Bench Chisel Set - Fine Woodworking Tool Review
  • Pin It
Bench Chisel Set

Blue Spruce Toolworks - Bench Chisel Set

Blue Spruce's bench chisels are pricey, but they are unrivaled

$435 (set of 5) (As of 9/1/2009)

(3 user reviews) Write a Review

Editor's Review: Bench Chisels

by Chris Gochnour

review date: September 1, 2009

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

read full review

Editor Test Results:

Toughness Ranking N/A

Manufacturer Specifications

Manufacturer Blue Spruce Toolworks
Manufacturer's Web Site
Manufacturer's Phone Number 503-631-7485
Blade Size 5 in. long
Rockwell Hardness Rc60
Materials A2 steel blades; curly maple handles

I recently bought a set of 6 Blue Spruce dovetail chisels. I am not a professional woodworker, but I have owned a variety of chisels and I only recently discovered there are chisels available specifically for dovetails and in addition, the choice of chisel manufacturers is staggering. After consulting professional woodworkers I decided to buy Blue Spruce; I have not been disappointed, they cut with ease and the hollow ground edge provides excellent clearance in tight corners. They are also a joy to hold and behold.

My wife purchased the Blue Spruce Bench Chisel set for me after I showed her the review in FWW. I expected to drool over them and then return them as an extravagance. However, these chisels are so amazing I had to keep them. The metal work on the blades is the best I have seen and the handles are beautiful. The feel in the hand is the best I have ever experienced and they cut like "buttah". These chisels are more than just "fancy and expensive". They raise the bar for what a good chisel should be. I have been a professional guitarmaker for 37 years and have tried all the great North American, British, German and Japanese chisels, and the Blue Spruce have no peer. Treat yourself---you're worth it! Roger Sadowsky New York City

I bought a 1/2" Chisel from classic hand tools last Monday. its beautiful to hold and work with it feels balanced and guides through hard maple end grain a pleasure to use. I have bought it primarily for cutting lapped dovetails and preferred it over the other options. blue spruce' dovetail chisel with its thin blade and hollow grove sides just look and felt to fragile for daily use and the Lie Nielsen just did not feel right for me and the blade sides are not so tightly chamfered. Although I did go for a Lie Nielsen fishtail which I felt would give the same finish to my work as the blue spruce and save a few pounds on the way.

Click on a thumbnail to see a full sized image

Become a Better Woodworker

Save up to 56% on Fine Woodworking