Nobody wants shoddy joinery but clean, tight joints and that’s where dovetailing comes to play. Dovetailing makes joinery work more efficient, cleaner, and tighter but demands a bit more refinement.
Efficiency begins with using the right tool for the right job. Using the right tool for the right task enhances dedication, timeliness, cleanliness, and perfection. The same is true when chiseling out dovetails.
You need the best dovetail chisel for precision joinery works that’ll yield clean and perfect joints. Considering the several different dovetail chisels in the market, finding the best one can be a tightrope walk.
This post presents the top seven dovetail chisels that’ll help you achieve that desired perfection, and how to choose the right one.
Top 5 Chisels for Dovetails Comparison Table
Narex Dovetail Chisel Set (852100)
KAKURI Japanese Dovetail Chisels
High Carbon Steel
OHKANBOSHI Woodworking Chisel for Dovetails
Narex Dovetail Chisels (851656)
KSEIBI 312130 Premium Wood Chisel Set
TPR with Plastic
Best Dovetail Chisel Reviews
1. Narex Dovetail Chisel Set (852100)
This is just one of the many dovetail chisel sets from Narex for some extraordinary dovetailing work. It comes in a bundle of three dovetail chisels.
Like other Narex chisels, Narex 852100 is made of fine-grained, tempered chrome-manganese steel. It is hardened to Rc 59 to ensure toughness and hardness.
The blades are well finished with an acute 35° angle and an upper triangular shape for clearance into corners. The shape of the blade will not only enable you to make dovetails more efficiently but also guarantees a good finish.
The handles are made of stained European beechwood. There are also two solid brass ferrules to strengthen the wood. This Japanese-style chisel set offers three different blade sizes – ¼in., ½in., and ¾in.
Narex 852100 3 Piece Set comes in an antique box, which also acts as a carrier. The overall finishing of this chisel set is excellent.
- The blade is made of chrome-manganese steel for strength and durability.
- The blades are 5in long for reach and visibility
- Strong handles with an excellent grip
- Reduced bevel for amazing dovetailing
- The blades come sharp out of the box and are easy to sharpen.
- Sides of the blade are somewhat thick
2. KAKURI Japanese Dovetail Chisels
This chisel set is ideal for those who want premium dovetail chisels at an affordable rate. It’ll surely provide smooth finishes for your woodwork.
The KAKURI Japanese Wood Chisel is made from medium quality high carbon steel, which makes this set of chisels suitable for light work and basic carpentry. It is for beginners and may not last too long under heavy workloads.
The blades also have out-of-the-box sharp edges. The blades come with three different width size options – 0.35in, 0.59in, and 0.94in. The handles, which are made of the highest quality Japanese red oakwood, are long and suitable for those with large hands. You may get other options in white oakwood.
Mind you, the blades are chamfered and have less resistance compared to some other chisels.
- It is affordable considering the price
- It’s a great option for those with a large hand
- It is made from premium high carbon steel
- It is suitable for light work and basic carpentry
- It can’t be used for professional carpenters but for basic and home DIY woodwork
- Blades are often chipped out of the box
- The back of the chisels often curves towards the edge.
3. OHKANBOSHI Woodworking Chisel for Dovetails
This is an unpopular but amazing Japanese dovetail chisel (“Oire Nomi” chisel). It is also suitable for carving, surface finishing, and mortising.
The blade is made of the best quality Japanese white steel. Although the OHKANBOSHI Japanese Woodworking Chisel is available in different blade sizes for specific purposes, these different sizes are not available in a set – you have to buy them separately based on your need.
The handle is made of the toughest Japanese Red Oak. Plus, it has two solid ferrules to strengthen the wood. If you need a perfect chisel for professional woodworking, this durable, high-quality Japanese chisel is worth considering.
- It is very strong and can bulldoze through hardwood
- Available in four different blade sizes (not in a set)
- Crafted traditionally to ensure that it last longer
- Made with the best and toughest materials
- Have a strong and comfortable grip.
- This chisel is pricey
- It lacks a storage box to keep each chisel safe when not in use.
4. Narex Dovetail Chisels (851656)
This is a set of left and right skew chisels in 6mm or 12mm widths for cleaning out the holes in the dovetails and finishing up end grain.
These skew chisels are sold in pairs of left and right skew chisels and come in a wooden presentation package. Each chisel is skewed at 30° angles. The blades are made of fine-grained, nicely tempered chrome-manganese steel, which is hardened to Rc 59 to ensure toughness and hardness.
The Narex Pair Right & Left Skew Paring Chisels come with stained and waxed super hard European hornbeam handles, featuring two high-quality brass ferrules. The 5¼in. long handles are balanced for easy handling even in very tight spaces.
If you need a tool to handle delicate dovetailing work, these skew paring chisels will set your dovetailing above the rest.
- It has stained and waxed hornbeam handles
- High-quality ground chrome-manganese steel hardened to Rc 59
- The skewed blades are perfect for removing waste from corners and tight spaces
- It comes with a wooden presentation box.
- Skewed chisels need sharpening before use
- The box is not the best.
5. KSEIBI 312130 Premium Wood Chisel Set
Though this premium wood chisel set will cost you some extra bucks, it’s worth it because it’ll make your dovetailing work easier and more comfortable.
The KSEIBI 312130 Premium Wood Chisel Set comes with four pieces of premium dovetail chisels in four different blade sizes – ¼in., ½in., ¾in., and 1in. blade sizes. The blades are made of fine-grained, chrome-manganese steel, which has been double tempered at 300°F to 400°F and hardened to 2-degree HRC and Rockwell 59-degree.
KSEIBI 312130 chisel set has a 30° bevel edge, which makes cutting dovetails smoother. It also means that you will experience an ultra-low friction wood surface.
The Polypropylene handles have a soft and comfortable grip that will save your palm from soreness. If you’re a beginner, we recommend KSEIBI 31213 because of the negligible effect it has on the palm.
The handles are specially designed to be used with metal hammers because they feature a hardened steel striking cap. So, there is no need for special mallets when dovetailing.
KSEIBI 312130 chisel set comes with a toolbox or tool-belt storage, where you can keep the chisels after use to keep their blades sharp and ready for next time.
- It has a comfortable handle
- Blades are bevel-edged and provide excellent clearance when handling dovetail work
- The blades are accurately fine-grained. chrome-manganese steel
- It offers durability and long-lasting performance.
- They are not suitable for professional woodworkers.
6. Woodworking Chisel Set (Made in the Czech Republic)
Do you need a new set of woodworking chisels? Get yourself this 4 Pcs woodworking chisel set, which is both affordable and diverse. This set contains four chisels with different blade sizes – 0.2in. (6mm), 0.5in. (12mm), 0.8125in (20mm), and 1.03125in. (26mm). With these different blade sizes, you can pull off the most tricky and delicate dovetail tasks.
These premium chisels are sturdy and reliable. They are made with chrome-manganese steel, which is extremely tough. No matter how hard or troublesome the wood may be, these chisels will handle the dovetailing job.
The 4 Pcs woodworking chisel set is also durable and long-lasting. They are resistant to rust, dents, and scratches. This means you can use these tools for a long time.
The lacquered handles not only give these chisels an elegant and gorgeous look but also offer a pleasant and comfortable hold. These chisels are lightweight, which is suitable for easy maneuvering and accurate carving.
- These chisels have a robust and reliable build
- They feature a comfortable handle for a pleasant hold
- They are lightweight for easy maneuvering
- They are made from strong and durable material
- They’re soft
- They don’t come with blade covers.
7. Dovetail Chisel 12.70mm
The Dovetail Chisel 12.70mm is perfect for creating and cleaning out dovetails. It can easily fit tight corners – thanks to its triangular cross-section. To minimize friction, the back of the blade is slightly hollow.
The blade is made of chrome-manganese steel and hardened to 59 HRc. The handle is made of waxed dark stained beech wood. If you’re looking for a dedicated dovetail chisel at a moderate price and don’t mind a large handle, consider this dovetail chisel.
- It is perfect for creating and cleaning out dovetails
- It can easily fit tight corners
- It is highly durable
- It enables you to work with less friction
- The handle is relatively large.
How to Choose the Best Chisels for Dovetails
Now you’ve got a list of the best dovetail chisels. But I would like to let you know that there is no one-size-fits-all chisel that’s best for everyone. Deciding whether a dovetail chisel is good for you or not depends on personal preferences. Remember, we all have different requirements, hands, and methods. Therefore, a dovetail chisel that is best for me may not be the best for you. So, the factors to consider are:
The handle is an important factor to consider when buying a chisel. You must be able to handle the chisel well to use it. If the chisel doesn’t have a pleasant and comfortable handle, then you won’t be able to hold it well and give your best. You might even end up making mistakes or having your hand cramping up from a poor chisel handle.
You’ve got lots of choices when it comes to the handle’s materials – wood, rubber, and so on. Get one that gives you a comfortable feeling and wouldn’t let the chisel fall off your hand while using it.
Another consideration is the length of the handle. The length of the chisel gets your hand closer to or farther from the wood for more control. If the handle of the chisel is either too short or too long, you may not be agile enough for delicate and precise dovetailing.
The aesthetics of the chisel’s handle is another factor you may choose to consider. It’s normal to think that a chisel with a good-looking handle would feel better in the hands.
The blade of the chisel is another big consideration – that’s the main working part. The first factor is the hardness of the blade, this is essential. Always aim for a chisel with a hardness of Rc 59, Rc 60.
The hardness of the chisel will enable your chisel to keep its blade longer and not too hard to sharpen. After all, you wouldn’t want the blade of your chisel to chip off.
Durability of the Blade
Durability is another factor. You’ll be using your chisel consistently to carve, shape, clean, or make adjustments to your woodwork.
If you want to achieve the best performance, then you need a chisel that is sturdy and highly durable. Only a sturdy and highly durable chisel can withstand extreme tension from hammering.
We recommend that you always opt-in for a dovetail chisel with high-quality steel construction that is also impervious to rust and other types of damages.
The dimensions of the blade, in terms of length and width, play another important role. Sometimes, you may want to work in very tight spaces or joints.
If the chisel is bulky, then you may not be able to achieve such a feat with ease. You may have to check whether a dovetail chisel is capable of handling a particular work before choosing it. The dimension will also determine how easy it’ll be to carry the chisel or store the chisel.
The weight of the chisel is another big consideration. A chisel that is too heavy would give you lots of problems when trying to maneuver it and this won’t allow you to give your best.
You may also consider a chisel that comes with an out-of-the-box sharp blade, a sharpening stone to sharpen the chisel when necessary, and a casing, packaging box, toolbox, or tool-belt storage for easy storage and transport.
If you’ve gone through the post above, that means you’ve gathered all the necessary information to make a smooth and precise dovetail.
You’ve got the best list of dovetail chisels and how to choose the dovetail chisels. All that is left for you to do is to choose the best one from the given options based on your preferences and requirements.
However, if you’re still a bit confused, our recommendation would be the Narex Dovetail Chisel Set (852100). They are the best choice for both beginner and professional woodworkers.
You can also look into the post again. We hope that this post guides you into choosing the right dovetail chisel for your woodwork.