Thursday, May 28, 2009
REVIEW: Lie-Nielsen Bench Chisels
What can I say about Lie-Nielsen's Bench Chisels that has not been said many times before. Of all the chisels I have used these are by far the best feeling in the hand. The balance is great. When chopping dovetails I would always have a hand that was cramped up. My hands would struggle with the top heaviness of the chisel, not with the Lie-Nielsen's. The handle is designed with a flat top to make it ideal for striking.
Another thing that sets the Lie-Nielsen's apart from other manufactures is finish of the chisel. There are no deep milling marks to have to hone away. This makes the chisels look and feel better. When I started sharpening the chisels I was able to start on a 4000 grit waterstone, even for flattening the backs. There aren't many chisels around like that. On a set of 5 chisels that can save your hours in front of your stones. Each chisel only takes about 10 minutes to set up.
Something else I hope to do in the future is to buy a long paring handle for my chisels. Since these chisels are socket chisels you can switch handles with just a few raps of the handle. So in just a few seconds you could turn your bench chisels in to a paring chisel. Now I'm not sure that geometry of the Lie-Nielsen chisels is idea for paring, but I think it will work just fine for most applications. Most prefer a thinner blade that has a 20-25 degree angle on a dedicated paring chisel.
There are a lot of folks who think thise chisels just aren't worth the money, that all your buying is the name. These are folks who have never used Lie-Nielsen Tools. Though they are pricey, I know I'll never have to replace them. I'll get to enjoy more woodworking and less sharpening and maintenance. I don't think you can go wrong with this set of chisels.
PS. Tom, if your out there...I would sure love to try one of those new fishtail chisels. :-)