I expressed interest in the new Lee Valley PM-V11
chisels on the Saw Mill
forum because I teach hand cut dovetails and am
constantly looking for better chisels for chopping
them out (ones that will hold an edge longer).
Rob Lee saw my post and contacted me to offer an
evaluation chisel, with the request that I provide
feedback on the performance of the chisel. I
accepted, and Rob sent me a pre-production PM-V11
I evaluated that chisel and found that it performed
only slightly better than an A2 chisel. I
wrote up my evaluation on a web page and sent the
link to Rob.
Rob subsequently contacted me to tell me that my
experience was very different from what LV was
experiencing in their lab. He expressed
concern that the pre-production chisel they sent me
had not been properly hardened. He explained
that they had a bunch of chisels which were being
packaging evaluation and other things, and those
chisels had not been heat treated.
Perhaps I had been sent one of those. He then sent
me another PM-V11 3/8" chisel and a LV carbon steel
3/8" chisel. I performed the same testing with
those new chisels, and the results of that second
testing are presented here.
This article is about tests performed 7/25/2012,
7/26/2012, 8/19/2012 with the pre-production chisel
and on 9/8/2012 and 9/9/2012 with the production
Some of the pictures in the evaluation below are of
the initial pre-production chisel, but the
production chisels are exactly the same, except for
the heat treatment.
My evaluation focuses only on the the performance of
the chisel in chopping out wood, such as for
dovetails. Please keep this in mind when reading
Your needs may be different and you should evaluate
various chisels to see how they meet your specific
The chisels I received were packed in a plastic
package as shown here.
The ends of the chisels appear to have been dipped
in a plastic product to protect the edge. The chisel
is not coated with lacquer or any other preservative
(which is good).
I checked the width and it's exactly 3/8". The
chisel is 7/64" thick on the cutting end.
The blade tapers in thickness to 3/16" near the