The range of chisel prices prompted Rex Alexander to review 17 high-end and low-end models, including Japanese chisels. He limited his evaluation to 1/2-in bench chisels, also called bevel chisels or cabinetmaker’s chisels, and did controlled and uncontrolled testing at his bench and at a lab to gauge how well they held an edge with repeated pounding. He talks about how they are made, discusses different types of handle fittings (such as socket and tang chisels), and explains differences between hand- and machine-forged steel. Alexander tested the chisels on white oak, curly maple, and cedar, and he reports on which tools performed best. The results may surprise you.

From Fine Woodworking #139