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Paring Chisels – Best in 2020

The Paring chisel does not get the recognition it deserves. Its true usefulness is not always appreciated as some woodworkers have a blind devotion to the bevel edge chisel. But these long thin paring chisels can outperform the common bevel-edged chisel when longer reach is required. 

What is a ‘Paring Chisel’ used for?

The paring Chisel is long enough to reach across most woodworking joints. I regularly use my paring chisels for the fine adjustment of large halving joints or through mortises.

Typical ‘Paring Chisel’ tasks

The paring chisel is a great addition to the woodworker’s tool kit. I own several paring chisels which I use on a daily basis. Some of the tasks I use my paring chisels for could be performed with a bench chisel but the thin blade of my Brades paring chisel has the ability of a sharper cutting edge.

  • Trimming the shoulders around a tenon
  • Paring the components of a dovetail joint
  • Levelling a bridle joint
  • Flattening Halving Joints
  • Cleaning through Mortises

How long are ‘Paring Chisels’?

The length of the paring chisel varies from 9″ to 14″ 

Do you Strike a ‘Paring Chisel’ with a hammer or mallet

No, because the longer length of a paring chisel provides control and grip during the paring action so there is no need to strike it. A good stance is imperative for steady control. Prevent leaning past your centre of gravity as control can be superseded by your desire to balance.

Paring Chisel Vs Bevel Edged Chisel

Both chisels are bevel edged but the paring chisel is a specialized woodworking tool, unlike the bevel edge bench chisel which is a general-purpose tool.

Paring Chisel Bevel Angle vs Bevel Edged Angle

  • Paring Chisel Angle: 20°
  • Bevel Edged Chisel: 25°

My Suggested ‘Best Buys’ Paring Chisels

I own a set of Robert Sorby paring chisels and so I am happy to recommend them here. Robert Sorby is an old name in woodworking making all sorts of chisels from bench tools to woodturning.

Narex Premium 5 Piece Set Paring Chisels w/ Hornbeam Handles 1/4″. 1/2″ 3/4″, 1″, 1

Czech tool maker Narex has gained a lot of popularity in the world of chisels. Many woodworkers have chosen Narex for their quality and value. 

A typical format for a paring chisel is that it needs to be long and thin, these Narex paring chisels are long at 15 inches but I would like to see them a little thinner. Don’t get me wrong these paring chisels are superb.

  • 9-5/8″ blade length, 13-3/8″ overall length (245mm, 390mm)
  • High-quality ground chrome-magnesium steel hardened to Rc59 hardened steel 
  • Chrome magnesium
  • Stained and waxed hornbeam handle prevents sweaty hands
  • brass ferrule construction reinforces the handle around the tang

Robert Sorby Paring Chisels

Robert Sorby is an old-time toolmaker which I am a fan. My first Robert Sorby was a turning chisel that I still own today. 

Robert Sorby heritage dates back to over 200 years. Based in Sheffield a city that has a long history in tool making and fine steels. 

‘Robert Sorby and Sons was first registered in Union Street, Sheffield in 1828 as a manufacturer of edge tools, saws, scythes and hay knives’

1/2″ Robert Sorby #241 Paring Chisel

3/4″ Robert Sorby #241 Paring Chisel

1″ Robert Sorby #241 Paring Chisel

1-1/4″ Robert Sorby #241 Paring Chisel

1-1/2″ Robert Sorby #241 Paring Chisel


If I had to buy only one Paring Chisel?

To conclude that I would purchase every paring chisel because that is who I am but if the once only one I could afford? I would order the Robert Sorby 3/4 as if falls in the middle of most paring tasks.


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