When I first looked at them, IBC’s new bench chisels reminded me of Stanley Everlasting chisels. Like the Everlasting series, IBC chisels have solid metal running from the strike cap through the handle and down to the cutting edge. In size and feel, they are comparable to the Stanley 750 chisels. But this is where their similarities to traditional chisels ends.
IBC’s chisels have five components: blade, ferrule, threaded handle core, striking cap, and handle. The ferrule fits onto the blade, and the blade’s tang slides into the handle, where the threaded handle core screws to it. The striking cap threads into the core from above, capturing the wooden handle in between. This allows you to take the chisel apart. Why do that? Well, there are two handle lengths, 3-1⁄2 in. and 7-5⁄8 in. The short one is great when you want to strike the chisel with a mallet. Want to reparing? Replace the short handle with the longer one and you have a paring chisel. This may sound a bit odd, but I liked it. It takes 20 to 30 seconds to switch handles. The removable blade also makes it easy to lap the blade flat, without a ferrule or handle in the way.
The blade is made from AISI High Vanadium A2 tool steel. It’s finely ground and flat with beveled edges to facilitate clearance. The beveled edges terminate with a minimal flat on the chisel edges. The blades are not lapped at the factory, but they are ground so well that I polished the backs in about 10 minutes.
I used the chisels in both configurations when building dovetailed drawers and they performed very well. The chisels are light, with a solid feel and great balance. The handle is comfortable. Overall IBC’s bench chisels are excellent.
—Chris Gochnour is a contributing editor.