Chisels are blades with handles that woodworkers use to precisely sculpt, shape, and cut wood. They come in a variety of sizes and types, so it’s important to choose the right one for your particular needs.
Some chisels are made with socket handles; others are tang-handled. The difference is largely a matter of preference, but both styles are useful.
1. Irwin 3-Piece Wood Chisel Set
Whether you’re a novice or seasoned woodworker, a set of woodworking chisels is essential. Choosing the right set can help you complete your projects efficiently and easily.
For example, if you’re a beginner, it’s important to buy a bench chisel set that includes a variety of sizes in 1/4-inch increments. Moreover, you should check if the blades in the set can withstand heavy hammer blows without bending or breaking.
The chisels in this set from Irwin are made from forged high carbon steel, which makes them durable and sharp after honed. They also have a rounded handle that reduces vibrations and hand fatigue during prolonged use.
Another popular option is a set of six Narex chisels that feature ultra-tough blades that allow you to cut edge geometry, fashion detailed mortise joints, and slice slivers off tenons. They’re a favorite among premium chisel manufacturers, and they typically cost a fraction of what many brand names charge.
2. Wooden Chisels with Bevel Edges
A sharp chisel can do many different jobs, from quickly chopping waste away from joints to finely paring plugs flush with a surface. It also helps you shave down corners, clean up tenons and fit dovetails, as shown here.
These shop workhorses come in a variety of shapes and handle materials. Most have a socket for fitting into a tool rest or tang to connect the blade to the handle.
They are usually forged of either O1 steel, a soft grade that’s easier to sharpen, or A2, a harder alloy that holds an edge longer. Bench chisels, which have 4-6″ blades that can be struck with a mallet, come with a 25deg bevel angle for general woodworking, but you can add a microbevel to hone them further (25deg for O1 and 35deg for A2).
To sharpen a chisel’s bevel, mount the chisel in a honing guide and hold it against the back of a 1000-grit waterstone with your thumbs and fingers. Pull the chisel toward you at first, then go back-and-forth a few strokes. Repeat until the back of the cutting edge has narrow flats across the heel and bevel (inset).
3. Wooden Chisels with Round Edges
Rounding wood edges is an important part of woodworking, especially if you’re making furniture. Rounded edges are much more attractive and easier to handle than sharp edges, and they don’t splinter as easily.
While a router is the most common and easiest way to round wood edges, you can also round them with some other tools, such as hand planes, chisels, and sandpaper. In this article, we’ll go over how to round wooden edges using these tools and more.
Socket chisels are designed with a cone-shaped handle, which sits on the metal socket of the chisel. This helps to protect the cutting edge from damage and allows the chisel to withstand many strikes by a mallet.
4. Wooden Chisels with Square Edges
Woodworking chisels are a fundamental tool for many projects, including chopping mortises, paring tenons, carving reliefs, and more. These versatile tools can make all the difference in a woodworking project and they come in a variety of sizes and shapes to suit various woodworking tasks.
For example, the Irwin 3-Piece Wood Chisel Set is a set of chisels that are forged from high carbon steel and have blades that retain their sharpness after honing. They are a great addition to any woodworking shop and they even include a wooden mallet as well.
The handle on a chisel can be made from wood, plastic, or composite and they connect to the blade via a socket or tang. Socket-style handles are lighter and easier to grip, while tang-style handle chisels typically feature ferrules or steel hoops to keep the handle from breaking when being struck with a mallet.
In terms of storage, a case is a good way to keep your chisels safe between uses. A canvas bag, wall-mounted rack, or magnetic tool holder are other options.