Named after the founder of Narex Bystrice, Vaclav Richter, and launched to celebrate the centenary of his company, these superb bevel edged chisels bring Narex's signature blend of high quality and low price through clever engineering to the super premium end of the chisel market.
Made from a new type of steel alloyed with chromium for hardenability and vanadium for grain reduction and enhanced toughness, the steel is heat treated using a cryogenic process to maximise the formation of the desirable martensite crystalline microstructure in the finished steel. In layman's terms, it's proven technology mastered to the extent that it can compete with the latest powder metallurgy steels for performance, but at a much keener price point.
In use, the new Narex steel has slightly less stone drag than Narex's familiar CrMn (which is one of the nicest of all steels to sharpen) so it's pretty close to O1 and PMV11 for ease of sharpening. Edge taking is up there with the very best of them - to the extent that going through the extra grades really pays dividends. But the biggest change is absolutely astonishing edge retention, this stuff takes absolutely ages to show even the slightest hint of dulling and can be brought back to mouth-watering sharpness in moments.
The fine grinding is so good it's almost a mirror finish - on all surfaces, there is no undesirable rounding off of the underside of the edges. The backs of the chisels are almost optically flat, so for the first time ever I would recommend doing nothing to them in preparation and maintenance, just wipe off the wire edge on a soft strop. The edges are as fine as hand ground chisels, barely there at all, making them suitable for the finest precision joinery.
The chisels are fitted with traditional pattern handles from Mr Richter's time, made from ash for lightness and strength, extremely smoothly finished and secured with a split-proof ground steel ferrule bearing the Richter logo and smartly trimmed with a thin leather bolster. The chisels are supplied in a beautiful presentation gift box and lightly coated with corrosion inhibiting oil to ensure that they reach you in perfect condition.
- 6mm (¼")
- 10mm ( ⅜")
- 13mm ( ½")
- 19mm (¾")
- 25mm (1")
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There are numerous independent reviews (Youtube) endorsing the quality and profiling of the steel used in these chisels. I’d add that their balance and the shape of their ash handles make me reach for them over my other chisels even before the qualities of their blades crosses my mind. They are fitted with a single size of handle across the set of five, but because it feels so ideally shaped for me I don’t find any issue with the maker’s decision not to fit the smaller sized pieces with smaller handles. For the price (including what seems like a decent presentation/storage box) I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.
These are delightful chisels to use. The description is spot on: they require practically no set-up, and can achieve precision cuts almost straight from the box. Moreover, they genuinely do appear to hold their edge for longer than one would expect. For this reason, they've become my go-to chisels: they are light and versatile in the hand, and motivate me to be as accurate as possible in my work.