More On Narex Chisels

As I noted yesterday, there are some issues with my Narex chisels. There’s a hollow just behind the edge. It’s on every single chisel.

It also seems that this is a fairly widely known problem.

So why do they get good reviews?

My guess, at least at this point, is that people are willing to sacrifice the time-cost in order to have a new tool that at a minimum of money-cost. In other words, they wanted a new tool so bad that they were willing to put forth the time to make it useable.

And it does appear that the Narex chisels are great tools once you get them ready to roll.

The problem is I spent 10-15 minutes on 120 grit sandpaper the damn thing still had a low spot 1/4″ behind the edge. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but it was still there. They all have the same dishing issue.

Nope. Sorry. Not playing that game myself.

But others are, and it’s boggling my mind. Don’t get me wrong, I’m appreciative of cheap tools, but these are people who are on woodworking forums and sites, people who you would think would know how these tools are supposed to work.

Why do they not care about the time-cost on these tools?

It boggles my mind, to be honest.

I won’t judge them, mind you. It’s their money and their time. They can do whatever they want with either, and if that’s to spend it on a tool like this, so be it. It’s not like I’m reading that the tools universally let you down–though I’ve read some reports of even that–so I guess you can go for it.

There are other options, though. Irwin’s version of the old Marple’s chisels is on Amazon. A set of six is less than $60, and I’ve heard good things about those (and I might pick up a set for review purposes). You can go vintage on this if you want. You can just buy the Lie-Nielson or Veritas chisel you need right now and slowly build up a set of those.

There are a lot of ways to build up a toolkit at this point that I think it would be a mistake to go with a tool that’s known to have a single issue time and time again and the company has done nothing to fix it, apparently. What other problems have they failed to fix?

The funny thing?

My chisels are the only really new tools that I own at the moment. Everything else I have, with the exception of a block plane that I don’t really use, is vintage. Vintage hasn’t let me down.

But the question is:

Are flat Backs All That Important On a Chisel?

Honestly, I think so.

I know some woodworkers may disagree, but I’m not exactly one of them. I’ll admit I could be wrong, but with some examination of things, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s better to be wrong about needing it flat than to find out the hard way that it should.

This isn’t rocket science, after all. There’s no one saying you shouldn’t have a flat-backed chisel, but there are people saying it doesn’t matter.

Well, if it doesn’t matter, a flat back hurts nothing. If it does, I’m covered.

And the Narex?

They don’t have flat backs. I can probably get them flat over time, but I don’t know that I want to put that much effort into the blasted things.

But, I will. They’re what I have, and I’m not ready to go and buy a whole new set of tools. I’ll pick up some vintage socket chisels to round out a set of those, then scrounge up some matching handles for all of them, but that’s a project for down the road.

For now, these are what I have, and so I’m stuck with them.

My hope is that once they are flat, I won’t have anything else to worry about. I’ll have tools ready to roll and will serve me well for the rest of my life. While I’ve heard a few QC issues about these tools, they’re not the norm, so I’m inclined to believe that these can be serviceable.

But it remains to be seen just how blasted long it’ll take to get them here.

As it stands, though, my 3/4″ chisel was lost in the move somehow. I’d planned on replacing it with a Narex.

I won’t, now.

Instead, I’ll either replace it with a vintage tool or buy a Lie-Nielson or Veritas chisel.

Or, more correctly stated, I’ll buy a vintage tool and a Lie-Nielson or Veritas chisel.

Yes, I’m a sucker for old tools. I make no apologies for that.


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