Tool Test – Blue Spruce Dovetail Chisels

From April 2007 Popular Woodworking

Using a garden-variety bevel-edge chisel when dovetailing can be frustrating. The bevels on the side of the tool are supposed to allow you to clean any junk out of the acute corners of the joint. But the problem is that the bevels are too chunky and you end up damaging the walls of your tails. Many woodworkers will grind down the side bevels of their chisels to a knife edge or they will purchase a Japanese chisel specifically designed for this task.
 
But now Blue Spruce Toolworks (makers of our favorite marking knife) makes chisels in four sizes ( 1/8″, 1/4″, 3/8″ and 1/2″) that are perfectly suited to dovetailing. Not only are the chisels ground down to a knife edge on the sides, but those side bevels are actually concave. There is little opportunity for you to bruise the side of your joint with these tools. And perhaps because of the reduced friction, the tools seem to glide through the work.

Hands down, these are the most gorgeous chisels I have ever handled. They are perfect in every detail and under the highest scrutiny. The ferrules have one closed end (an unusual detail) and are fitted perfectly over the tool’s tang. The cocobolo handles are exquisitely turned, with a dainty 1/8″ bead tucked behind the ferrule. These tools are simply over the top in every way.

Do they cut wood, you might ask? Indeed. The blades are made from A2 steel, which, when ground at a 30Ã?° angle, is stout. The two sets of chisels we have tested were heat-treated well , they weren’t warped in any way and the unbeveled side of the tool was dead flat.

You probably don’t need the whole set ($220), but having one in your arsenal (I’d get the 1/4″ or the 3/8″) would be a worthwhile extravagance. Highly recommended.

, Christopher Schwarz

More information from Blue Spruce Toolworks