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Blue Spruce paring chisels: too pretty to use?

comments (3) November 4th, 2010 in blogs

MKenney Matthew Kenney, senior editor
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Blue Spruce long paring chisels. As beautiful as these chisels are, they are tools, so were going to put them to work and let you know what we think. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Blue Spruce long paring chisels. As beautiful as these chisels are, they are tools, so we're going to put them to work and let you know what we think.

Photo: John Tetreault

If you've ever used a true paring chisel you know how wonderful they are at the job they're made for. The thin blade with a low bevel angle is better for paring than a standard bench chisel, but more importantly, at least in my experience, is their overall length. They are often at least 12 in. long and that extra length makes them far easier to finesse. I've used Japanese paring chisels (loved them) and some western style ones, too (didn't like them). Blue Spruce Toolworks recently sent use a set of their long paring chisels. The seven chisels arrived in two separate boxes. When I opened them, the first thing I noticed was all the straw they are packed in to protect them during shipping. I couldn't see the chisels at all, but that only spiked my excitement. So I carefully dug my hand into the straw and pulled out the first chisel: the 1 in. wide version. Here is what ran through my head: My lord this is a gorgeous tool. And it is. The African Blackwood handle is polished and fit my hand wonderfully. The long, thin blade was tantalizing. The most intriguing feature of the blade was the edge. Rather than having a straight bevel like you find on most every other chisel, the Blue Spruce chisels have a scalloped out edge. And there is just the tiniest whisper of a flat at the bottom. That, I think, will prove to be a bit benefit when you're trying to get into really tight corners, like when you're cleaning out between dovetails. (It's also a drop dead sexy design touch.) Of course, the real test of a tool is how well it works. And that's what were going to find out next. (Around here no tool is too pretty to use. If it is, it's not a tool.) We're sending them out to longtime Fine Woodworking contributor Chris Gochnour. He knows a thing or two about testing and using chisels. His review will run in the magazine.

If any of you already have the chisels, let us know what you think. Do you like them?



posted in: blogs, Blue Spruce, paring chisels


Comments (3)

ShawnRussell ShawnRussell writes: I have a few of Dave's dovetail chisels and the pair of skew chisels. I have not used many other chisels, but of those used, Dave's chisels perform well. Do they perform better than other chisels, that I am not experienced enough to say. What I do know is I love the way they feel and it does make the work more enjoyable.

I akin the similarity to a LN and Ron Brese smoother. Does Ron's plane cut much better, not really sure, but man is it a lot of fun to make shavings.

Back to the chisels.. The most impressive feature is how little wear the handles show. I can only guess I have whacked the 3/8" chisel over a thousand times in the few months I have had them, and I barely starting to see where they are not as shiny as the rest of the handle, but there has been no bruising on the wood itself. However he worked to add resin to the wood, it makes for one incredibly strong handle.
Posted: 2:23 pm on November 22nd

tirebob tirebob writes: While I do not specifically own the longer paring variety, I too am lucky enough to have many of Mr. Jeske's amazing chisels, from Bench to skew to fishtail to dovetail... The quality is second to none and the feel when is hand is absolutely wonderful! If only my skills could one day come close to matching the quality of his products...
Posted: 1:56 pm on November 13th

renaissanceww renaissanceww writes: I have a few of Dave's work of art chisels. My favorite by far is the 1" wide long paring chisel. It is so well put together and balanced that it feels like an extension of your hand. The steel quality is excellent and these hold and edge for a long time. The extra length provides great leverage when working on delicate parts and it slices through end grain beautifully with the lower bevel angle. Truly a game changer in my shop.
Posted: 4:09 pm on November 4th

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Blog edited by Fine Woodworking associate editor Matt Kenney.