Nobody has confirmed or commented on what was said in the review that bad mouthed the quality of the steel of the Blue Chip Chisels. I am referring to the statement that the chisels are made in China from dog food cans and are of very low quality. I suppose that it doesn't make any difference where they are made or what they are made of as long as they work. For the most part the reviews are good, and for the price, one can't go very wrong. I will admit though that I would like further confirmation as to where the chisels are really made and that the steel is of better quality than that of dog food cans.
I have the Irwin Marples 6 piece Woodworking Chisel Set M44SB6N. It is so new, I went out into the garage, to the trash and dug out the original box cover. My mistake. The blades I won say Italy... The wrapper on the back, upper left corner says-
* Premium quality steel for superior sharpness and edge retention
* Bevel edge, pre-hone for immediate use
* Impact resistant handle for use with hand or mallet
But looking closer, in the lower left corner, right of the Company data, in "very" minuscule fine print: "Made in China to IRWIN specifications"
Like I said, the set is new, but I have no complaints or bad experience with them yet. They take a sharp edge and they work. I've trimmed some wood. Done 4 mortises. Fitted 4 tenons. So far, I haven't had them long enough to tell you how long they keep an edge. And I'm not one to abuse tools.
"You" asked about these and we told you about our experience with them. The steel is hard but not brittle. It sharpens easily and fast. That could also mean that it will need a honing/stropping a bit more often than something harder... but harder also usually means harder to sharpen and brittle. Remember me mentioning a high carbon chisel of mine that takes forever to sharpen? You don't want to end up with something too hard, for doing mortises. IMHO, just sometimes not a good combination.
The "chisels in question" are good. These are better than some I have and not as good as others... but then that bias does creep in there to my "favorites." I can tell you I have some others that I am biased to because of sentiment and having used a long time.
I have a chisel I use a lot. It is not a good cutter. The angle is 30 degrees where most my other chisels are around 25 degrees. It takes forever to sharpen. I still have it and keep using it because my Master Carpenter mentor gave it to me when I started as his apprentice. It was my first working chisel. It sucks. But that thing can and has taken a lot of abuse and hard use and just keeps giving back. It's a love/hate kind of thing... but that one works also... In a different kind of way. I've always had it close, in the same location/pocket of the different tool belts I've gone through in the past 30+ years.