How to Use a Wood Chisel
One of the most basic tools in woodworking is a wood chisel.
A chisel can help cut the excess parts of a wood to form or shape it according to a pattern.
A chisel can remove chunks of wood; with a hammer or a mallet, you can remove different thicknesses of wood.
You can use this as you prepare wood for projects and also for finishing. You need to learn how to use a chisel to become a skilled woodworker and hobbyist. This guide will show you how.
Using a wood chisel
You can purchase a chisel from almost any hardware store. You can purchase a chisel or a set. Become acquainted with the parts and how to hold the chisel efficiently so you can use it without fail. Aside from these, you must also learn how to maintain and sharpen your chisels so that these will last for a long time.
Things you’ll need
- Wood you will work on
- A set of chisels
- Hammer or mallet
Step 1: Learn how to choose your chisel
You must buy a sturdy, reliable and easy to hold the chisel. You can purchase one from any hardware store either by a set or individually when you purchase specialized chisels like masonry chisels and firmer chisels.
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You must also choose a sturdy hammer/mallet made of a soft material like wood, rubber, or plastic to dampen and avoid any damage to the chisel. Choose a suitable chisel for the type of project you want to work on. There are actually many types of chisels available for different applications.
Step 2: Maintaining a chisel
You must keep your chisels sharpened so that these will be ready to use. Sharpen and inspect the beveled edges before and after use. You must spend at least a few minutes to hone and repair the edges of your chisel. This will prevent imperfect chisel surface marks that are only visible after you have finished the surface.
Using a chisel
Clamp the wood down with a vice on the workbench. Work on a firm surface that can handle enough weight when you use force on the chisel. Avoid making dent marks when clamping the wood. Never tighten the vice too hard.
You can avoid making dents on the wood by using plastic or another piece of wood between the clamps and the wood to spread the pressure on the area.
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Hold the chisel with both hands. One hand will press the edge down and direct the tool with control while the other one follows with a firm pushing force on the chisel.
Carve at a 16-20 degree angle with the bevel side facing up and the flat side of the tool against the wood surface.
Don’t be in a hurry to remove chunks of wood with one blow. Carve small and thin shavings at a time. Forcing into the wood can damage the chisel or destroy the wood you are trying to cut.
Using a hammer on the chisel is the last resort. It is also needed when you want to remove knots, making tenons and mortise holes on wood.
Using a hammer and a chisel
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When using a hammer with a chisel, you must hold the hammer with your dominant hand and the chisel with the other hand. Put the chisel into the wood with the bevel pointing up.
You must adjust the angle of the chisel depending on how much material you want to remove from the workpiece.
Hit the end of the chisel with the hammer. Start hitting gently and then hit harder when needed. Lever the chisel to remove the chipped wood.
You will be making a lot of excess material unless you break the wood’s fibers where you want the hole to be. This is done by using a saw or when making vertical cuts with a chisel along with a line.
When you are done with your project, inspect your chisels. Sharpen and apply some oil to coat the blade and to avoid rust.
A wood chisel is a handy woodworking tool which can be used to cut large pieces of wood and make tenons and mortise holes. You must learn how to use a chisel to be able to prepare wood and to finish it. There are many uses of a chisel as there are different types of chisels as well.