A wood chisel is a tool with a shaped cutting edge on the end of its blade. This allows it to carve, cut, and form intricate details in a piece of wood and it can be done by using your hand’s force or utilizing a mallet or a hammer.
With the right use, you can use it for various applications such as cutting, chopping, paring, and scraping. It can also aid you in creating some carpentry joints such as dovetail, housing joint, butterfly joint, mortise, and tenon joint.
Nonetheless, in order to do this, you need the right type of wood chisels ranging from bench chisel, firmer chisel, mortise chisel, butt chisel, paring chisel, dovetail chisel, corner chisel, slick chisel, and framing chisel.
Purchasing them individually is a good choice. It will allow you to get just the specific types of wood chisels you need. However, wood chisel sets are also a good option as most of them offer the most used chisels at reasonable prices.
Before the purchase, however, there are important points that should be taken into consideration. This includes the handle and blade material, price, type of chisels included in the package, and the brand’s reputation as it will assure you of the product’s quality.
One of the best wood chisel sets that we can recommend to you is the STANLEY 750 Series Sweetheart Chisel Set. Besides the fact that it comes from a well-known brand, it offers a reasonable price for the performance and overall quality of the set. It ticks all the essential boxes from the most commonly used sizes of chisels you need to blade retention to ergonomic handles.
Nonetheless, if you need more options, here are the other sets we reviewed for your convenience:
Best Wood Chisels Comparison & Rating
1. STANLEY 750 Series Sweetheart Chisel Set
1/4",1/2'', 3/4'', and 1''
High-carbon Chrome Steel
This set comes with 4 pieces of wood chisels of varying sizes. The set has 1/4",1/2'', 3/4'', and 1'' chisels which are commonly used and ideal for most woodworking projects. What we love about this set is that it comes with side bevels that are relatively narrower compared to other chisels available. With this, it can definitely complement intricate projects that need utter care and performance.
The handles are designed to allow consistent grip while being used. The shape prevents slip and keeps your fingers at the right place, especially when force is used to help the chisel penetrate hardwoods. The hornbeam material is substantial and the tips of the handles are wide. Given this, it can take poundings from a rubber hammer with ease. Overall, the handle and the entire body of each chisel are well-balanced.
On the other hand, the high carbon chrome steel performs really great and can handle relatively tough wood materials. When we tried it, it managed to keep its edges sharp for a relatively long time before we felt the need to sharpen it. Sharpening the blades, furthermore, is a breeze. With the right flattening of the back and honing of the bevel, you’ll get the optimum results you are looking for.
2. Hurricane 4-Piece Wood Chisel Set
1/4",1/2'', 3/4'', and 1''
High-impact Transparent PVC
The Hurricane brand is known for its striking, yet reliable handles, and this set doesn’t disappoint. The handles of the tools are made from high-impact transparent PVC and detailed for additional texture and grip. Most of all, their construction comes in unbeatable quality and they can even stabilize vibrations when hit by a heavy mallet. You can pound on them all day and they’ll still be in perfect condition.
Furthermore, the forged chrome-vanadium steel blades of the set come with rather decent sharpness. The chisels feature narrow beveled edges which give you great control over your movements. Each one produces precise cuts and carving actions which is great for sensitive projects. Moreover, the smallest size can also serve as a paring chisel tool.
3. Narex Mortise Chisel Set
3/16", 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2"
This mortise set from Narex can definitely withstand blows from a mallet that other traditional bench chisels can’t. Each item here has a thick blade and reinforced handle which are requirements for mortising purposes.
The blades have 25-degree bevel edges that are made from chrome-manganese steel. The material is resistant to corrosion and with proper sharpening, it can deliver that razor-sharp performance at all times.
On the other hand, the beech handles that are 6 1/8 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter really impressed us with the secure tang construction. The handles are even supported by 2 steel ferrules which even strengthen them more. Regardless of how much we pounded it with a heavy mallet, the handles stayed vigorous and aided the edges very well in handling wood materials with ease.
Moreover, it won/’t just provide you one mortise chisel, but 4 different sizes which will add extra convenience to your projects. It comes with a 3/16-inch chisel, a 1/4-inch chisel, a 3/8-inch chisel, and a 1/2-inch chisel.
4. Narex Premium 5-Piece Paring Chisel Set
1/4", 1/2", 3/4", 1”, and 1-1/4"
Narex really knows what woodworkers need by delivering this magnificent set that will effectively aid you in paring tasks. It comes with 5 paring chisels of different sizes: 1/4", 1/2", 3/4", 1”, and 1-1/4". With this, you have the freedom to choose the sizes you need for your detailed projects.
As for the quality, the set doesn’t disappoint. The 9 1/2" long blades are made from a blend of chrome and manganese which gives you astounding attributes. The blades are decently resistant to rust and hard enough despite having thin. Of course, the set is not for mallet-related tasks, given the thin construction. But this is the same thing you will love about it as it can work magic in delicate wood pieces that need detailing or shaving work.
Furthermore, the 5 3/4” long handles are made of European hornbeam. Feels solid and your hands will get a good grip. The texture really helps which is also a great plus. They are also supported by brass ferrules which will help the tools prevent splitting.
5. VonHaus 8-Piece Craftsman Woodworking Wood Chisel Set
1/4", 1/2", 3/4", 1", 1-1/4", and 1-1/2"
Chrome Vanadium Steel Alloy
The tools come in a ready-to-use form which is a great plus for beginners who could find the sharpening process a matter of guesswork. Also, comparing it to other sets, the heat-treated, chrome vanadium steel alloy of the VonHaus 8-piece set is rather tougher which means it will take you a long time to sharpen the chisels. Conversely, this also means that the blade retention of the chisels is top of the class.
Its honing guide is truly nice and very helpful. However, while the stone included is a great add-on, we would suggest a better stone instead if you want the maximum sharpness you are looking for. This, nonetheless, doesn’t affect the entire value of the set. This is a small thing compared to the diversity of chisel sizes that you’ll get.
It comes with six chisels in different sizes of 1/4", 1/2", 3/4", 1", 1-1/4", and 1-1/2". The blades will perform with impressive vigor even when used constantly for hardwoods. Really gives you your money’s worth and definitely made to last.
The handles also offer a firm grip and can deal with mallet-related works. The weight of the handles also gives you a relatively firm grip and balanced weight. With this, using the tools for an extended amount of time won’t be a problem at all, and using them for wood-shaping tasks is surprisingly satisfactory.
To top it all, the set comes in a chunky case that, despite its appearance, is very capable of keeping your tools together in a single place. With all of these good points, you wouldn’t believe that it is an entry-level set.
Best Wood Chisels - Buyer's Guide
Commonly, wood chisel sets come with 4 sizes of chisels. This includes 1/4 inch, 1/2 inch, 3/4 inch, and 1-inch chisels. It is not really necessary to get all those 4 sizes but it is better if you have more size options when working on a demanding project. There are also sets that offer a wider variety of sizes such as the VonHaus 8-Piece Craftsman Woodworking Wood Chisel Set that is composed of 1/4", 1/2", 3/4", 1", 1-1/4", and 1-1/2" chisels. However, if it is too much for you, better stick to the set that just offers what you really need.
The handles of chisels will determine not just your comfort but also the tool’s efficiency. Ideally, it is best if you could find chisels that feature carved and shaped handles. Besides the aesthetic, they serve practical purposes that aim to provide comfort and solid grip when working for extended hours.
The material of the handle is also something that needs to be examined, especially if you are planning to use the chisel with a mallet. The material should be able to tolerate the pounding of a hammer or such kind of tool.
Wood materials are commonly used for handles. However, it is best to make sure that the wood used has an impressive reputation when it comes to durability. One great example is the hornbeam which is a very hard timber that is also being used for butchers' chopping blocks, piano hammers, wood screws, coach wheels, and cogs for windmills and watermills.
Hard rubber and high-impact transparent PVC materials are also some of the great choices you can consider. Compared to wood, they have a longer lifespan and can tolerate the presence of harmful elements like water and dirt. Moreover, they are known to absorb and stabilize effectively which makes them ideal for works involving mallets.
Of course, the type of chisel is the major consideration to have in buying a chisel set. This depends on your needs so, make sure you know the demands of your work. You can always use a regular chisel to accomplish your work, but a specialized type of chisel will make your job even better, easier, faster, and more accurate.
The quality of the material in a wood chisel set should always depend on your own preference. Ideally, it is best to have a chisel set that can tolerate multiple uses before having the need to be sharpened. In this case, a chisel made of A2 steel is a good choice. The blade with CR-V casting or coating (an alloy of carbon steel, chrome, and vanadium) is also preferable. CR-V tools can retain sharpness much longer due to the metallurgical properties of chrome and vanadium. However, sharpening them can be a tedious job for some users which is why some individuals do not prefer them. One good example is the Hurricane 4-Piece Wood Chisel Set.
On the other hand, if you want a blade that is more manageable in terms of sharpening, chisels made of 01 carbon steel or soft alloy is ideal. They can be easily sharpened but this also means that you need to do this process more often as they can lose the sharpness of the chisel edge much faster.
Best Wood Chisels - FAQs
In terms of blade retention, look for A2 steel or those that are cast or coated with CR-V. They can retain blade edge efficiently, but sharpening them can take a longer time due to the material’s hard nature.
Ideally, you should never use a metal mallet to pound your wood chisels as it can cause damage to the chisel tool itself. With this, it is better to use wooden, plastic, or rubber mallet. On the other hand, a wood chisel with PVC handle can withstand heavy mallets, though you still need to be careful in using them.
Wood chisels can be used for parring, scraping, and cutting wood in order to create details you need for a wood piece. They can also be used for joint work projects to create various different joint types such as housing joints, butterfly joints, mortise joints, and dovetail joints.
Standard bench and butt chisel should be sharpened at a 25° bevel angle which should be enough for most works. Nonetheless, you can opt for a 30° cutting angle if you want an edge that will last longer.