In this guide we’ll look at some of the best wood chisel sets for the UK market.
I’ve compared the number of chisels, handle material, build quality and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
What is the Best Wood Chisel Set?
In a rush? Here’s my top choice…
The best wood chisel set for the UK market!
A tool that’s as old as carpentry itself, the woodworking chisel is still one of the most used bits of kit in any professional’s toolbox. When it comes to quality tool steel and a reliable handle, you can’t go wrong with the Irwin Marples MS500 chisel set. I wouldn’t use anything else for site carpentry.
Everything I Recommend
More Detailed Wood Chisel Set Reviews
Irwin Marples MS500 Splitproof Bevel Chisel Set in Wooden Box, 8 Pieces Review
The Irwin Marples MS500 set is probably the best chisel set because they’re made from quality carbon steel with a comfortable grip and are pretty much perfect to use straight from the box.
Easily two of the biggest and best known names in the chisel world, Irwin and Marples are bywords for quality when it comes to cutting edge hand tools. With hundreds of years of experience between them, it makes sense that they produce one of the best chisel sets that I’ve had a chance to try out.
This extensive set of eight quality high carbon steel chisels have been drop forged from a single piece and tempered so you can sharpen them for years without worrying about cutting into softer steel. It’s forward thinking like that that makes these such a joy to own.
The sure grip handles are comfortable and help to cut down on vibration when used with a hammer or mallet. Thanks to the striking cap, you can use a steel hammer on the end and they’re not going to split on you.
What I like most about these chisels is that they’re fine to use straight from the case. Woodworking purists will still want to hone them to perfection, but they’re deadly sharp and the machine finishing is as good as it gets. An excellent set of chisels.
Ezarc 6pc Wood Chisel Set – with Black Walnut Handle in Wood Storage Box Review
Specialising in all sorts of quality steel cutting tools, EZARC have made a gorgeous set of traditional woodworking chisels that you’ll want to keep and hand down to your grandchildren.
Starting with the handles, because they’re what make this one of the best chisel sets that I’ve seen for a while, you can see they’re well designed and fit in the hand comfortably. The black walnut is an attractive deep brown colour and suits anyone who likes the traditional feel of a wooden handle.
The steel used for the chisel blades is Chrome Vanadium, prized for its hardness and used in a lot of tools. These chisels will keep a good edge with regular sharpening, and the set of six you get with the kit are ideal for most smaller woodworking jobs.
Supplied in a handsome dark wood case, you can display them on your workbench or roll them up in a tool roll if you like. Personally, I’d have them out on show because I like the handles so much.
OX Tools OX-P371005 Pro 5 Piece Wood Chisel Set in Case Review
Australian tool makers OX has made it their business to make the best wood chisels and other hand tools since they started back in 1974. Designed to be tough, durable and robust, this set of chisels feels like it will last a lifetime.
The set of five chisels I tried out are built tough. The carbon steel has been hardened and tempered, and the factory grind on the edges is incredibly sharp- it’s a good thing they come with end caps on them.
The handles are pleasing as well- made from clear acetate, you can see the tang reaches all the way up to the solid looking striking plate. The bright blue rubber handles are soft grip and should stop them from getting lost too.
The whole design makes these feel like heavy-duty woodworking chisels more suited for site carpentry than fine joinery, but it’s up to you what you use them for. The Velcro close tool case will keep them all together in your toolbox as well.
VonHaus 10pc Chisel Set – with Sharpening Stone, Honing Guide and Storage Case Review
Manchester’s homeware and tool specialists VonHaus have made a solid reputation for themselves over the past few years, and this set of wood working chisels is surprisingly good straight from the box.
The ten Chrome Vanadium chisels are well made, with a slight concave grind to the back side which you’d only expect to see from the best bevel edge chisel sets normally. The factory grind is fairly good, but you’ll probably want to hone them to your liking anyway.
The rubberised handles provide plenty of grip, and with nicely centred striking caps, you can hammer away at them without worrying you’ll split anything.
And when they lose their edge, you can make use of the included sharpening stone and guide to sharpen them back to their former glory. It’s a decent aluminium oxide stone, and even though the guide is plastic, it’s accurate enough.
Stanley Dynagrip 5 pc Chisel and Strike Cap Set with Accessories Review
Even the most amateur DIY woodworker has heard of STANLEY- one of the most recognisable and trusted names in the game, they’ve produced scores of the best woodworking chisel sets in their time.
First off, STANLEY’s trademark Dynagrip handles are used in tons of their hand tools, and I think they’re great. They’re comfortable and ergonomic, made from plastic and rubber with a positive grip shape that lets you relax your hand a bit but still get maximum accuracy with every cut with one of these chisels.
The carbon steel chisel blades come with end protectors on them, which is always a good safety feature, and they look to be well ground from the factory. The factory grind shouldn’t matter though, because the STANLEY set comes with a sharpening stone, oil and accurate metal sharpening guide.
The only let down in my eyes is the plastic case- it’s not a handsome wooden display case or site-proof tool roll, and I suspect it won’t last too long with the normal drops and knocks that tools seem to get.
Draper Expert 8 Piece Wood Chisel Set Review
Another big name in the DIY world, Draper’s Expert line of tools are honest, robust and good value for money. The wood chisel kit I tried out is precisely this- you get a good set of chisels with decent handles for not a lot of money.
I like the range of sizes included in the set- even though you only get six chisels, Draper have covered a lot of ground in between them.
The Chrome Vanadium blades have been hardened and tempered, then ground and coated in clear lacquer for corrosion resistance, so they should go the distance without rusting out. The soft grip handles are seriously comfortable, but without a striking cap on the end you should avoid using anything other than a soft mallet on them.
The chisels I looked at don’t have the best factory finish on them, but Draper have included an aluminium oxide sharpening stone and metal sharpening guide which will really help with getting them to a decent sharpness for work.
Ticoftech 6 Pc Wood Chisel Set with Woodworking Tools and Accessories Review
If you want a decent set of woodworking chisels in a set, but you don’t want to drop too much cash on them, then the TICOFTECH wood chisel set is a solid buy. Supplied in a zip up case, they’re surprisingly good quality at this price point.
The Chrome Vanadium blades have a reasonable factory ground sharpness to them, but you could easily hone them to a fine point without too much work. The handles are made from a rubberised plastic material that’s comfortable and easy to hang on to. They’ve even added a small striker plate to the ends.
What makes this little set interesting is what TICOFTECH have included- two carpenter’s pencils and a 12” combination square. Anyone who does woodwork will know how handy they can be, so even if these two are just spares, they’re handy to have around.
Things to Know Before Buying a Wood Chisel Set
If there’s one thing to learn about chisels, it’s sharpening them. A sharp chisel isn’t just for looks though- it will cut better and stop chipping and tearing wood when you’re working with it.
Knowing a little bit about steel will help you choose the best wood chisel set.
Mild steel is too soft to be used for tools, so you need to add more carbon to the mix.
High carbon steel is hard and can be sharpened to an exceptionally fine point, perfect for cutting through wood on the end of a chisel.
Chrome Vanadium is a steel alloy that can be sharpened to a fine point and is hard enough to be used for tools.
There’s a huge range of tool steels out there to fit every application and wallet size, all you need to remember is to keep your chisels sharp.
Traditionally, carpenters and joiners use a wooden mallet to push their chisels into wood- the softer striking surface of the mallet does less damage to the wooden handle of the chisel and helps them last for longer.
With the addition of a steel striking cap, you’re allowed to be a bit rougher on a chisel, which is great when all you’ve got to hand is a steel hammer. Tough chisels have plenty of uses outside of fine woodworking, so a striking cap just makes them even more versatile.
I could write an entire article on the many ways to properly sharpen a chisel, and there are hundreds of articles and videos out there, all with different approaches to getting the perfect grind. The standard grind is somewhere between 25° and 30°, but some pro woodworkers get technical with micro bevels and asymmetrical grinds that are wonderful, but not very practical for the everyday DIYer.
Some of the best woodworking chisel sets come with a sharpening stone and a sharpening guide. My advice is to use it until you become comfortable with the grinding process, then you can probably sharpen your chisels by feel alone. Practise makes perfect, and if you regularly sharpen your chisels, you’ll get the feel for it.
If you approach sharpening your chisels in the same way you’d approach sanding a piece of wood, then you’ll get the best results:
Start with a coarse sharpening stone, lubricated with either water or oil, by keeping the bevelled edge flat to the stone and working the blade in a figure of eight pattern.
When you’re happy that the coarse stone has done its bit, move up to a smoother stone with a higher grit number, and repeat the sharpening process. Some sharpening stones are double sided, which makes this step a bit easier.
When you’re done with your sharpening stones, you can finely hone the blade by stropping it on a piece of leather. This step isn’t necessary unless you are desperate for a mirror finish. Just sharpen your chisels for as long as you think they need.
Wood Chisel Set FAQs
Chisel blades need to be sharp, and you need to be able to re-sharpen them. A lot. Unless you’re a professional woodworker, you just need decent carbon steel or Chrome Vanadium blades that you can sharpen with a stone yourself.
Traditional chisel handles are made from turned and shaped hard wood. Beechwood has been a popular tool handle wood for hundreds of years, but almost any hardwood will do fine. Modern chisel handles have taken advantage of thermoplastic elastomers, or rubberised plastics, to create handles that are soft on the hands but last a long time. The best handle for you is what feels comfortable.
I firmly believe that a sharp tool is a safe tool. More accidents are caused by dull tools and knives than sharp ones, because when you must force a blade through a workpiece, there’s more chance of slipping.
A chisel is as safe as any other bladed tool, if you follow the safety advice supplied with your chisel set. Always keep your hands and body behind the cutting edge, and wear correct personal protective equipment.
Some DIYers and woodworkers will use a bench grinder to do a quick and dirty sharpen on their chisels, but it’s not recommended. A bench grinder will rapidly heat up your chisel and can ruin the temper on the end of it, making it useless as a cutting tool. The heat can also create sparks and hot shards that can ignite sawdust and cause workshop fires. Learn how to use a sharpening stone, it’s gentler on your tools and a lot safer.