Chisel Basics (Hand Tools DIY)

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Here you will learn Chisel Basics. Woodwork is the new soul-satisfying habit. From the daily rigmaroles, woodwork is a habit to rejuvenate. Each type of work requires a definite tool, and knowing its usage at the beginning might be a thing of epiphany. This is pure craftsmanship that results in beautiful wood arts or designs over time.

Chisel Basics (Hand Tools DIY)

Chisel is indispensable in woodwork. There are many different types of chisels, and their use remains the same. Their usage goes back to thousands of years. A chisel is hand-held and must be used safely to do our works. If there is the slightest mistake—our hand will be at stake.

A chisel has a sharp edge on the bottom and a handle on the top. It is used primarily to smooth hard surfaces on wood and cut designs.

There is no easy way to learn anything. Persistent efforts and careful understanding of in and out make it simple. The type of work decides the usage of a chisel. Just think about the type of work you need to do and use the tool accordingly.

How do you chisel wood by hand?

A chisel basics has to be used with both hands. One hand holds the chisel’s handle firmly, and the other guides the sharp edge on the wooden surface. You need to learn to control the chisel at first. Apply force on the chisel with the holding hand and slowly slide it towards the guiding hand. For safety, use a mallet as the guiding tool.

Slide the chisel on the wooden surface to smoothen it or use force as required to design.

What are the best wood carving tools for beginners?

There are many wood carving tools. Different types of works need different tools. For a beginner, it may not be feasible to buy every tool to carve wood. These are the best tools recommended for beginners:

Chisels and Mallets

Chisels are considered the basic tools for wood carving. Woodwork without chisel basics is never satisfying.

Mallet is used together with Chisel to cut out small chunks of wood. Mallets are available in two variations made of wood and rubber. A rubber one is safer for beginners.


Gouges are also available of various types. But their usability remains the same. It is useful to dig through wood and make a hole or a design related to them. The different types of Gouges available vary in length and curvature. For a beginner, the U gouge is most useful.


We all know pretty much about what a knife can do. Choosing a knife with a smaller blade is safer and handy for beginners. They are easier to manage and has various uses. There are different types of knives available. A chip carving knife comes to the best use of a beginner.

What material is used to make chisels?

Chisel Basics

A chisel is never made of a single material. Several parts together make a chisel. Generally, wood chisels are made using steel. To be precise, using a type of steel called “Tool steel.” It is also known as “Carbon Steel.” The reason behind using this type of steel is its hardness.

For making chisel too hard to last many years, makers use vanadium steel.

The handles of the chisels are made with hardwoods like beech, boxwood, and ash. The handles must withstand the forceful blows of mallets. Hence, the hardwoods are used. They are also made with PVC, a type of plastic as they are resistant to impact.

There is a small ring between the handle and blade of a chisel. It is called ferrule and is made of steel or brass.

Every chisel has an end cap on the handle. They feel the impact of a mallet first. Mostly, they are made of plastic (PVC) or metal.

Can you chisel plywood?

Yes. We can chisel plywood. The only limitation is normal chisels won’t be of any use. It requires a type of chisel called “Cold Chisel” which is made of hardened steel.

Does soaking wood make it easier to carve?

Yes. Soaking wood makes it easier to carve. Sometimes, the wood is too hard to carve. All we need to do is to soften it by soaking it in water. It adds the moisture back into the wood and makes it easier and flexible to carve.

What is the easiest wood to carve?

Each type of wood has its own texture and characteristics. It is not easy to carve on every wood. Woodworkers use only specific woods to do their work.

Basswood is always their first choice. It is easier to carve and suitable for beginners. It is used for centuries as its texture is soft and leaves no grain.

Another type of wood that is popular among woodworkers is Aspen. It feels smooth to carve on it but is stronger than Basswood. It is less expensive and easier to carve. Oak is an ideal wood to carve. It is popular among woodworkers and used in many homes.

Is wood carving an expensive hobby?

No. Wood carving is an inexpensive hobby. Many chisels are available at a cheaper price. The price goes on increasing as you learn and try out new things over time.

What can I use instead of a chisel?

The best alternative for chisel in carving is a knife. As they are available of different sizes, you have to select what is suitable for you and work.

Is chisel a cutting tool?

Yes. Chisel is not a cutting tool. It cannot be used to cut large wood. It is used to carve and smoothen wooden surfaces and cut out some portion.


What are the types of chisels?

Chisel Basics (Hand Tools DIY)

There are many types of chisels. Each type has its own specific purpose. This is the list of chisels that are available for different uses.

  1. Masonry Chisel
  2. Sash Mortise Chisel
  3. Mortise Chisel
  4. Paring Chisel
  5. Slick Chisel
  6. Butt Chisel
  7. Firmer Chisel
  8. Dovetail Chisel
  9. Corner Chisel
  10. Japanese Chisel
  11. Skew Chisel
  12. Socket Chisel
  13. Framing Chisel
  14. Concrete Chisel
  15. Cranked Handle Chisel
  16. Bolster Chisel
  17. Cold Chisel
  18. Cape Chisel
  19. Round Chisel
  20. Curved Chisels
  21. Power Chisels

Chisel Basics Summing up

Chisels are always hand-held. Woodworking may be your hobby, but safety must be your utmost priority. Chances are high that you get injured even with a small error in the process. Start small if woodworking is your hobby and build on it, learning every aspect of it.

Bonus video: How to use a Chisel Correctly

Thank you for reading!

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