How to use a Wood Chisel

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How to use a Wood Chisel

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A sharp wood chisel can cut mortises, shave rough surfaces, chop out corners and scrape off glue. We’ll demonstrate these techniques and show you how to sharpen your chisel. The wood chisel is an indispensable member of your tool set. We’ll show you how to get the most out of it.


Step One

Look over the workpiece for knots and nails. Clamp the workpiece so that it doesn't move.


Step Two

Make sure that the cutting edge of the chisel is sharp. A dull chisel is hard to control and makes the job harder than it needs to be. Stand with both feet on the floor and don't overreach.


Step Three

Use a wood or plastic mallet with a large face. Never use a steel hammer.


Step Four

Position the chisel with its bevel side up for deep cuts, convex curves and in places where the chisel can be nearly level to the work.


Step Five

Position the chisel with its bevel side down for concave curves and fine shaving and in confined spaces. Face the bevel toward the waste side for square-sided cuts.


Step Six

Tap the chisel lightly while holding it at an angle of 45 degrees.


Step Seven

Point the chisel away from your body.


Step Eight

Chisel across the grain and then with the grain - otherwise, the chisel will split the wood.


Step Nine

Make smooth finishing cuts by hand without the mallet.


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