IRWIN Marples Chisels archive

Tuesday 11 December 2012

It is a pretty basic requirement of woodworking to have a set of chisels and those IRWIN Marples people have more chisels than any of us could put to good use. But do they cut it? Anthony Bailey finds out


The first point to note is that the 25mm wide blades belonging to the supplied chisels are identical. They are marked accordingly and this means from a manufacturing point of view, a massive cost and stock saving. What it doesn't do is give consumers a choice of blade; these are all bevel edge, no mortise or registered pattern blades are available. The neck is the same on all models as apparently is the rod running up inside the handles - not the older tang type of connection. So your choice is down to the handle and its internal construction not the blade, with one exception - the MS 751 high impact is a single firmer 28mm width chisel for greater strength.

M444 Blue Chip bevel edge chisel

This basic bench chisel - widely used in cabinet shops - is not strictly intended for heavy use, but is reliable and available in a wide range of sizes: 3mm, 6mm, 10mm, 13mm, 16mm, 19mm, 25mm, 32mm, 38mm and 51mm, sold singly or as three-, four-, five- and six-piece sets.

MS 500 all-purpose chisel with striking cap

A tough plastic handle with a grippy rubberised coating and a striking cap on the top for heavy carpentry work and general chopping out. Blade sizes are: 6mm, 10mm, 13mm, 16mm, 19mm, 25mm, 32mm, 38mm and 51mm. Set denominations as above.

M373 split proof bevel edge chisel

This has the long-standing 'pretty' see-through handle pattern that looks good, is comfortable to hold and will take plenty of abuse. Blade sizes: 3mm, 6mm, 10mm, 13mm, 16mm, 19mm, 25mm, 32mm, 38mm and 51mm - singly or as a six-piece set.

MS 750 high impact chisel

A heavy-duty chisel in a limited range of sizes for very heavy work where the internal rod construction transmits force straight to the blade. Blade sizes: 3mm, 6mm, 10mm, 13mm, 16mm, 19mm, 25mm, 32mm, 38mm and 51mm. Sold singly or as a three-piece set.


No one questions IRWIN Marples' ability to make good workman-like tools including chisels, but for choice I would select a finer grade of chisel for bench work with wooden handles, although the Blue Chip chisel is a good standard bench tool.

For general site work the range can't be beaten as all-round reliable chisels and I'm sure IRWIN have done their research, but I think they could have introduced an even heavier-built mortise-type blade for chopping deep sockets - maybe a missed opportunity. However, these heavy duty chisels will take a lot of punishment. Edge keeping seems good, which is what we all crave from a tool rather than constant resharpening. I have given set prices only as these are better value for money.

Woodworkers Institute

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anthony bailey , IRWIN Marples Chisels

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The Numbers

Prices: M444 Blue Chip bevel edge chisel - set prices from £27.20-£51.41; MS 500 all purpose chisel with striking cap - set prices from £36.44-£76.28; M373 split proof - split proof bevel edge - £142.88; MS 750 high impact chisel - £52.22; 5-piece set - £82.55; MS 751 28mm high impact firmer chisel - £23.04 (prices RRP inc VAT)

Where To Buy

Tel: 01543 447 001

Pros & Cons

Respected trade brand
Consistent quality
Good edge keeping
Lack of blade types

5 Star Rating

Value for money: 4/5
Performance: 4/5
Build quality: 4/5