Thursday was a very awesome day for me. I finally got a chance to stop by Highland Woodworking and see what they had to offer. I had to guard my wallet with my life, there were so many tools I wanted to come home with. As it was, I still spent more than I intended to.
Highland is in the Virginia Highland area of Atlanta, a little east of Midtown (Atlanta, for those who couldn’t tell). It’s not near the 144, but it is somewhat close to the day job. This place has any tool you could think of when it comes to woodworking, and a few more you couldn’t. I’m not going to bother trying to name examples, because I don’t need to. It’s two floors of pure tool Mecca. Hand tools are really the focus here, but bandsaw blades, table saw blades, table saws…There, I got into example mode anyway. Hope you’re happy.
The purpose of the visit was to look at, and probably buy a hand saw. I have several saws, of what I would consider construction or carpentry. I can’t list exactly what I have, but look at HD or Lowe’s: that’s me. A Japanese pull saw and a flush cut saw are the notable woodworking standouts. I want to build my Holtzapffel, as I’ve talked about before, and I will be joining the top to the base with M&T joinery. To make the mating pieces, I need some good chisels and a good saw. I ended up taking care of both, for the most part.
I purchased a Veritas crosscut carcass saw to help me make the tenons. This is a very nice saw, however I’m not completely sure it’s worth what I paid for it. Don’t get me wrong, fit and finish are wonderful, and it feels great to use. It doesn’t, however, quite justify the premium over a Buck Bros saw that’s it’s closest equivalent in my shop. The Buck has 1-2 more teeth per inch than the Veritas, but it’s close. I think the Buck might be 16TPI, and the Veritas I know is 14. The Veritas does indeed feel better to use, and I’m not regretting the purchase. However I don’t think anyone would go wrong with the Buck as a first saw like I did, and they won’t be missing too very much of the experience. The Veritas does have a nice, removable handle and a molded spine, which is supposed to help keep it nice and straight. Time will tell if my opinion of it will improve, but it doesn’t need to. At $75 I could have bought a bunch of other stuff, namely some mortise chisels, but I’ll gladly reach for it on every occasion that calls for it. I will also be adding its brother, the rip saw at some point.
My unintended purchase was a set of Narex bench chisels that were on sale. I was intending to order a bit nicer set from Lee Valley, but the deal was too tempting at $50 for me to pass up. What sealed the deal were the other 5 matching bench chisels, plus the matching mortise chisels available for purchase separately. This way, I can add a couple on each visit, which I can see being about every couple of weeks. The other five chisels range from $7.50-$12.50, IIRC, so it won’t blow the budget.
These are some pretty nice chisels, especially for the price. They are made in the Czech Republic, so they are metric. Not too big of a deal, especially if you already know the approximate equivalents. They aren’t ready to go out of the box, they will need some honing. However, having done both, they will need significantly less work than HF chisels. Here you can see a comparison shot of both.
The Narex is longer, the handle is thicker and more comfortable to hold. The quality difference is immediately apparent once you pick it up. I also assume the steel is much, much better, and will hold an edge for quite a while longer. The set came with a magnetic rack, but that won’t be used for these for long. I inadvertently knocked one off already putting a saw back on the wall, and luckily did not damage the edge. I will have to revise my tool cabinet to make room for all 11 chisels. I don’t need them all, but it would be a shame not to have the whole set. Not quite sure what I will do for the HF set, but I might finish getting them tuned up and use them for more…indelicate tasks.
I also bought a Quint iGaging marking knife from Amazon. Nice, dual bevel for left and right. Haven’t got a chance to use it yet, but it feels good. Here it is in the old chisel rack with my HF marking gauge and my Robert Larson coping saw.
Pretty good deal for under $10 shipped. You can get yours here: Quint iGaging Marking Knife
As always, I will update what I think of it after I’ve used it for a bit and give you a recommendation. But under $10, you could go ahead and pull the trigger and not be too disappointed.