What Types Of Chisels Are There?

Chisels are versatile tools that come in a wide range of types and sizes, each designed for specific applications. Whether you’re a woodworker or a crafting enthusiast, having the right chisel for the task at hand is crucial. In this guide to chisel types, I will provide an overview of the different chisels available, their uses, and what to consider when buying them.

Essential Wood Chisels for Woodworking

When it comes to woodworking, there are a few chisels that are considered essential for most projects. These chisels come in various shapes and sizes, each serving a specific purpose in shaping and refining wood. Let’s take a closer look at the types of chisels that every woodworker should have in their toolkit.

Bench Chisels

Bench chisels are the most common and versatile chisels used in woodworking. They have a flat, beveled blade with a sturdy handle, making them suitable for a wide range of tasks such as chopping, paring, and detailing wood. It is recommended to have at least two sizes of bench chisels, a 1/4-inch and a 1/2-inch, to handle different cutting needs.

Mortise Chisels

Mortise chisels are specifically designed for cutting rectangular mortise holes, which are crucial joinery elements in woodworking. They have a thick, sturdy blade with a square cross-section, allowing them to withstand the force required to remove wood from the mortise. A 1/4-inch or 1/2-inch mortise chisel is typically sufficient for most projects.

Paring Chisels

Paring chisels have long, thin blades that are perfect for delicate tasks that require precision and control. These chisels are ideal for trimming joints, cleaning up corners, or shaving thin layers of wood. A 1/4-inch or 1/2-inch paring chisel is a valuable addition to any woodworker’s toolkit.

In addition to these essential chisels, there are many other specialized chisels available for specific woodworking needs. From Japanese chisels known for their exceptional sharpness to framing chisels used in heavy-duty carpentry, the options are vast. It’s important to choose chisels that suit your specific woodworking projects and techniques. By investing in a good set of chisels and practicing safe usage, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle any woodworking task with precision and finesse.

Chisel Type Description
Bench Chisels Versatile chisels used for various woodworking tasks
Mortise Chisels Specifically designed for cutting mortise holes
Paring Chisels Long, thin blades for delicate and precise tasks

What Are the Best Woodworking Chisels for Different Types of Projects?

When it comes to woodworking, choosing the right tools is essential. Understanding wood chisel types explained can greatly aid in selecting the best woodworking chisels for different projects. From bench chisels to mortise chisels, each type has specific features and uses, ensuring precise and efficient woodwork. Expert craftsmen analyze the needs of their projects and master the art of using the right wood chisels for the job at hand.

Different Types of Chisels and Their Uses

There are several different types of chisels, each with its own unique shape and purpose. These chisels are designed to meet the specific needs of woodworkers and craftsmen, allowing them to create precise and intricate details in their projects.

One common type of chisel is the bench chisel, which is used for general woodworking tasks such as shaping wood, cutting joints, and paring. Bench chisels often come in different sizes, with narrower chisels used for delicate work and wider chisels for heavier tasks. Another type is the mortise chisel, specifically designed for cutting mortises, which are square or rectangular holes in wood. Mortise chisels have a thicker and stronger blade to withstand the force required to cut through the wood.

Japanese chisels, on the other hand, are known for their exceptional craftsmanship and sharpness. They feature a hollow-ground back and a laminated blade, making them ideal for precise and delicate work. Additionally, tang chisels have a tang that extends through the handle, providing greater stability and control. Socket chisels, on the contrary, have a socket-like handle that fits into the blade, allowing for easy replacement of the blade when it becomes dull.

Type of Chisel Main Use
Bench Chisel General woodworking tasks, shaping wood, cutting joints
Mortise Chisel Cutting mortises
Japanese Chisel Precise and delicate work
Tang Chisel Greater stability and control
Socket Chisel Easy blade replacement

It is essential for woodworkers to have the right chisels for their specific tasks. Having at least two sizes of bench chisels and one mortise chisel can provide versatility and cover a wide range of woodworking needs. When selecting chisels, it is also important to consider the type of steel used in the blades. O1 steel, A2 steel, and PMV11 steel are commonly used, each offering different levels of hardness and durability.

However, it is crucial to handle chisels with care and take safety precautions when using them. Chisels can be the most dangerous tool in woodworking if not used properly. Always wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying wood chips and use a mallet or hammer to strike the chisel, never striking it with your hand. Keeping the chisels sharp and properly maintained is also vital for safe and effective use. By understanding the different types of chisels and their uses, woodworkers can enhance their craftsmanship and achieve exceptional results in their projects.

Types of Chisels for Carving

Carving wood requires specialized chisels that are specifically designed for intricate and detailed work. These chisels come in various shapes and sizes, each serving a specific purpose in the carving process. Whether you are a professional woodcarver or a hobbyist, having the right chisels for carving can make a significant difference in the quality and precision of your work.

One of the most common types of chisels used for carving is the gouge. Gouges have a curved cutting edge, which allows for smooth and controlled removal of wood. They come in different sweep numbers, indicating the curvature of the cutting edge. For example, a gouge with a low sweep number has a flat cutting edge, while a gouge with a high sweep number has a deep curve.

In addition to gouges, V-tools are also commonly used in woodcarving. These chisels have a V-shaped cutting edge, which is perfect for creating fine details, such as lettering or texture. V-tools come in different angles, allowing you to achieve different effects with your carving.

Chisel Type Description
Gouge Curved cutting edge for smooth wood removal
V-tool V-shaped cutting edge for intricate details
Chip Carving Knife Small, sharp knife for chip carving and delicate work

Another type of chisel commonly used in carving is the chip carving knife. These knives have a small, sharp blade, perfect for making precise cuts and intricate designs. Chip carving knives are often used in decorative carving, where small triangular chips are removed from the wood to create a pattern or design.

When choosing chisels for carving, it is important to consider the quality of the steel and the ergonomics of the handles. High-quality chisels made from hardened steel will stay sharp longer and provide better results. Additionally, chisels with comfortable and ergonomic handles will allow for better control and reduce hand fatigue during extended carving sessions.

Features and Recommendations for Chisel Buying

When purchasing chisels, there are a few important factors to keep in mind to ensure you choose the right ones for your needs. The type of chisel you need will depend on the specific woodworking or crafting task you will be undertaking. Here are some features and recommendations to consider when buying chisels:

Types of Chisels

There are various types of chisels available, each designed for specific purposes. Some common types include bench chisels, which are versatile and great for general woodworking tasks, and mortise chisels, which are specifically designed for cutting square or rectangular holes. Paring chisels are ideal for achieving smooth and precise cuts, while tang chisels have a handle that extends into the blade, providing better control and stability. Socket chisels, Japanese chisels, and framing chisels are also worth considering depending on your specific needs.

Blade Material

The blade material of a chisel plays a crucial role in its performance, durability, and edge retention. Chisels are commonly made from high-carbon steel, which is strong and holds a sharp edge well. However, there are different types of steel available, such as O1 steel, A2 steel, or PMV11 steel, each offering different characteristics. Consider the type of wood you will be working with and the level of durability you require before selecting the blade material for your chisels.

Handle Design

The design and ergonomics of the chisel handle are also important factors to consider. Look for handles that provide a comfortable grip and allow for easy maneuverability. Some chisels have wooden handles, while others have handles made of composite materials. Both options have their advantages, so choose the one that feels most comfortable in your hand and suits your personal preference.

Type of Chisel Recommended Use
Bench Chisels Versatile for general woodworking tasks
Mortise Chisels Cutting square or rectangular holes
Paring Chisels Smooth and precise cuts
Tang Chisels Better control and stability

By considering these factors and recommendations, you can ensure that the chisels you choose are well-suited to your specific woodworking needs. Remember to prioritize quality and invest in chisels that are durable, comfortable to use, and suitable for the tasks you will be undertaking. With the right chisels in your toolkit, you can achieve precise and professional results in your woodworking projects.

Safety Precautions for Using Chisels

While chisels are valuable tools, it’s crucial to prioritize safety when handling them to avoid accidents and injuries. The sharp edges and pointed tips of chisels can cause serious harm if not used properly. Here are some essential safety precautions to follow:

  1. Wear protective gear: Always wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris. Additionally, use a dust mask to prevent inhalation of dust particles generated during chiseling.
  2. Secure your workpiece: Ensure that your workpiece is properly secured before using a chisel. This will prevent the piece from slipping or moving unexpectedly, reducing the risk of accidents.
  3. Use a sharp chisel: A dull chisel requires more force to cut through material, increasing the risk of accidents. Regularly sharpen your chisels to maintain their effectiveness and reduce the likelihood of slipping.
  4. Keep your hands behind the cutting edge: Always position your hands behind the cutting edge of the chisel. This helps to prevent accidental contact between your hands and the blade.
  5. Use a mallet correctly: When using a mallet to strike a chisel, ensure that you hold the tool securely with both hands. Avoid striking the chisel with excessive force, as it may cause the chisel to bounce or slip.

By following these safety precautions, you can significantly reduce the risk of accidents while using chisels. Remember, safety should always be your top priority when working with any tools, especially those with sharp edges and points.

Essential Safety Precautions for Using Chisels
Wear protective gear
Secure your workpiece
Use a sharp chisel
Keep your hands behind the cutting edge
Use a mallet correctly

How Do Different Types of Chisels Affect the Bevel Angle?

The bevel angle of a chisel plays a crucial role in determining its effectiveness and purpose. Different chisel bevel angles influence the outcomes in various woodworking tasks. For instance, a low bevel angle of around 20 degrees is ideal for delicate work, while a higher angle of 30 degrees is better for heavy-duty applications. The diverse chisel bevel angles offer versatility in carving, shaping, and woodworking projects, catering to the specific requirements of artisans and professionals.


Choosing the right chisel for each woodworking or crafting task is essential for achieving accurate and professional results. There are various types of chisels available, each designed for specific purposes. These include bench chisels, paring chisels, mortise chisels, tang chisels, socket chisels, Japanese chisels, and framing chisels, among others. Each type of chisel has its own unique shape and size, allowing for different cutting and shaping techniques.

When building a woodworking toolkit, it is recommended to have at least two sizes of bench chisels and one mortise chisel. Bench chisels are versatile and can be used for general woodworking tasks, while mortise chisels are specifically designed for cutting mortises and other joinery work. It is also important to consider the material of the chisel, as they can be made of different steels. O1 steel, A2 steel, and PMV11 steel are commonly used and offer different levels of hardness and durability.

However, it is important to remember that using chisels can be dangerous if proper safety precautions are not taken. They are sharp tools that require skill and control. Always wear appropriate protective gear, such as safety goggles and gloves, and make sure the work area is well-lit. Take your time and work slowly to avoid accidents. Keep your chisels sharp, as dull chisels are more likely to slip and cause injury. By following these safety guidelines, you can enjoy the art of woodworking while keeping yourself protected.

In conclusion, understanding the different types of chisels and their uses is vital for any woodworking enthusiast or craftsman. By selecting the right chisel for each task, you can ensure precise and professional results. Remember to invest in quality chisels, maintain them properly, and prioritize safety at all times. With the right tools and knowledge, you can embark on your woodworking journey with confidence and creativity.

Scroll to Top