..it takes me about 2 hours to make a chisel. I could probably pin down something acceptable and straight at a dollar a chisel for a handle (all the way to slipping onto township land here and taking beech branches off of the high side of fallen trees), but the real issue is like the steel used in the chisels.
52100 would probably be fine. Even 1095 would be fine (and very cheap - cheaper than locating vintage files thick enough to make a good chisel), but the latter doesn't measure up to files in terms of edge strength and the former might, but I haven't been forced to go there yet.
I'm looking to make them suitable to the highest degree across the board, but suitable to an experienced user. Every aspect of them, from a tasteful aesthetic to the feel of the handle in-hand when holding by the handle and malleting.
Initially, I wanted boxwood - that faded (you'd have to live in china to get inexpensive boxwood) - I like playing with the others.
For pure utility, there are plenty of chisels around that already have that. I want something that feels like it almost disappears from thought in use because there is nothing not pleasant about about it or sinking in comparison elsewhere...
....except for the folks who like to pinch a thick blade heavy chisel. Can't please them.
Chakte viga is the frontrunner so far. It's as hard as dogwood, looks three times as good and comes green and turns easy for not much money ($3 a handle). For what it costs me to get supplies, and sinking 2 hours into a chisel, adding an extra $2 to the cost is negligible.