Chisels and their many names 6/04

Have you ever noticed that the world of chisels is getting larger? There are more choices than ever; but how do you choose the right chisel and how do you decipher the meaning of the different names? What are there uses? Well, we have put together a list of chisels including their uses and differences to help make your choices easier. These terms are used by us and although they are common they are not universal.
Let start with he smallest and work our way up......

Carver's Chisels
These tools are all classified as carver's chisels due to the various sweeps and sizes.

Micro Chisels.. These chisels are the smallest and used for very fine detail such a hair or veins in a leaf. Imagine a tool you can't even see when you go to sharpen it and you have a micro chisel. We make 3 styles a 2mm micro V-tool, a 1.5 mm #11 and a 3mm #11 gouge.

Mini Chisels...A term that you will find in our catalog. These are the next size up and they can be gouges, straights, v-tools. Generally the chisels are 1/4" in width, but can range from 1/8"-3/8". These are great for adding detail to any project such as hair, beards, folds in jackets, faces and much more. We make a Mini Chisel set which is very popular with all types of carvers.

Palm Chisels...These are the beginning of our fixed blade line and they can range in size from the micro to 1". These tools are held in your palm and offer great control. Shaft lengths are usually 2-4". They can be used for figures in the round, relief, and larger pieces to add detail. They come in all sweeps and sizes.

Bench Chisel..... This term usually refers to a chisel that is used in all phases of carving and cabinet making. A common choice for an all purpose chisel. The sizes range from 1/4"-1" and they are suitable for relief, in the round and mallet work. Shaft length is 4-5" and make a great all purpose tool. You can take a bench chisel and turn it into a variety of other tools just by altering the edge geometry, handle, or shaft length.

Beveled Edge Tools
The next set of chisels are usually classified as beveled edge tools and in most cases are created with straight edge blades.

Butt Chisel.. A shorter chisel with a straight edge and usually has a 2"-3" shaft, chisel bevel and straight sides. They are generally used by hand for better control.

Paring Chisel/Cabinet Makers Chisel... This tool goes by several names but the result is the same. A straight edge, with chisel bevel, a longer shaft (5"-9") and is long and slender. Used for light controlled cuts when adjusting fine joinery. Never used with a mallet.

Dovetail..As the name implies it is used for cleaning up dovetails. This is also a straight edge chisel, the big difference in this tool is the geometry. It has a flat ground bottom and the sides are also beveled to allow for access when cleaning up dovetail joints.

Mortise chisel... Also used for working with joints, but is much thicker and designed for heavy duty use. This is the tool that takes the beating. The sides are straight with a chisel bevel.

Firmers/Framing Chisels..These are the heavy duty bench chisels. It has a chisel bevel with flat sides and is used primarily by timber framers, but carvers that want to move a lot of wood use them too. Blade width is 1-2" and they are almost always used with a mallet and the shafts are seated onto the handle to allow for the shock that must be absorbed by the tool. The handle will usually have a double ferrule to extend the life of the handle under use.

Specialty Chisels

Slick..A very long handled tool used when you need a long reach. Such as in boat building. They range in size from 1-3" blade widths and overall length is 2-3 feet. The Handle is usually the longest feature and designed to rest on your shoulder.

Scabbard Chisel... These tools are designed specifically for carving out scabbard sheaths. They are long deep gouges that can easily shape the inside of a scabbard.

Corner Chisel.. Designed for cleaning up corners in joinery or for relief work. It is similar to a V-tool with a 90 degree angle. The geometry has a nearly flat back with the bevel on the inside of the tool.

Air Chisels..Designed for pneumatic use they are rather heavy duty and designed to remove a lot of wood quickly. They have rather large shafts to hold up to extreme use.