Stanley - Stanley- Sweetheart Chisels 750 Series
The Stanley 750s series chisels are machined with 30° factory-ground bevels, and reasonably flat backs.
When Stanley stopped making its 750 series of socket chisels more than 40 years ago, the demand didn’t stop. Revered for their quality and price, these chisels have been widely sought-after on the second-hand tool market for years. Now Stanley has revived the 750 series, offering a great tool with a price that’s within reach.
The 750s are manufactured in Sheffield, England, from high-carbon, chrome steel (the originals were made in the United States). They are precisely machined with clean and consistent beveled edges, 30° factory-ground bevels, and reasonably flat backs.
The chisels required a few minutes of sharpening and flattening before use. Most of the blades in the set had very flat backs, but some needed a bit of extra work to flatten. Overall, I gave the set a B for flatness. One other thing you’ll need to do is lightly hammer the handles into the sockets.
What appeals to me most about the new 750s is their form. They are shorter than other chisels I own. The short length, combined with an easy-to-grip hornbeam handle, gives you nimble, finger tip control over the tool, a plus when you’re chopping and trimming dovetails.
The chisels are light, too, making them perfect for chopping tasks that require holding the blade with one hand while tapping with the mallet. It’s easy to register mallet blows against the handle.
To gauge the edge retention of the blades, I put the chisels through a rigorous performance test on cherry and white oak. Using a mallet, I trimmed the ends of the boards. I also drove the tip of the chisel into the wood repeatedly, simulating the dovetailing process. The edge retention of these chisels is very good.
Despite the high quality, the tools come at a reasonable price. You can buy them individually, but a better value is to purchase sets of eight (1/8 in., 1/4 in., 3/8 in., 1/2 in., 5/8 in., 3/4 in., 1 in., and 11/4 in.) or four (1/4 in., 1/2 in., 3/4 in., and 1 in.). The sets are sold with a nice suede tool roll.
When compared with the other chisels I reviewed in 2008 (FWW #200), the Stanleys rank among the best. They are well made, have great form, and offer great value.