What Is A Socket Chisel? What Is A Socket Chisel Used For?

what is socket chisel
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A socket chisel is a type of woodwork chisel with a strong cupped, steel shaft that allows the handle to be tightly fitted into the cup/socket.

There can be many differently named socket chisels, the difference in name relates to the style of blade.

Examples of a few of the differently named socket chisels include:

The alternative much more common form of chisel handle fitting is with the use of a tang; where a metal spike internally mounts the handle from the top of the blade.

The socket chisel design has a few advantages over the tang design including:

Chisel handles on a tang design are prone to splitting at the base of the handle, the socketed chisel by design supports and eliminates the base of the chisel handle splitting. The socket design offers extra strength to the chisel. The socket chisel design offers an easier way of replacing a handle should the handle become damaged through wear and tear. The physics of the socket chisel design means each strike of the handle should reinforce its fit.

Some people like to make their own handles for the socket chisel. For people who prefer to replace the handle for a like-for-like handle, it is possible to buy replacement socket chisel handles.

Socketed chisels tend to cost more than tanged chisel which is no doubt due to the extra steel and extra work involved in creating the socket.

This style of socketed chisel has been made for a very long time, I have certainly seen examples from the 1800's, quite probably 1700's and wouldn't be suprised if the socketed chisel design dates back many hundreds of years earlier.

heavy duty socket firmer chisel

What Is A Heavy Duty Socket Firmer Chisel?

A Heavy Duty Socket Firmer Chisel has a strong, thick blade which tapers from thick to thinner.

Usually heavy duty socket chisels have longer blades than standard chisels.

The socket refers to the shaft, please see 'What Is A Socket Chisel?' at the top. Please also see 'What Is A Firmer Chisel?'.

Heavy Duty Socket Firmer Chisels are ideally suited to timber frame builders, boat builders and other trades with similar heavy duty requirements.

Typical blade length: 170mm - 230mm

Modern Makers: Henry Taylor Tools

Old Makers: Buck, Gilpin, Greaves, Hearnshaw, Howarth, Kenyon, Marples, Mathieson, Mawhood, Sorby, Union, Wales & Sons, Ward, Woodcock (and others)

What Is A Bevel Edge Socket Chisel?

A Bevel Edge Socket Chisel is a woodwork chisel with a bevel edge blade combined with a socketed shaft; please see 'What Is A Socket Chisel?' at the top.

A bevel edge blade is bevelled on three faces with the blade tapering towards the cutting edge.

A bevel edge blade can be of standard chisel length or of longer paring chisel length, usually if it is a standard length blade it was traditionally known as a 'Cabinet Makers Socket Chisel', if it has a long, slender bevel edge blade it is known as a 'Socket Paring Chisel'.

Modern Makers: Henry Taylor

Old Makers: Buck, Fulton, Marples, Mathieson, Mawhood, Ohio Tool Co, Pexto, Sheldon, Stanley, Union, Winchester (and others)

What Is A Cabinet Makers Socket Chisel?

A Cabinet Makers Socket Chisel is the same as a bevel edge socket chisel but specifically with a standard length blade.

Please see 'What Is A Bevel Edge Socket Chisel?' above.

Modern Makers: ?

Old Makers: Buck, Marples, Mathieson, Mawhood, Stanley (and others)

What Is A Socket Paring Chisel?

A Socket Paring Chisel has a long, slender blade which can either be of plain form or bevel edged, combined with a socketed shaft; please see 'What Is A Socket Chisel?' at the top.

A socketed chisel with a long, slender blade of plain form is known as a 'Socket Paring Chisel'.

A socketed chisel with a long, slender blade which is bevel edged is known as a 'Socket Bevel Edge Paring Chisel'.

Modern Makers: Henry Taylor

Old Makers: Buck, Fulton, Marples, Mathieson, Mawhood, Ohio Tool Co, Pexto, Sheldon, Stanley, Union, Winchester (and others)

Large swan-neck mortice chisels are also nearly always socketed

See 'What Is A Swan-Neck Mortice Chisel?'

What Material Does A Socket Chisel Cut?

A socket chisel is designed to cut wood.

There have been a few makers of socket chisels in the past, and a few present makers. Below are a list of a few well known socket chisels makers:

Old Socket Chisel Makers:

  • Marples
  • Stanley
  • Ward

New Socket Chisel Makers:

  • Henry Taylor Tools


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(ii) The details here are given in good faith, the details are constantly growing and evolving, there is scope for error and shouldn't be fully relied upon, please confirm any details for yourself by performing additional research from reliable sources.

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