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Blue Spruce Toolworks, the hand-tool maker in Oregon City, Ore., has added a set of bench chisels to its line. All the chisels are 10-3/8 in. long with 5-in.-long blades made from A2 steel (to hold an edge longer) tempered to Rc60. At the socket, the blades are 1/4 in. thick, tapering to about 11/64 in. at the end, making them great for getting into dovetail corners. The bevels are ground and honed to 30º. The handles are gracefully turned from highly figured, curly maple. Acrylic resin is fused into the maple, making the handles extra durable with a brilliant sheen that pops the grain.
The blades had dead-flat faces, so I didn’t have to do any lapping. All the bevels were accurately ground and honed. And the side bevels were perfectly tapered along their length. Added to all that, the edges were slightly softened, so they felt good in the hand. These chisels are rugged enough to withstand heavy mallet blows, yet refined enough to provide the agility and control needed to make a light paring cut. I enjoyed the fine balance of the tools. Held near the bevel or by the handle, the chisel felt light and easy to control.
In short, these bench chisels are as good as any on the market, but you’ll pay for perfection. Blue Spruce makes them in five sizes, ranging from 1/4 in. to 3/4 in. A set of five sells for $435. For more information, go to www.thebestthings.com.
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