How to Use a Wood Chisel: A Basic Guide

How to Use a Wood Chisel: A Basic Guide

Knowing how to do woodwork has its benefits. When a person knows how to work with wood, one can carve pieces, fix hinges, and even make furniture. Knowledge or skill, however, is not enough as those who want to do a variety of things with wood should also invest in a good tool, particularly the chisel. Plus, one also has to understand how to use a wood chisel properly either to create a new item or to fix existing ones. If you are eager to get your hands and start working with a wood chisel, then here are the basics.

The Different Kinds of Wood Chisels

The best way to know how to use a wood chisel is to understand its different types. After all, wooden chisels come in different kinds, particularly in their blade designs.

Heavy-Duty Wood Chisel

The heavy-duty wood chisel is a great option for boat building and even for timber framing. It is, however, not widely used for furniture making.

Registered Chisels

A registered chisel is any chisel that has a square instead of beveled sizes that are usually hooped. This kind is mostly used for timber framing and has limited use for general woodworks.

Mortise Chisels

This chisel is characterized by being malleted into the wood, then levered out to take out the waste. This type is a heavy chisel that is thicker but not necessarily wide. They also have giant forged bolsters as well as oak handles or oval beech to withstand the hard pounding.

Paring Chisel

The paring chisel has long, light and thin blades that are never malleted. They are often used for shaving off thin pieces of woods when one is fitting the joints. Its long length gives users maximum control. This is the perfect choice for those doing a lot of joinery work.

Bevel Edged Chisel

The Bevel Edged Chisel is neither too long nor too short and is the most common chisel found in shops. This chisel should have backs that are either slightly hollow or flat to make sharpening an easy task. The blades are beveled on the sides, so one has access to dovetails. The handles should be very comfortable, too.

How to Use A Wood Chisel?

Learning the proper way to use a wood chisel is no rocket science. Although, one has to remember a few things before using this tool.

The Basics

Using Force

Sometimes, the woodwork requires the use of force. In this case, one has to wrap one hand on the handle while the other hand is for the mallet. Apply some force to the chisel with the use of the mallet.

Woodworkers, however, should refrain from using a metal hammer for striking the chisel as it can damage the tool. Plus, metal hammers can cause real injuries to users who miss the chisel head when pounding the mallet.

Light or Heavy Cuts

How to use the beveled chisel depends if one needs a heavy or light cut. Heavy cutting requires the chisel’s bevel to be down while light cuts should have the bevels up. Hold the bevel with the side down to prevent gouging.

Two-Hand Control

If the wood requires some careful paring, then one should also use a two-handed grip. One hand will supply the driving power and the other will guide the cutting edge.

Some pieces would require precision and as such, woodworkers should brace the hand that guides against the wood and use the same hand to pivot. Doing so gives control and accuracy to the paring task.

Cutting a Notch

When a notch is needed for the wooden piece, one should have the bevel facing the waste area and define the area with vertical cuts. The bevel should be facing inwards when the worker makes slanted cuts.

End-Grain Paring

Sometimes, the work requires taking off thin slices from the end of the wood grain. When this is needed, workers should have the bevel upwards and swivel to cut the grain smoothly. It is best to do the paring of the end-grain with the use a wide chisel to provide stability and for fast cutting.

The chisel should be extra sharp when cutting a thin slice from the grain’s end as using a dull one will make the cutting task tedious and even dangerous. The dull blade will provide less traction on the cut and cause the chisel to slip easily.

Concave Cutting

When one needs to cut a concave curve, it is best to use a chisel that is slightly wider than the stock being cut. The bevel should be facing down and the worker should be gradually pressing the handle downwards, too. Workers should apply steady movements and pressure while cutting to ensure that the cut is a symmetric curve.

Deep Mortises

Cutting deep mortises requires boring several overlapping holes first using a drill. After drilling, grab the chisel with the bevel facing the waste to take out the material. One should also do the cross-grain cutting first on the corners to avoid the splitting of the grain.

Some Tips

Users have to ensure that their chisels are sharp. If one has a blunt chisel, then it’s best to sharpen it first before doing any woodwork.

One also has to have several chisels that come in different sizes. But if a user can only have one wooden chisel, then it is best to go for the 3/4-inch size.

First-time buyers should not get the first one or set they see in the store or the Internet. Buyers should choose the solid chisels that are sturdy and those with warranties.

Woodwork Made Easy with Chisels

Wood chisels are definitely handy tools as they can help anyone create a furniture, finish a do-it-yourself project and repair items at home. However, one also has to keep in mind that this tool can also cause serious damage as well as injuries if the user has the incorrect chisel or does not know how to use it properly.

As such, those who are inexperienced in working with wood chisels should first invest in a good product that is sturdy. The user should also make sure that the blades are sharp as a dull one will result in a disaster. One should also take the time to know how to do a certain cut or sculpting and the correct way of doing it.

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