. (Or why we report such wildly different results with some of the same brands of chisels.)

Funny you should mention that. I guess I've figured mine are "good enough", because I'm like you. I don't think I've spent more than $40 for a chisel, and that was for a big old 1-1/2" honker I bought when building my bench.
But they still seem to do what I need them to do. Go figure. :-)
Chuck Vance
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Knowing the kind of wood work that you do, I doubt it. I really was trying to make a point to others. I learned to use hand tools at Homestead Heritage and I use the techniques they taught me along with other things I've picked up. I really am a duffer, but occasionally I turn out something nice. We all are more comfortable with the techniques we know, but that doesn't mean one is necessarily better than others. I would hesitate making something out of mesquite. I suppose I will have to try. I make Shaker style candle boxes because it gives me practice in making dovetails. The females in my family and acquaintances seem to appreciate them, so the boxes never just sit around. Ladies it seems, really like little boxes almost as much as young boys do. :-) I wonder if I could do one using mesquite ? . . .

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I don't see why not. Mesquite is such a joy to work (well except when you're working from a log and you've got to deal with all the dirt that gets into the wormholes). It's dead stable, smells nice when working, is hard but not splintery, and has just enough grain reversals to keep things interesting. :-)
If you learned at Homestead Heritage, I daresay you've learned some excellent technique and it's no accident that you turn out nice things. Do you have any pics of your candle boxes? That might be something fun to try as a gift for SWMBO. I think she's getting tired of me giving her jewelry boxes. ;-)
Chuck Vance
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chuck, chuck, chuck. I was TESTING the Sears to see that it could handle the same wood under the same conditions. I wasn't doing a real project!
dave
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