How to use a chisel

Though chisels are made in a wide range of sizes and styles, the most widely used models are those which have a beveled blade similar to the one illustrated. The handle may be attached to the blade in one of two ways: there may be a hollow, tapered shank on the blade into which the handle fits, or the blade may have a pointed tang that fits into a hole in the end of the handle.

The standard length chisel ( about 6 inches) is commonly referred to as a firmer chisel. Chisels with shorter blades ( about 3 inches long) are available for working in tight corners where a longer blade might be awkward.

These are commonly called butt chisels. Both styles come with blades which vary from 1/8 to 2 inches in width, though the handyman will find that four sizes will serve for practically all normal requirements: 1/4-, 1/2 -, 3/4- and 1-inch blades.

To get maximum efficiency when using a wood chisel and to maintain the razor-sharp cutting edge as long as possible, remember that chisels are basically designed as finishing tools and must be used with care. Wherever practical, a saw should be used to remove large amounts of wood first, after which the chisel is used to do the final trimming.