is a long, flat piece of steel of certain thickness with a cutting
edge at one end and a tang or a socket at the other end to which
a handle is attached.
The cutting edge is formed at the end of the steel piece by creating a bevel from the thickness of the steel down to a very narrow edge, it is this very narrow edge which is the sharp edge of a chisel.
A chisel is used to shave, slice and chop wood by pushing the cutting edge into the wood at a certain angle with a certain amount of force.
Depending on the job the angle and the force will differ. Some jobs only require force to be applied by pushing the handle/chisel by hand, some require striking the handle with a mallet.
Various types of chisels and chisel sizes are common place in a woodworkers / carpenters tool kit.
The most common type of chisel found in a tool-kit is a firmer chisel / bevel edge firmer chisel. Mortice chisels are also very commonly found in a tool-kit.
The chisel has been used for centuries in this form and still remains today, a perfect tool for its purpose.
A chisel is in most instances designed to cut wood.
There are also chisels designed for use with stone and masonry.
Through time there have evolved a number of different chisel types including:
These chisels can be of tang design or socketed design.
These two types of design are basically how the handle is fitted to the chisel blade:
On the basis both chisels have exactly the same blade and both
fitted to the handle well:
The first thing to say is both types of chisel will do the same job perfectly well.
A tanged chisel is by far the most common type of chisel design which in part I would imagine is because it is usually the more cost effective design which does not affect functionality.
A socketed design, provided made to a good standard offers extra strength, it also makes it easier on fitting a handle; with a tanged handle a central hole in a perfect straight line needs to be drilled and fitted, if it is off centre at any point the blade will end up being set at an angle.
There have been hundreds of recognised chisel manufacturers over the centuries including chisel manufacturers of today with some of the most prolific chisel makers being:
From the old chisel makers, I think it is fair to say by far the most prolific
chisel manufacturers were Marples and Sorby (many Sorby family names / members have
been involved in making chisels over hundreds of years and still do today).
Chisels by these two makers are still cherished and sought after today.
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