When hunting for new tools to excite you with, I came across these Nicholson Wood Chuck combination chisel and rasp tools.
I don’t think there’s anything new about these tools – there’s a blue-handled version on sale elsewhere – but thought it would make for a good discussion topic.
What do you think about this type of tool? Is it useful to have a rasp surface on the front of a chisel, or you would rather have separate tools?
Now, before you answer, I should remind you that these are probably not designed for fine woodworking work. I’m guessing they’re used for general purpose type tasks, where chisels, files, and rasps all come in handy for quick work.
According to the product description, they’re aimed at any woodworker or handyman.
The handles are impact-resistant, and also have a steel strike plate.
I have a 4-in-1 rasp (you can buy one for less than $10 at Amazon), and it’s a handy wood file. But it’s also a bit wide. This has me looking at the small and medium sized chisels in this set, thinking I could use those.
The 3pc set comes with 1/2″, 3/4″, and 1″ chisel sizes.
dealing with doors and lock sets with custom installations – I think it might be a good keep in the bag tool. you might not need it, but it would suitable take the place of 2 or 3 different tools.
trying to think of another place you might use a chisel and rasp in mid job. maybe brick laying/ repair and perhaps window repair/replacement.
with brick though you might want a different style chisel of course.
I actually bought a four piece Nicholson combo set with blue handles when I had to replace a storm door. Since I didn’t really own either tool and wasn’t sure what size chisels I might need, it seemed like a good idea. The set wasn’t very expensive and worked well, although I’ve only used the chisel component so far.
If the chisel is sharp I see danger ahead,
Actually when I was working construction, these would have been handy at times. These were never meant for fine finish work, worth the money as far as I’m concerned.
I can’t see a reason to buy or use these over separate tools. In the DIY/handyman work I’ve done I have used my rasps, but only flat rasps. I would think the curved surface (appears to be at least) would be less preferable to me. IF those rasp teeth are sharp at all (knowing Nicholson’s current quality they won’t be) those would not be very fun to use in any scenario where your fingers will be guiding the chisel.
Rough chisels for housework are fine, though I wouldn’t use anything less than the blue handled Irwin/Marples style as I doubt these will hold much of an edge.
I want to say there is a rasp on the flat side and the half-circle side.
I bought a 3-pack of these awhile back, but I have not even opened them… This may because I also have at least 2 unopened 3-packs of Stanley chisels from when they were $3 (or $4) last year.
But it's me!
I have one that came with a yard sale box purchase. Made the chisel end scary sharp, which in theory made for a decent chisel I did not care about (for around nails and the like). Unfortunately, and maybe just my usual clumsy nature, a sharp chisel and rasp combination is not all that great in practice. Trying to guide the chisel often leads to the rasp doing a number on my hands. The sharp chisel then gives me pause in trying to use the rasp, so I don’t bother with the rasp. More or less is my junk chisel of last resort, although it did take a nice edge.
I had one of these for awhile and found it very useful for use in the residential remodeling work that I do. But I finally ditched it because he rasp made it aggravating to get in and out of my tool belt. I think I moved it to my veto bag so it doesn’t see as much action anymore.
mike aka Fazzman
Interesting, Nicholson makes the best files. Ive been using them for over 20 years. This seems like it might be useful for some things but I prefer seperate tools.
Do you use Nicholson saw (taper) files? In my experience their new ones (last 5-6 years at least) are absolute garbage compared to Grobet or Bahco.
mike aka Fazzman
Grobet might be good for light duty stuff,I think i have one Grobet dwiss pattern file in my box. In machine shops where you are constantly using them all day the nicholsons hold up.
Ive had good luck with Simonds too. Maybe Grobet has improved theirs I dunno I just go with what ive had good luck with.
I would have thought that the type of steel needed for files/rasps would be different from that used in chisels. A flat-bottomed chisel is used for final shaping and smoothing, whereas a rasp is used more for rapid initial cutting or removal of material. Also, that the hardening processes used might be different for each type of tool. Like many multi-tools, it might do several things for you, but none of them as well as a dedicated tool can.
From their appearance, the rasps look to have a half-round shape; I assume the reverse side, the chisel portion, is flat. When using a chisel, I like to be able to hold and guide it from different positions along its length. That would be more difficult with the rasp teeth covering most of the surface.
I’ve always used a chisel in the “reverse” position, where you hold and use it mostly with the raised/sharpened areas of the chisel turned over for initial paring and shaping. I then flip the tool over, using the flat portion for final touch-up. It doesn’t appear that we have that capability in these tools. You can hog-out large areas quickly with a rasp, but I don’t think the half-round shape lends itself to controlling that well, especially in small areas, as easily as with a standard chisel.
I do like the shape and rubber-covered areas of the handles, however; they look like they’d be very comfortable.
I bought this set at least 20 years ago (though certainly US made and not blue handled) and use them occasionally. They live in a tool roll around and as such only get used because they’re handy to my non critical shop use.
I agree they’re tough to use in a tool belt and as for the Veto I dunno.
Mostly just convenient for lock set and dead bolt installation and adjustments to me at least.
No doubt a chisel by itself is easier to use, as would be a rasp. Since neither are that expensive, or use a lot of space, having a combined tool would seem be for either a very specific task, or for just a low budget home toolbox.
For the amount that I use either tool, it could be useful. I rarely use a chisel, so if I were to buy one I would consider this. Especially for things like hanging doors. I don’t think it would replace all the files though.
At first I thought ‘good idea’ but the more I think about it, the less appealing the idea becomes. If I were doing light remodeling, and needed to hang one door, install a lockset, stc, and didnt have the tools, I’d be tempted.
However, I have a rasp, and I often hold the far end with my off hand to help control it. The idea of that end being razor sharp doesn’t appeal to me, nor does the idea that there will be rasp teeth biting into my hands when I try to guide the chisel shank by sliding it between my fingers.
Probably OK as an occasional use tool for someone who wants to own as few tools as possible, and doesn’t do a lot of DIY type work.
We bought a set – on clearance – in 2009. Glad we di not buy more – since we thought they were awful. We could not sharpen the chisel end to any sort of a fine edge – and the rasp portion was not as useful as the “four-in-hand” style the guys often grabbed for rough work. The set is probably in a bucket in some far recess of the tool room gathering dust.
I hold my rasps and files with both hands so having a sharp edge on one end would be a disaster.
Maybe for a rough carpenter but I prefer single use tools (for the most part).
The blue handled ones are of terrible quality. Sears carried them for a while, and every set I sold came back as a return within the return period.
The chisel end shipped out blunt – so if you were expecting to do any actual work with it you’d need to have tools to properly sharpen it and the know-how to do it yourself.
The tang doesn’t go all the way through the handle to the strike plate, and while I’m not convinced this wasn’t a moulding defect – using a striking tool on the end would cause the plastic right behind the strike cap to blow out in chunks.
Worthless and dangerous – I’d avoid them at any price including free.
I had a USA set of these years ago, thought they were a great idea. Not! Not very great chisels and not very good rasps. Can only be of a worse quality now.
This combination looks like an accident waiting to happen.
My instinct tells me to be suspicious of any attempt to combine separate processes into a single tool, but it looks like they haven’t aggressively overdone it in this case. Could be a good reach-for tool for work that doesn’t have to be too pretty.
I’m a carptenter, and these are a great tool for the pouch. when you need a chisel or rasp in a pinch, its nice to have one of these in your pouch. I don’t worry about it getting a little dinged up in my pouch, because like previous posts have said, it’s not a precision tool.