For many centuries, from wood to stone, chisels have literally chipped away history to reveal some of our most lasting and beautiful artwork. Do I need to give you any other reason to get yourself a set?
Like a chef’s knife collection, so goes a crafter’s chisels. Each one is made for a specific purpose, whether to shape, smooth, chip or to carve chisels are a very handy tool that every toolbox needs.
Perhaps the most common chisel is a set of woodworkers chisels. These sharp and true chisels come in handy for a myriad of woodcraft needs. Their biggest use is for removing waste, whether it peeling and shaping or chipping out waste from several shallow saw cuts (pictured below) When used properly chisels make light of precise work.
When you’re looking for a great set of bench chisels (the most basic kind of wood chisel), I’d recommend keeping it small and simple at first. Look for a set of 4 ranging from 1/4″ to 1″ wide. WoodCraft’s Woodriver brand makes a decent set (pictured) if you can have them resharpened by a friend or at a store that offers blade sharpening.
What to look for when you’re buying a set:
- Weight – Is the weight comfortable? Heavier weighted chisels help with the workload but you don’t want something too heavy and have to lug them around.
- Flat bottoms. The side opposite of the chisel bevel needs to be really flat. This helps with grinding and honing a truly sharp surface.
- Comfortable grip – Make sure the grip fits your hand. Also, if the tang feels loose in the handle, move on to another brand.
- Narex 4Pc Bench Chisels – These are seriously great tools at a great price. An awesome place to start.
- Woodriver 4-pc Chisel Set
- Lie Nielsen Bevel Edge Chisels
If you’re not focusing a lot of time improving your woodworking craft, then maybe a full set of chisels isn’t the best thing for you. I do believe, however, every DIYer needs at least one kind of chisel. Like this DeWalt multi-use construction chisel. If you’re only going to have one on hand, lets make sure it can do several other things too. Multi taking tools for the win!
This specific tool has a chisel head, a serrated edge (I use to cut wire and rope a lot) a wide striking edge (for those pesky pop up nails) and a strong bevel tip. I use this tool mostly for restoration jobs where I need to pry off small pieces or split and scrape painted surfaces. It’s also perfect for remove glue squeeze-out.
What to look for in a Combination Chisel
- A combination of uses – Whether it’s a rasp, serrated edge or hammer claw, make sure it has a few other features. Saves tool space and time!
- Weight – make sure it’s a good meaty product that will last you a long time. You’ll know it once you pick it up.
- Good Grip – This Dewalt has a great ergonomic grip. I haven’t accidentally tossed it across the room yet!
One More Thing: Keep Your Chisels Separate!
If you plan on investing in a great set of bench chisels, it’s important you have at least one junk chisel for the rest of your crafting. That way you don’t have to worry about damaging your precision cutting ones trying to hurriedly finish a project. Learn from my mistakes and don’t use nice chisels to cut or chip anything but wood!