I picked up this set last week at the Lenexa, KS store. The clerk opened the box for me so that I could inspect the chisels before I purchased them, and we found that one of the blade guards was broken. He quickly dug out the one from the display box and substituted it for my broken one which was really nice of him. Otherwise, on first glance, I found the box and the chisels to be in very good shape and the overall appearance of each piece was nice.
I liked the feel of the handles in my hands. I have a large hand and wide palms. They just feel right for me, and I am excited about using them in the years to come.
The blades all looked good on first inspection. The tips were ‘mostly’ square and roughly sharpened, but still sharp. I knew immediately that I would be working them a little bit. What I discovered after working on them for a while is that the width of the blade right at the tip was a bit more than the width of the blade as you move down. I would not have noticed this, except for the fact that I was using a square to line up the blade in my sharpening jig, and I could see it then.
The edge actually took like time for me to sharpen. I set my guide to 30% and started on a 1000 grit stone. I found that their bevel was close, but slightly different, so I quickly got a new bevel that was very sharp, but only about 1/8 inch up the bevel.
I flipped the 3/4 over and started again on my 1000 grit stone to see how flat the back actually was. You can see here that the back, although polished nicely from the store, is not all that flat. I found each blade to be uneven to some extent. When I finally got to the 1 inch chisel, I discovered that it had quite a bow in it from tip of the bevel to the end of the flat section. Using a straight edge, I would estimate this to have been close to 1/32 of an inch.
I have a Work Sharp 3000, and I laid the chisel on the top of this and worked it for a while, being careful to not overheat the edge. If I had been doing this by hand on a stone, I think I would have given up. But, after about 5 minutes of time on the Work Sharp, I had the back pretty flat and I went back to my 1000 grit stone until I had a nice flat surface.
I then used a 4000 and an 8000 grit stone on the backs and on the bevels to polish them up to a nice, almost mirror surface. The steel took a very nice edge, and I shaved hair easily with each chisel.
Overall, I am very happy with the finished results. I love the look of these chisels, and the Bubinga handles look and feel great. The fit of the ferrule to the handle is nicely done, and does not have any rough edges. Some will think that the blade is too thick, and maybe the edge bevel is not enough for getting into tighter areas. That will remain to be seen as I begin to use them.
I have a Crown butt chisel, but never really cared for the feel of it. I like these much better. I expect these tools to become life-long friends.