A Woodworker's Guide to Chisels

Joinery workshop with wood tools

No one ever said woodworking was easy, but the right tools make all the difference. One of the most useful tools in the woodworker’s arsenal is the chisel. No matter what type of wood project you are working on, a good set of chisels will help you put on the finishing touches, making your wood cabinets or vanity look like it was hand built with care. You can rent or buy all of the chisels you need from your lumber supplier. The following information should also help get you started with the art of wood chiseling.  

Types of Chisels

The two most popular types of chisels are the bevel-edge and mortising chisel. Bevel-edge chisels are ground to a steep angle at the end, which allows the tool to get into tight spaces. Mortising chisels have longer, thinner blades than bevel-edge chisels, allowing them to be driven in with a mallet. The butt chisel is a common variant, which a firmer chisel and much shorter blade.

Useful Chisel Sizes

Chisels come in a dizzying array of sizes, but not all of them are useful to the casual wood craftsmen. If you are building your chisel set for the first time, start with a set of the five most common bevel-edge chisels, which include 1/8”, ¼”, 3/8”, ½” and ¾”. For mortising chisels, a ¼” and 3/8” chisel should handle most of your mortising needs.

Common Chiseling Techniques

When cutting with a mortising chisel, use the cutting edge of the tool to define your layout lines before removing the waste inside them. When pairing, use one hand to steer the blade and the other hand to push the tool into the cut. This technique gives you both control and power over your chisel.

If you’re serious about woodworking, come to Southern Lumber and fill your workshop with some of the finest woodworking tools in the world. We carry chisels, saws, sanders, vises, and more, all from some of the most trusted names in the woodworking industry. To learn more about our selection of specialty woods and woodworking tools, call us today at (408) 297-9663. 

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