Blue Spruce Toolworks - Dovetail Chisel - Fine Woodworking Tool Review
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Dovetail Chisel

Blue Spruce Toolworks - Dovetail Chisel

These dovetail chisels feature comfortable cocobolo handles and A-2 steel blades

$230 for a set of four (As of 7/1/2007)

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Editor's Review: Bench Chisels

by Chris Gochnour

review date: July 1, 2007

This chisel is absolutely beautiful and impeccably crafted. The back of the A2 steel blade was dead-flat right out of the box. Its beveled edges taper to a sharp 0.0010 in.—fabulous for dovetailing, yet tricky to hold by its side. The cocobolo handle is the most comfortable of those tested. However, the lack of a bolster and the slightly flexible blade mean you should stick to moderate mallet strikes.

Past review
Fine chisels for finest work
by Rich Macrae

Blue Spruce Toolworks Dovetail Chisel SetA new set of dovetail chisels from Blue Spruce Toolworks includes four standard-size chisels (1/8 in., 1/4 in., 3/8 in., and 1/2 in.), but there’s nothing standard about these tools.

After a quick honing on a fine stone, the tools were ready to go. The A2 steel blades are thin, with concave edges that allow you to reach into the tightest of places. And being made from A2 steel, they hold their edges exceedingly well. The cocobolo handles are not only attractive, they’re also comfortable.

These chisels aren’t made for removing a lot of waste. Rather, they are best-suited for fine, precise joinery work. While I can’t recommend these chisels as a first set, they make perfect supplements to a veteran’s tool collection—a Stradivarius within reach. The set sells for $220, but you can purchase the chisels individually. For information, go to

Photo: Thomas McKenna

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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 1/8 in., 1/4 in., 3/8 in., and 1/2 in. wide, 2-1/2 in. long
Rockwell Hardness N/A
Materials A-2 Steel, Cocobolo

I originally bought the marking knife and was duly impressed with the quality and ergonomics of the tool. I next bought the 3/4 paring chisel and the same high level of quality was present. It takes a good edge and does what it is supposed to do, pare wood. I own many chisels from various current and defunct makers and highly recommend this tool. This chisel is an heirloom that you can use! I am already getting set to order more as time and fiances allow. Thanks to Dave for making quality tools that work as well as they look!

Imagine my surprise when I saw a personalized note from Dave upon opening the box.This is a great product, with outstanding customer support.The tools are beautiful, and the owner backs up the quality with his name.

An email I sent to Blue Spruce Toolworks after receiving a marking knife and the set of dovetail chisels:"I’m primarily interested in function from tools. I find the 'collecting' aesthetic to be somewhat reprehensible in that tools should be just that: Tools. They are not objet d’ art, or, at least, I don’t think they should be.But, I just can’t get over the simple beauty of the tools I received from you. They are stunning, possessing a minimal ornamentation that is perfectly suited to their design.More important, and the reason I ordered them, they are of excellent quality and I hope to get a lot of use out of them before they are, inevitably, passed on to someone else one day."I should also add the the marking knife is showing every sign of becoming one of my all-time favorite tools. The quality of workmanship in most tools made today is just abysmal, and I've become used to shoddiness even when wanting to buy something that will actually be of high quality. Hence, my shock at the overall skill and dedication shown by Blue Spruce Toolworks: even when I want the best, I'm surprised when I actually receive it. They are custom tailored in an off-the-rack world.

I like to indulge myself once a year on my birthday and buy something a bit special. That cant be a bad thing to do right? Last year I chose to get hold of some chisels and I took delivery of a custom paring chisel, a 1/2 inch dovetail chisel and a pair of detail skew chisels from Mr Dave Jeske at Blue Spruce Toolworks.My first impression when they arrived was as good as it gets. Beautifully made with a superb look and feel, they were very sharp and worked well right out of the box. They hold their edge very well in some of the harder timbers Australia has to offer and after nearly a year of use I am well pleased with them still. One thing I did discover is the sharp angle of the grind on the skew chiesls produces a very fine tip that is prone to break off under my (admittedly) heavy handed approach to clearing out sockets in hardwood. With something that fine it pays to be a little more circumspect I think. For me, a lesser grind angle might be a better solution, but that's just me I suspect. My bottom line with these chisels is they are seriously beautiful tools that are obviously made by a craftsman that really strives for quality in design and production and achieves it. I smile every time I pick one of these chisels up and will buy some more tools from Mr Jeske just as soon as my next birthday stash will allow it. Peter Acres

I've had this set for about six months. I would agree that they shouldn't be the first set of chisels to buy unless all you do is very fine work. They are beautiful to look at, work well right out of the box, feel great in the hand, and do a wonderful job of cleaning up dovetails and other small areas. They are individually handmade and the craftsmanship is obvious. Highly recommend

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