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We’re trained to think that a woodworking chisel needs a wood or even a plastic handle. The question is why? One reason is that a good handle will give you finer control of the chisel, but if you don’t need fine control and you’re going to whack the hell out of it with a hammer, why not forgo the handle altogether? At least that’s the theory behind these carpenter’s chisels from Lee Valley.

Even though the chisels are designed to be used and abused, they’re well constructed. Each chisel is forged from one piece of chrome-vanadium steel. The blade is hardened to Rc57-61 so they’ll keep a fine edge, and the shank is kept softer so you can whack them with a hammer and not get shards of metal flying everywhere. So go ahead and pound on, twist, or pry with these chisels.

Made in France, the chisels come in 3/4″, 1″, 1-1/4″, and 1-1/2″ sizes. The full set of four chisels will run you $60, while individually they’ll run you anywhere from $14 to $23, depending on the size.

Carpenter’s Chisels [Lee Valley]

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5 Responses to Where’d The Handle Go?

  1. fred says:

    Old blue Stanley Handyman series chisels wre all-steel construction – but the chisels had a striking head. We still have some and they were actually made of pretty decent steel that holds a decent edge.

    Dasco flooring chisels (some called ripping chisels with a bent neck) and their Electrician Chisels (like the Stanley) were also all steel – for just the reasons you note. They were meant to be struck with a hammer – not a mallet or maul.

  2. David says:

    I agree that a striking head would be an….appreciated option.

  3. Justin says:

    Unless the chisels aren’t hardened, they’re still not appropriate for prying. Hardening them makes the steel brittle. But they are hardened, so save yourself a perfectly good chisel and use a pry-bar.

  4. Marc says:

    I’m pretty sure that if you need to “whack the hell out of it with a hammer” your chisel either isn’t sharp enough or you’re just plain doing it wrong.
    IMO all steel chisels should be stone working tools.

  5. Gary says:

    Those narrow handles don’t look very comfortable to use for very long. Think I’ll keep my pig stickers and my mallet.

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