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Thread: A look at Harbor Frieght Wood Chisels

  1. #1

    A look at Harbor Frieght Wood Chisels

    Hello, gentlemen.
    I purchased a set of the Harbor Freight Windsor Design wood chisels in April, and have been using them and testing them since. Below is the initial review I did of them.
    A few things to note: these are not fine wood working chisels. They are not made anywhere near that quality. Having said that, I have tested them alongside the chisels I know well and have been using 4-5 years, Stanley Fat Max. I can find no difference in edge retention between the two, however, the attention to detail/finish is Stanley's by a large margin.
    I like the wood handles, and their balance and weight is much better than the heavy Stanleys.
    For me, they are decent "beater" chisels; ones that i use when I don't want to have to worry about bending them or damaging them. But I much prefer the 4 vintage chisels I have.
    Just thought some might like to take a look.


  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Baker 2 View Post
    Hello, gentlemen.
    I purchased a set of the Harbor Freight Windsor Design wood chisels in April, and have been using them and testing them since. Below is the initial review I did of them.
    A few things to note: these are not fine wood working chisels. They are not made anywhere near that quality. Having said that, I have tested them alongside the chisels I know well and have been using 4-5 years, Stanley Fat Max.
    Wow, the Stanley "Fat Max" is a pretty low bar IMO :-)

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Chase View Post
    Wow, the Stanley "Fat Max" is a pretty low bar IMO :-)
    Yep. I agree. I doubt there's a dime's worth of difference in anything but finish. That's why I compared them. Would not really be fair to compare them to higher quality ones. You can look at just the differences between these two chisels and see the deficiencies in the HF set. But the Fat Max have served me well for the little things I've used a chisel for. Moving into general wood working with hand tools, we will see how they fare. And the HF.
    But I have a few good vintage chisels that work for finer tasks. The Stanley and these are for rough work, mostly.

  4. #4
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    You really should do the scratch test like Steve did to see which one of those (Stanley or HF) is harder.

  5. #5
    Nice!
    All I care about is does it get sharp, does it stay sharp(within reason of what it is), and can I sharpen it really quickly so I can get back to work? If it'll do that, it might not be high quality, but I can work with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Barry View Post
    You really should do the scratch test like Steve did to see which one of those (Stanley or HF) is harder.
    Begone, Troll!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Chase View Post
    Begone, Troll!
    LOL!

    jtk


    Must get to 10 characters to post.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  8. #8
    Mike, you seem like a good guy and I'm glad to see you contributing to the discussion here. I do have to question the value of this review as well some some other recent discussions of tools from Harbor Freight and other big box retailers. This seems to me to be a race to the bottom, based on lowest price. Harbor Freight is obviously successful at what they do and a person who uses a tool infrequently might best advised to shop there. The readers of this forum tend to be the frequent user, perhaps even very skilled. Tools from the lowest tier of quality are not likely to interest to them. I see little point in anyone wasting money on a tool just to do a review. Perhaps it makes the purchase seem justifiable.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brady View Post
    Mike, you seem like a good guy and I'm glad to see you contributing to the discussion here. I do have to question the value of this review as well some some other recent discussions of tools from Harbor Freight and other big box retailers. This seems to me to be a race to the bottom, based on lowest price. Harbor Freight is obviously successful at what they do and a person who uses a tool infrequently might best advised to shop there. The readers of this forum tend to be the frequent user, perhaps even very skilled. Tools from the lowest tier of quality are not likely to interest to them. I see little point in anyone wasting money on a tool just to do a review. Perhaps it makes the purchase seem justifiable.
    Hmm, Never realized this was such a select community.
    Jim

  10. #10
    I see several tools in the video that could have been replaced by some cheap vintage chisels that would have compared favorably to very expensive ones. Isn't learning about that more valuable than comparing Harbor Freight to big box Stanley and finding that neither is any good?
    Last edited by Mike Brady; 06-28-2017 at 9:34 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brady View Post
    I see several tools in the video that could have been replaced by some cheap vintage chisels that would have compared favorably to very expensive ones. Isn't learning about that of more valuable than comparing Harbor Freight to big box Stanley and finding that neither is any good?
    Good Lord, the guy is trying to contribute to the forum. You may not find it useful, or worth your time or whatever, but someone else may. It isn't like he charged you something or held a gun to your head and made you watch it.

    Mike Baker, thanks for taking the time to contribute.

  12. #12
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    user chisels.JPG
    IF one were to look....there are two of those H-F chisels in this group of USERS. Been using them for a LONG time.....like when H-F first arrived. Was a set of 4......2 are left. Darn good paring chisels. I have others to do the chopping with.

    The only thing spending $$$ on a simple chisel will guarantee is that you spent that cash....not a thing about "quality". About like the difference between a "Suburban' and an Escalade.....just the trim and the price, is all.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brady View Post
    I see several tools in the video that could have been replaced by some cheap vintage chisels that would have compared favorably to very expensive ones. Isn't learning about that of more valuable than comparing Harbor Freight to big box Stanley and finding that neither is any good?
    There are more constructive ways to word this input. For one you could write up your own experiences with vintage chisels. You could also ask the OP if he's ever tried vintage chisels, and if not why.
    Last edited by Patrick Chase; 06-28-2017 at 8:25 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven c newman View Post
    user chisels.JPG
    IF one were to look....there are two of those H-F chisels in this group of USERS. Been using them for a LONG time.....like when H-F first arrived. Was a set of 4......2 are left. Darn good paring chisels. I have others to do the chopping with.

    The only thing spending $$$ on a simple chisel will guarantee is that you spent that cash....not a thing about "quality". About like the difference between a "Suburban' and an Escalade.....just the trim and the price, is all.
    IMO every sensible woodworker has a few not-so-precious chisels in their collection. HF, Aldis, Buck, FatMax, etc etc.

    The difference between these sorts of chisels and high-end ones is a bit more than "trim and price" IMO, though. With that said one operative question is whether you *need* chisels made of unobtanium alloy to do good work, and the answer is of course "no".

  15. #15
    I have 4 vintage chisels that I dearly love. I bought the HF chisels to see for myself, since I have seen a few posts(granted, I was digging for posts about chisels when I first came to this forum) here and there about these chisels, but nothing beats actually seeing something.
    I searched Youtubeland, and saw exactly two videos on them, neither of which did anything to tell anyone about them.
    I shot the video with the intent to show people the difference, if any, in them and most local Borg offerings.
    They are pretty much bottom of the barrel, I think. But I have used them for two months, and they hold an edge in pine rather well. Hardwood? Who knows? But I can literally refresh an edge on them in about one minute, and be back to work. Whatever anyone thinks of them, that's my experience with them.
    Do I recommend them as a be all, end all chisel? Nope, and that is not how I presented them.
    As far as the differing opinions in this thread, my skin is thick, so no problem there.
    Thanks for those who see at least a bit of value to this thread. If there is not very much in it, it will die away soon. And that's OK, too.

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