Tool Test: WoodRiver Bevel-Edge Socket Chisels - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Tool Test: WoodRiver Bevel-Edge Socket Chisels

 In Shop Blog, Tools, Woodworking Hand Tools

When WoodRiver announced its new socket chisels, I was very intrigued. Price-wise, these chisels fall into the intermediate range – $35-$45 for an individual chisel (depending on size). I picked up a 12 chisel and a 34 chisel to put through the paces.

The chisels are ground from 100 CR-V steel and tempered to a hardness of HRC 58-63. In use, that means the chisels are hardened to hold an edge well while still being able to be sharpened relatively easily.

Out of the package, the backs of the chisels were very nearly flat – just a couple minutes of flattening each for setup (and that might have been overkill on my part). The chisels come ground with a 25° bevel. I put a 30° micro bevel on both chisels, then put them to work. A few things jumped out to me about the blades almost immediately: They’re significantly thicker than the reissued Stanley Sweethearts I’d been using, and the side bevels are ground more steeply (70 degrees vs. 30 degrees on the Sweethearts) with narrow lands (about 132). That blade geometry let me clear out the corners of my dovetails without having to grab a second, smaller chisel.

The chisels come fitted with bubinga handles. They’re a little bigger than other traditional socket chisel handles I’ve used, but they felt good in my hands (and with a socket chisel, you can also turn your own).

These chisels hit the sweet spot of price and materials. If you’re in the market for a new chisel or a complete set, you should definitely take a look.

— Andrew Zoellner


Street price from $35 to $45 each; $150 for set of 4.

bevel edge chisels

WoodRiver Bevel-Edge Socket Chisels

This article appeared in the August 2018 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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Showing 2 comments
  • LewMc

    The set of eight Woodcraft chisels that I purchased required a significant amount of time (4-5 hours) to flatten the backs. This was several years ago however, I do understand that products made on Mondays and Fridays may not be the same quality as on the other days of the week. That being said, this fact may be the reason for MY experience.

  • kameironin

    I recently picked up the boxed set of four (1/4″, 1/2″, 3/4″, and 1″) with some gift cards I’d accumulated. They set up reasonably quickly and have taken and held an edge quite well. I’ve used them for making through mortises and chopping out recessed sockets and I’m pleased with how they’ve performed. I’ll probably pick up the others to fill out the set as I need them.

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