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Thread: New Narex Chisels

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Decatur, Alabama
    Posts
    518

    New Narex Chisels

    I just got a set of narex chisels in from lee valley, the ones they had on special. They look great, but I'm very unhappy with them. I was worried sharpening them, they sharpen extremely fast... I had planned on using them by hand only and sharpening to 20 degrees.

    Flattened the back, cut the main bevel down to 20 degrees on my worksharp, then put about a 21-22 degree secondary bevel with water stones up to a 8000 norton. 10" long paring cut on end grain, and the edge was chipped in 3 places. Little frustrating. So I resharpened them to 25 degree secondary bevel, all the way through the stones. Did a short pair on end grain, then pressed the chisel by hand into the face of a board, broke the corner off. I was barely into the surface, about like my first cut at a mark line to establish a shoulder.

    I also got a couple mortise chisels for my brother's birthday present, decided to sharpen them up at the same time for him. 25 degree bevel, pressed into the face of a board by hand, broke a 1/16" chip off the corner.

    I'm used to pretty cheap chisels, I have a set of footprint chisels. About $10-15 each, nothing fancy but ok. They perform way better than these narex I just got. I don't know if I got a bad batch, or did narex get to popular and outsource? Anyone else have problems with the new bevel edge narex? Going to see if we have a hardness tester at work to check the steel hardness, and call lee valley in the morning.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Inside the Beltway
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    2,666
    Jeb,

    I found this on their site. Don't know if it means anything:

    "Made by a small firm in the Czech Republic, these are inexpensive but good-quality utility chisels. Imperial sizes listed are nominal.

    These Bevel-Edge Chisels have been discontinued. Limited stock. We will have a new style available in mid-July, 2011."

    I guess that could mean a lot of things.

    Thanks,

    Bill

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Villa Park, CA
    Posts
    1,407
    Don't give up yet. I had some Henry Taylor carving tools that did the same thing. Turned out that the edge was over hardened. Once I ground the hard edge off, the rest of the tool was very good.

    Try taking a bit off one of the chisels and see if the steel a little further in is better.

    Mike
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
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    12,247
    Wow Jebb i bought the same set. I have the mortise ones and figured they were good so why not get the others.

    Did not sharpen or use them yet but feel the sudden need to run to the shop and test sharpen them and give them the once over like you done.

    Let us know what Lee Valley said?

    I know one good thing with them is they will take them back if you aint happy with their product. They want people to be happy from what i know.

    But i would rather see the chisels work out.

    Will try mine and see what gives and report back on your post.
    cheers

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Decatur, Alabama
    Posts
    518
    Didn't get to hardness test the chisel today, the guy that has the tester wasn't at work. I want to try mike's suggestion, and check hardness monday I guess before I call. I could easily just have tips that are to brittle, or a bad batch of chisels.

    It's frustrating though. Dust collector electrical board failure last week (grizzly promptly replaced) and chisels this week. Narex has a good reputation from what I've read, and really great pricing. The finish and all is excellent for a $8 chisel too.

    I'm going to wait to call lee valley until I can verify the hardness and sharpen it a little further in. I'll keep you posted though.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Posts
    1,103

    New Narex Chisels

    I might be a little hesitant Jeb, to sharpen off the bad edge until you talk with Lee Valley. They may want to be able to see what is happening to the chisels with no alteration. Maybe try sharpening one as Mike talked about, to see if his discovery proves the same. Lee Valley may just replace the set.
    "You got to learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make them all yourself". (Author unknown)

    "Time flies like..... an arrow,,,Fruit flies like..... a banana." Groucho Marx

    Ah,,,to live in Paradise!

    Registered voting member

    Fighting for all I am worth, and praying every day.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Villa Park, CA
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    I can't imagine that LV would complain about you grinding one chisel back to see if the problem is the end being too hard.

    Mike
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Decatur, Alabama
    Posts
    518
    I did sharpen one of them further back a couple times. Ended up having to take about 1/8" off the end of the chisel before it was comparible to chisels I already had.

    My test was:
    1) Grind 1/16" off the end of the Narex chisel
    2) Sharpen the Narex and Footprint chisels, both 1/4" to 25 degeres
    3) Pair about 20 cuts along the end grain of a 4" wide oak board

    At this point my footprint chisel I have used is getting noticably harder to push but no obvious damage to the tip. The narex has cracking on the end. You could see the edge rolling over to the flat side of the chisel, and some cracks on the tip. Ground 1/16" off and repeated the test. The second test, both feel/appear about the same.

    4) Hand cut a mortise with each about 1/2" deep and 1" long.

    Both chisels at this point are done, used really further than I would normally push them without resharpening. I'm happy with them other than having to grind so much off the ends. Hand cutting mortises without drills isn't the best application for a bevel chisel to me, so I wasn't supprised to see them chipped a little. I didn't get any major chipping on the corners like the first sharpening.

    I tried a picture or two, but I couldn't focus close enough to be able to see the tips.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Delton, Michigan
    Posts
    17,470
    jeb i would contact LeeValley and tell them your tests and what you found out.. you just saved them the time of testing in my opinion.. and see what they have to say..i am willing to wager they will take very good care of you in this
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
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    12,247
    Jebb I am glad to hear the news that you got them to work.

    On the other hand do you think you being fair when you chop mortises with a pairing chisel and expect the blade to stand up.?

    I got a set of the Narex mortise chisels before the paring ones came out and they real nice and have the material behind them to back the edge.

    Still the endgrain test one would expect to see it handle with ease.

    Funny thing is i found the same issue a while back on some old WW2 versions of Sorby Chisels my Dad handed down.

    I found it required a steep angle to get them to not chip out on end grain oak.

    Now i might just try grinding off a bit and seeing if the issue changes.

    A paring chisel ain much good if its got to be set at a high angle to protect the edge. Kinda defeats its functionality in my view.

    So i am pleased you found the cure. I have not had chance to test mine but be sure i will and let you know. I dont want to own more of what i already have.

    I agree with everyone let LV know. I would but until i experience the same issue i cannot in all fairness to them phone and say i heard....


    BTW they already sold out of the large sizes seems the deal on these has had many scrambling to get them at that price. They getting more in for Nov and those who order the full set of 10 will get sent the first seven and the 3 larger ones later.
    cheers

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