Wood chisels are utilized for taking away chips or segments of wood. A chisel comprises of a steel blade having a single-bevel cutting edge; a plastic or wooden handle is equipped over the tang of the blade. Sizes are classified by the width of the cutting edge.
For light cuts in softwood, the chisel can be controlled by hand pressure. For hardwood, still, a soft-face hammer is used to drive the chisel into the wood. The chisel is held using one hand, bevel edge down on the wood, and the end of the handle is struck softly with the hammer, held in the other hand. If the finished work is required, the chisel is used using the beveled edge of the blade turned away from the completed surface.
Skillful use of the chisel involves studied practice. Generally, the chisel is held and directed by the left hand and powered using the right hand. The angle at which the chisel is held depends on the wood and the work to be made. For most work, one corner precedes the other when the chisel is moved forward. Always make certain that your chisel is sharp prior to beginning the work. A dull chisel is hard to guide and dangerous to use.
When chiseling, work along the grain from the edge towards the thicker end; otherwise the board could split along the grain. To create a concave corner, hold the beveled side on the work, pressing down and inwards.
To clean up a corner in a notch, tilt the handle away from you, and move the chisel towards you, using the chisel much like a knife while holding the wood using the left hand.
The chisel shouldn’t be employed to cut metal, and care should be taken that no foreign matter like nails damages the blade. The chisel must be oiled to avoid rust.
Hold the chisel, when possible, at a slight angle to the cut, rather than square across. This gives a paring or sliding cut that’s easier to do, and one that leaves the work smoother both on the end grain and with the grain.
A chisel is oftentimes used for roughing, but when cutting curves on ends, comers, and edges, both convex and concave, it’s better to remove as much waste as possible using a saw.
The two primary chisel cuts are vertical and horizontal paring. Always chisel starting from the line toward the waste wood, and begin in such a way that, when the wood should split, the split would be in the waste wood and not in the good wood.
For convex and straight cuts, the chisel should be held with the flat side on the work and the bevel up. The left hand holds the chisel; the right hand guides it and applies the power down on the wood, and also acts as a brake. At times, an exception may be made to this technique. When cutting a long groove or a dado in wide wood, the chisel could cut in excessively deep. It must then be turned so the bevel is down; this will give clearance for the handle.