Chisel is a very common tool made from metal and is mainly used for carving and cutting. This tool has been used for various purposes by many different civilizations. There were different shapes and designs of the chisel, but the overall function remained the same for thousands of years.
Chisels are an essential component in many areas of different crafts like woodworking and sculpturing. They are also used in masonry work. Whether you are a craftsman or just a simple hobbyist, you surely know the value of a chisel.
There are a lot of different fields where chisel comes in handy and different chisels are made to suit these tasks appropriately. Here in this guide, we will tell you all you need to know about chisels.
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Types of Chisels:
There are a lot of different types of chisels depending upon their use, and many of them are used for detailing and adding finishing touches. Below we have listed some of the most common types.
One of the most commonly used chisels is the masonry chisel. It is designed to cut cement blocks and bricks or to remove excess mortar. A typical masonry chisel has a dull head which is perfect for wedging and breaking bricks.
Masonry chisel also comes equipped with a protective handle as they are quite heavy and can be dangerous. These chiles are widely used in the demolition process and are often attached to a jackhammer or hammer drill.
Brick chisels are also called bolster chisel and are designed to crack and not cut through objects. Unlike masonry chisels, a brick chisel has a wider blade allowing for efficient cracking of blocks and bricks.
Brick chisels are really easy to hold; make sure that you keep the blade straight when cracking bricks and masonry blocks. Being easy to handle does not mean that they do not come with a handguard. It provides protection as well as a secure grip.
Rock chisel is a special kind of masonry chisel that is specially designed for breaking open rocks. It is usually used for extracting fossils, minerals, and gems.
Cold chisels are specially designed for cutting metals (unheated) that are softer than the material used for making that cold chisel. Cold chisels can also be used for carving and opening rocks, but are comparatively weaker than the rock chisels and break easily.
How to Properly use a Chisel:
The first thing to keep in mind when using a chisel is to use an appropriate chisel that is best suited to that particular work. After that, the size of the chisel itself and the size of the blade come into play.
Here is how to use a chisel properly.
Before starting, make sure to check the chisel before using it. You can use a perfectly flat square to check the flatness of the blade.
Sharpening the chisel is an optional step if you find it necessary to sharpen the blade of the chisel. (it also protects the blade)
If you are working with wood, make sure to clamp the wood firmly so that it does not move during the hammering process.
Then make a small hole or indentation in the wood surface.
Now place the chisel on that spot and make sure that it is pointed at an angle of 90 degrees.
Use a wooden mallet for better precision and control.
Make sure that the beveled edge is nearest to the wood surface.
Once that is done, follow the wood grain and run the chisel along.
It is important to know what to remove and what not to remove. Only remove small amounts at a time.
On the other hand, masonry chisels are for shaping, trimming, and scoring bricks and stones. It is very important to choose an appropriately sized chisel with a suitable blade. It is highly recommended to mark the area you need to chisel to avoid any unnecessary chiselling or wasting the material.
Just like woodworking chisels, a masonry chisel is also to be kept at an angle of 90 degrees.
Strike the chisel with a mallet in the center repeatedly until the material breaks evenly.
A tip from professionals is to keep sharpening (honing) stone at hand to sharpen the chisel when needed. (you can also use a grinder to sharpen the edge)
A sharper blade cut better and is less likely to be dented.
Safety Tips when Working with Chisels:
No matter how careful or skilled you are with a tool, it only takes a single mistake to leave a lifelong scar. Using a chisel might seem like an easy enough task, but it can turn into a bad situation really easily.
Here are some safety tips to follow when working with a chisel.
Wear safety equipment like gloves, goggles preferably a face shield.
Use the correct sized chisel for the job.
Make sure that your chisel has a handguard or, at the very least, has a wider handle that is firmly attached to the chisel.
Sharpen your chisel before starting. It makes your job easier as well as protecting the blade from being dented.
Make sure to have a proper balance.
These are some important tips that you should follow when working with chisels. Here are some things that you should not do with chisels.
Do not use a chisel as a wedge to open stuff.
Don’t use a softer chisel on hard material.
Do not use metal chisels with clipped or mushroom heads.
Do not use a dull chisel.
What is the Difference between Rock and Cold Chisel?
Both of these chisels are used to carve or break apart hard materials like rocks and bricks. The difference between the two chisels lies in their sharp end as well as the material they are made from and for.
A rock chisel is on the expensive side, while a cold chisel is not that expensive.
A rock chisel is made for carving hard rocks; it is made from stronger material and often has a carbide tip. On the other hand, cold chisels are much cheaper, but they are weaker than rock chisels.
Parts of a Chisel:
A chisel is divided into three parts which are as follows:
Sharp end (cutting end).
Head or striking end.
The Cutting End (Edge):
When it comes to cold chisels, they have a bevelled edge. As a famous artisan advised, the edge of the cold chisel should be maintained at about 60 to 70 degrees. When it comes to cold metals, the angle of the chisel might not seem hard and sharp and does not have a stronger beat sharpness.
This bevelled edge is more prone to being chipped and broken when striking against hard surfaces. The cold chisel is made in a special way (tempering). It is heated at a high temperature and then cooled rapidly, which makes the chisel strong and the edge sharp.
Cold chisels come in different width cutting ends, but experts suggest using a chisel that is 25 per cent wider than the material you are cutting.
When it comes to the rock chisel, the cutting edge is very different from a cold chisel. The reason is that rock chisels have tungsten carbide that is welded onto the tip of the chisel. The carbide edge is what gives the rock chisel advantage over the cold chisel.
It offers better strength and endurance when used on hard surfaces. The level of a rock chisel differs from chisel to chisel. It is important that you keep the edge sharp and well-maintained.
Striking End (Head):
A striking end of a chisel is basically the same for chisels and is the same for cold and rock chisels. The head of both these chisels is cut at a 45-degree angle; this helps remove the 90-degree edge.
When it comes to the striking end of the chisels, it is kept soft and not hardened as it helps absorb the impact and does not shatter. The wear of the head is obvious after being struck a lot.
The body of the chisel is the portion that you are griping in your hand while using the chisel. Different chisels serve different purposes, so they vary with the width of the cutting edge, size, and length.
A typical cold chisel has a hexagonal or octagonal cross-section. It depends upon the material used to make the chisel. The body of a cold chisel is made from steel alloy or carbon tool steel, giving it a strong body.
When it comes to rock chisels, they are made into different shaped bodies, including hexagonal, round, and octagonal. The body of the rock chisel is made with steel making it very strong and durable.
Experts say that an octagonal-shaped body is much easier to grip.
The Recommended use of Cold and Rock Chisels:
All chisels are made with one specific purpose in mind, and in turn, they have advantages over some materials. Here is a list of materials that both these chisels are good for.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the perfect thing to strike a chisel?
A mallet or a chisel hammer is used to strike the head of the chisel.
Can a chisel be used on plywood?
Yes, you can use a chisel on plywood, but it needs to be very sharp. You can use it to square up the edges.
A chisel is a very handy tool when it comes to cracking and edging rocks or bricks. It is mostly used in the construction industry or woodworking. You can also use it to break open rocks when searching for semi-precious gems or other treasures.