Woodworking 101: Using a Wood Chisel for Better Home Projects

In Household Repair and Decor | |

There are certain DIY tools that are always worth getting to know a bit better and that is the case with the humble wood chisel, allowing you to discover how you can take your home woodworking projects to a higher level.

Here is an overview of what sort of jobs you can do with a wood chisel and some tips and insights on how to use it competently and successfully.

Not all chisels are the same

You will quickly discover when you visit this page that not only are chisels one of the most fundamental hand tools to have in your workshop, there are many different kinds to choose from.

One of the big reasons for using a chisel is the fact that it is a tool that can help you achieve a high degree of precision and accuracy.

What you will find as a result of this particular quality is that many regular woodworking enthusiasts and professionals get particularly attached to one specific chisel.

It is slightly ironic that with so many chisels available if you find a bench chisel that feels good in your hand and allows you to chops and dovetail with ease, you are going to take a lot of persuading to swap it for another one.

Getting to know your chisels

The typical setup you would see in a woodworkers workshop would be a line of about four different bench chisels and maybe one mortising chisel. The argument goes that having fewer tools makes it easier to get to know them better and achieve higher quality finishes as a result.

It also makes sense from a maintenance point of view to have a few favorite chisels to select from rather than loads of options, as having fewer tools makes it easier for you to give maintain them in top shape.

Getting to work

When you have a sharp chisel in your hand there are a variety of different tasks you can do, including shaving rough surfaces, cutting mortises, chopping out corners, and even scraping off excess glue.

Handy tip

Always try to buy the best quality chisel you can afford and it will reward you with durability and performance levels not seriously missing in cheaper versions.

It is always a good idea to practice your technique on some spare wood until you are confident enough to do it for real where you want to get it right.

A mortise cut is one of the commonest tasks with a chisel and all you have to learn is how to face the bevel down and then push or tap at the right strength on the back of the chisel to remove thin slices. You will see that you can control the depth by lowering and raising the handle to get the desired result.

Chiseling with the grain can be really tricky sometimes, so if things aren’t going well, try going at it from the opposite direction rather than persevering and causing damage to the wood.

It should take too long to get the shaving technique sorted as well, and once you have these basics under your wing, there are plenty of woodworking projects you can now approach with confidence, holding your favorite chisel in your hand.