A mortice chisel
is a tool used to cut and chop out wood, usually with the intention
of creating a mortice.
A mortice chisel consists of a blade with a cutting edge at one end and a handle for striking with a mallet at the other end. The user places the sharp cutting edge in position on a piece of wood and then strikes the end of the handle with a mallet to cut the wood.
Mortice chisels are fitted with a blade of greater thickness than a standard firmer chisel. This extra thickness allows the chisel to resist shock and carry out morticing and heavy duty work more efficiently.
The most commonly used mortice chisels are often fitted with a wooden handle, usually made from Ash, with an extra strong steel ferrule at the striking end of the handle. This ferrule helps prevent the end 'splitting out' from the extra forces often exerted with these tools. These types of chisels (as seen on the left-side of the top image) are sometimes referred to as a general purpose mortice chisel, or registered chisel, however most of the time they are just referred to as a mortice chisel.
Mortice chisels also often have a leather washer fitted between the bolster and the handle to help absorb shock to the hand.
Some mortice chisels are fitted with a manmade composite handle such as those by William Marples & Sons, and Stanley. These composites are usually very hard and are often described as indestructible.
There are a few different types of mortice chisel, the most popular type used is the general purpose mortice chisel. The other types include:
A general purpose mortice chisel or registered mortice chisel, is fitted with a blade of greater thickness than a firmer chisel. This type of chisel is also often fitted with a wooden handle with an extra steel hoop fitted to the striking end of the handle. The handle can however be of any kind, including hard composite plastic handles.
A sash mortice chisel, sometimes known as a 'London Pattern' mortice chisel, is fitted with a blade of greater thickness and slightly longer than a standard mortice chisel. This extra thickness and length gives the ability of the tool be used on deeper morticing work than the standard general purpose mortice chisel.
An oval bolster mortice chisel is the oldest type of mortice chisel. These chisels are fitted with a chunky oval shaped wooden handle and a chunky, stout blade of greater thickness than the general purpose mortice chisels and sash mortice chisels.
A swan neck mortice chisel is a distinctive chisel with a curved blade which roughly resembles the shape of a swan's neck or a goose's neck. This specially designed tool is used to clean the bottom of mortices.
A typical mortice chisel consists of the following parts:
A mortice chisel is designed to cut wood.
There have been numerous makers of mortice chisels in the past, and still a few present makers. Below are a list of a few well known mortice chisels makers:
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