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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:16 pm 
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Koa
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First name: Willard
Last Name: Guthrie
City: Cumberland
State: Maryland 21502
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Country: United State
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Aldi - the international supermarket chain - has for years offered a set of Chinese-made chisels for what is a very attractive price - just $7 for 8mm, 13mm, 18mm, and 24mm sizes. Mr. Paul Sellers, a woodworking blogger and popular handtool woodworking educator, has written about these over the last 5 years (as linked below), and considers them a very good value - especially for those just starting out and on a budget.

While we have access to some very nice chisels at the shop, I still picked up a set of these WorkZone chisels...they are on par with the current offerings in the '$25 and under' per tool offerings from Woodcraft and other specialty stores, and are nicely hardened if not perfectly ground. These will not be mistaken for Lie-Nielsen, Blue Spruce, or other premium tool, but they will get the job done with enough change left from a $20 to pick up one of those side-clamping honing jigs. Another few dollars gets you some wet/dry paper and a piece of scrap glass...tools and something to hone them with! A little work on the handles with stripper and some linseed oil and beeswax finish might yield improvements as well, but still very usable. I will post some photos once I have a bit more time to finish cleaning up the 8mm and the 24mm blades.

If you have an Aldi store nearby, worth a trip. The Maryland/Virginia area stores appear to be in stock at present, but I would suspect that these will go fast.

Finally...the boss does not hate them, and quietly warehoused three sets against future need.

https://paulsellers.com/2013/10/aldi-supermarket-chisels/

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These users thanked the author Woodie G for the post: Hesh (Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:26 am)
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:53 pm 
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Wonderful advice. Luthier tools are where you find them. Folks who purchase their tools from the vendor of left-handed screwdrivers are doing themselves a huge disservice, video advice notwithstanding.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:08 am 
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I've often read about these. I have no real need for them. I also don't want to spend time prepping chisels that are not as good as the ones I have that will likely need a good bit of work. Why is it that I am so tempted to buy them? Is it just the price and the fact that it is a good bargain? Why am I planning a trip to Aldi just to check them out?

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These users thanked the author Bryan Bear for the post (total 2): klooker (Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:44 am) • askins (Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:35 pm)
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:26 am 
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Bryan Bear wrote:
. I have no real need for them.


You might want to be a little careful publicly disclaiming that here Brian. Some may take offence. :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:05 pm 
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Well if I'm at risk of offending someone, I'd better buy a set. . .

Sorry everyone!

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:24 pm 
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Koa
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Underlying Paul's recommendation is this reality... Most people who start don't finish... Many who finish decide it's not for them as a hobby/career/pastime... Guitars are notably so because they are complicated... Of 10 who buys a kit- 1 starts. Of 10 who start - 1 finishes. Of 10 who finish one - perhaps 1 builds another one.. Just look at our "2016 build off" for evidence....

In the 8 years I have been a member of this board (reading for almost 10 years)... I have seen countless fellows come through with the bug to build a guitar.. Often as not - they spend a fortune on tools and jigs - and then never build their first guitar...

As such - I think its admirable that Paul recommends people start off with "Adequate" tools - not fine tools... Those Aldi chisels are "Adequate" - not fine.. They work as chisels (unlike the HF fare - which seems to only hit about 50% in a pack being useful as a chisel) . That way - you don't have a pile invested if it's not for you....

Once you are through a couple and are enjoying this... Then it's time to start replacing stuff that is substandard with stuff that is fine/good.. On guitar #3 - treat yourself an Ashley Iles or Veritas or Lie Nielsen chisel....


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:43 pm 
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truckjohn wrote:
... Just look at our "2016 build off" for evidence....


Hey, who are you talking about :?

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:18 pm 
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I am a volunteer carpenter on a tall ship, and we constantly have new people coming through thinking they will become shipwrights. We picked up 3 sets of these just to absorb the abuse given by those in training. We love them and when I need to beat on something I pick up one of these instead of going to the "pretty good" set of 30-year-old Craftsman bench chisels in my travel bag. Highly recommended for anything that you would rather not use your good ones on.

Ed



These users thanked the author Ruby50 for the post: ernie (Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:17 pm)
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:18 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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went out an just bought 2 sets IMHO they are a bargain!


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:02 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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"I've often read about these. I have no real need for them. I also don't want to spend time prepping chisels that are not as good as the ones I have that will likely need a good bit of work. Why is it that I am so tempted to buy them? Is it just the price and the fact that it is a good bargain? Why am I planning a trip to Aldi just to check them out?"

Yeah Brian, I hear you!
I'm trying to resist the urge to run out and buy a set just to see if they are any good. One suggestion I've made in the past to budding luthiers is to just buy one good 1/2 inch chisel (all we really need) but for $7, you won't find a good 1/2 inch chisel.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:50 am 
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Koa
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First name: Willard
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City: Cumberland
State: Maryland 21502
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Country: United State
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We have a box of mixed brands of old chisels picked up for a few dollars each at PATINA and other sales that just need a bit of rehab to return to service. The absolutely lovely Marples boxwood-handled 1/2" firmer that is usually out on the main woodworking bench tray was one of these that took the blade from a shattered handle ($2) and the handle from a spent, used-up blade ($3) and combined them to get one functioning tool at $5 and an hour or so of time to do the work.

I am not sure how many of these serendipitous pairs of chisels are out there, but it had me looking at a New In Box auction for a similar tool at close to $70 delivered from the UK. As Charley Brown would often balloon, *Sigh*

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:43 pm 
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Clay

"One suggestion I've made in the past to budding luthiers is to just buy one good 1/2 inch chisel (all we really need) but for $7, you won't find a good 1/2 inch chisel."

I was just at a tools swap thing morning and could have had some of the best 1/2" vintage chisels for $5-20. I find them very satisfying to use.

Ed


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:51 pm 
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Just bought a set. I could not resist the bargain, even though I have better new ones sitting in a drawer.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:13 pm 
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FWIW , It took me 1 minute to sharpen 1 of the chinese chisels . Here is my schedule from factory grind to adequate sharp. 220 grit paper on milled alum plate , 800 grit W/D sandpaper on woodcraft chinese milled granite surface ,plate 1000 grit diamond stone, 3$ off ebay , and 1200 grit polishing paper on granite stone gave me a nice edge. Tested on vy dry brittle 62 yr old red oak from vermont. There will be a hollow on the chisels until repeated sharpenings . IMHO excellent buy for the $$$$ and I have many more expensive chisels


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:07 pm 
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Koa
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Still sold out at the local Aldi.. Around here - they never have these in stock.. And when they do - they literally sell out in an hour.

Plan B if you need an inexpensive "Mr. Right Now" chisel. Don't buy the set - only the one you need.
1. Stanley UK marked chisels from the hardware store. They are very good steel and have pretty darned good heat treating. UK made.. These are a british alloy equivalent of 52100 steel. Good stuff. Consistent.
2. Ace hardware chisels from the hardware store. They are also good steel and have pretty good heat treatment. Less consistent than Stanley but servicable.
3. Buck Brothers chisels at Home Depot are decent out of the pack, cheap, and USA made. You can reharden/temper these with a good propane torch for a harder edge. Search the forum here for my post on the subject.
4. Woodcraft Wood river 52100 alloy steel chisels. Can often be found 4 pack for $20. These are good chisels.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:21 pm 
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[quote="truckjohn"]Still sold out at the local Aldi.. Around here - they never have these in stock.. And when they do - they literally sell out in an hour. ...........
quote]
Got to get down there early in the morning, first in line!
My local's a 5 minute walk, Lidl maybe 15 minutes.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:38 pm 
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I broke down and got a set. I did a quick halfhearted flattening on a 1200 grit diamond stone (just to the 1/16" inch behind the edge flat) and a quick freehand secondary bevel to establish an edge. Then green compound on a strop. Even with this very, very sorry excuse for a sharpening I was able to pare endgrain cherry. I wonder how long the edge will hold up.Image


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:03 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Hi Ed,
I do find good chisels at the flea markets for bargain prices, but for those starting out it can be hard to tell a good one from a mediocre one, so buying a new good quality chisel ($30) might not be a bad choice.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:17 am 
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Koa
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First name: Willard
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City: Cumberland
State: Maryland 21502
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Country: United State
Focus: Repair
Status: Semi-pro
Based on what the boss and others are saying and seeing, the Aldis are a decent chisel - harder than the bargain brands or Stanley construction chisels (the current chisel in my Hab kit), but still soft enough to sharpen easily and hold an edge.

In hard maple, white oak, and cherry (what I've had handy to play with, given two refrets in progress), the edge seems to last a while, but can be quickly renewed. The durability seems to be close to what I see from the shop's Marples 'Shamrock' firmers, but not quite as long-lasting as the Lie-Neilsens or the Two Cherries. I have not tried the Aldis in abrasives or ebonies yet, but expect to sharpen about as often as I do using the Marples. The next step in cleanup will be reshaping the handles, but that will wait for time and interest.

Attachment:
Aldi_18mm_01.JPG


If a bit of time is taken to dress the ground surfaces and a bit more to buff out the blade (obviously not the edges which need to stay sharp and square), the Aldis do not look bad at all. The flats were dressed with 3M FreCut PSA on glass (80) to remove the worst of the grinding marks, grits to 400 to polish, then buffed. The back was done per usual here - 80 and 120 paper to get the worst of the lumps and bumps, 220/325 diamond to flatten, then 30 nm-0.5nm diamond paste on MDF to polish, followed by regrinding the bevel to 22 degrees on a CBN wheel, then honing with coarse diamond stone and 8000 waterstone.

Attachment:
Aldi_18mm_02.JPG


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