I don't think what kind of wood you use matters a whole lot. Just use some kind of a hard wood. But if you plan on using hammers with your chisels then I'd band the ends. I whittled handles for some chisels recently out of some wood I picked up in my yard. I think it is maple? It all seems fine to me. I banded the one handle with a bit of copper pipe. Now it can take a good beating.