Narex, a Czech Republic brand that specializes in woodworking chisels, recently came out with these new cranked-neck chisels that can be used in ways you wouldn’t dream of using regular wood chisels. The offset blades mean greater handle clearance, allowing you to work in a recess or from the middle of a workpiece if needed.
I own Narex general purpose chisels, mortise chisels, and skew chisels, and am generally pleased with their performance and build quality. Narex is not a super-premium brand, but their chisels are quite decent, especially for the money.
The cranked-neck chisels feature short blades that are made from chrome-manganese steel with hardness of RC60-62. The handles are made from unfinished hornbeam and brass-plated ferrules.
Lee Valley looks to be the first to carry these chisels, which they’re selling as a set of 4 sizes – 1/4″, 1/2″, 3/4″, and 1″. The chisels are 10″ to 12″ long and have 3-3/4″ to 4″ blade lengths for maximum maneuverability.
Lee Valley is offering the 4pc chisel set at the introductory price of $79, with the offer set to expire on August 5th, 2014, unless supplies run out sooner. The full retail price is expected to be $109.
Buy Now(via Lee Valley)
These chisels are made in the Czech Republic.
Cranked-neck chisels are great for working in recesses, clearing up grooves, and trimming plugs or dowels flush with a flat surface. They’re the kind of chisels you would buy when you have all your other bases covered.
I cannot recall a time when I wished I had a set of cranked-neck chisels, but I know they can be indispensable for certain trimming or cleanup tasks.
Narex quality is quite good, but you’re not getting Veritas, Lie Nielsen, or other premium quality. Then again, at Narex prices, you shouldn’t expect perfection. When I purchased my first set of Narex bench chisels, I tried to flatten the back of one of the blades. The job wasn’t as easy as it would have been with other steel alloys, so I gave up after the first chisel and learned to live with the very minor imperfections. If I hadn’t checked to see whether the blades’ backs were perfectly flat, I probably never would have noticed they weren’t absolutely perfect. The chisels’ beveled cutting edges do sharpen and hone just fine.
There is decent brand variety when it comes to cranked-neck chisels, and a couple of brands have their own styles of gently curved chisels that are more or less used in the same manner. I never really took a look to see what’s available, but given the brands I see out there, I wonder why Narex didn’t design and release these chisels sooner.
I have yet to personally have a need for cranked-neck chisels, but if or when the need arises, Narex will probably be near the top of my list. The brand produces decent quality chisels at reasonable prices, and these look to be no different.