Tool Test: WoodRiver Bevel-Edge Socket Chisels
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 1⁄2“ chisel and a 3⁄4“ 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 1⁄32“). 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.
This article appeared in the August 2018 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine.
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