How to Choose the Right Chisel for Woodworking Projects?

In woodworking, you will always use power tools, but you will always use chisels for your woodworking projects. This situation is real, especially if you are cutting dovetail joints and mortises. Chisels are even more essential when working on delicate shapes and small corners. Even before, there have been various chisels available. So, how can you choose the right chisel for your woodworking projects?

The essential thing to consider when choosing the right chisel is if it fits comfortably in your hand. Moreover, make sure of the quality of the metal edge that it can carve out on almost any material. The ease of sharpening is also an essential factor to consider. 

Chisels are available in different options. Hence, looking for the right one can be a tough job. So, here is a guide to help you find the best woodworking chisel for your unique projects. From hand-cut wood joint to tight-fitting, there’s definitely a wood chisel for you. 

Where To Use Woodworking Chisels?

Some things ever get old, and chisels are one of the proofs. Even at the beginning of woodworking history, chisels have been one of the most primary tools in this activity. Only through innovation and modern technology did wood chisels develop and offered various options for various projects.

A chisel is a standard woodworking tool with a distinctively shaped blade cutting edge at its end. It is necessary for the carving and cutting of hard material such as wood, concrete, stone, and even metal. Woodworking chisels are more versatile than you can imagine.

  • Furniture and Cabinet Projects – Chisels are useful in several hand-crafted wood carvings, specifically the Dovetail and Mortise. Each of these wooden joints is important for furniture and cabinet making. Also, chisels are perfect for cutting and fitting projects of this scale.
  • Construction and Renovation Projects – Chisels also come in handy when it comes to timber framing for homes and barns. 
  • Other Wooden Projects – Whether you are a hobbyist, DIY enthusiast, or a professional, you will eventually need chisels for most of your projects. From wooden toys to utensils, chisels help reach hard to reach areas. There are several other projects wherein chisels come in handy.

What To Consider When Buying Woodworking Chisels

Selecting woodworking chisels can be confusing because there are several choices for you to decide. If you pick the wrong chisels, it means that you can’t make for beautiful woodwork. Instead, you will have poor outcomes and may lead to frustration. Here’s a rundown of what to look when picking the best choice of a chisel.

#1: Pick The Right Type of Chisel For The Right Job

The essential consideration when buying any woodworking tool is the purpose of where and how you’re going to use it. For example, a paring chisel will not serve as a general chisel because its purpose is to make fine cuts. Therefore, make sure that you pick the right type of chisel for the right job.

  • Beveled Edged Chisels – These are the most common and useful chisels that come in various lengths suitable for any project. Beveled blades have flat or very slightly hollow back with beveled sides for maximum dovetails access.
  • Paring Chisels – These have long, thin, and light with beveled blades that are suitable for cleaning grooves and accessing tight spaces. When it comes to cutting and other signs for finishing jobs, it is ideal.
  • Butt Chisels – These chisels feature shorter blades and shafts for rough surfaces. Moreover, they have heavy-duty handles that are always ready for pounding happier and mallets.
  • Mortising Chisels – As the name suggests, it is ideal for creating mortises of various strength and width. Mortising Chisels have sharp and rigid blades that can cut deep holes, and take heavy blows from a mallet. 
  • Socket or Firmer Chisels – These are for heavy shaping in woodworking due to its solid steel and coated with iron with a super thick rectangular cross-section. They are the oldest varieties, but their construction made them extraordinary, unique, and timeless.

Type Of Chisel Blades

For chisels, any form of chisel needs quality steel. High carbon steel holds well, and it is relatively easy to sharpen. On the other hand, a dull cutting edge will cause havoc when it comes to cutting wood. It can tear and crush the wood fibers instead of shearing them.

It is also essential to keep the cutting edges clean, and only high carbon blades can help you do it. The same attributes in holding the side sharp even come into play in providing power in the blade’s back. Finally, make sure that the chisels can withstand the repeated blows of a carving release.

Type Of Handle

Handles may be from wood, plastic, leather disks, and other materials. Choose what you think is best for you, but bear in mind that consistency is essential. Chisels that are too big and bulky tend to be less comfortable to use.

Therefore, the handle must always be sturdy enough to take relentless wacks from a carving mallet. You can look for crack-free handles when purchasing those made of wood. Most plastic and leather handles have a steel cap at the end for transferring the mallet force to the blade.

Socket Chisels VS. Tang Chisels 

A socket chisel has the cone-shaped chisel handle fit into the metal socket of the chisel, and more durable than its counterpart. On the other hand, tang chisels have pointed metal tangs fastened inside the wood chisel handle. However, this design makes tang chisels more vulnerable to brakes after hard stikes from a mallet or hammer. 

Wood or Plastic Handles?

Between wood and plastic handles, wooden chisels offer more balance. Not to mention, it looks fantastic with incredible feels. A top-heavy plastic handle can take repeated blows, but it can be a little challenging to use. Moreover, it is perfect for woodworkers who are on a budget.


Chisels are easy and convenient to use, but of course, there are some fundamentals that you need to follow. It may look easy at first, but it requires the perfect timing and the exact amount of pressure in hammering the chisel. So, here are some of the most frequently asked questions from other woodworkers.

What are the best chisels for woodworking?

The best chisels for woodworking depends on how you are going to use it. There are different types of wood chisels, and you have to make sure that it is the most appropriate kind for your project. Otherwise, you will not be able to achieve the maximum outcome. More importantly, invest in chisels that have a high-quality blade. Finally, don’t underestimate the power of handles. It must be comfortable and easy to use.

What woodworking chisels do I need?

The woodworking chisels that you need depends on your project.every type of wood chisel has a specific purpose. For example, Beveled Edged Chisels are the most versatile that is suitable for any project. When it comes to cutting and finishing your craft, paring chisels are a better option. On the other hand, butt chisels are suitable for works that require heavy pounding like hardwoods. Mortising Chisels are for mortise and tenon joints. Finally, socket chisels are perfect for shaping your woodwork.

What kind of hammer do you use for a wood chisel?

If you have chisels with wooden handles, make sure to use a wooden mallet or a plastic hammer. The essential thing to remember is that you must always match the material of the handle to the material of your hammer or mallet. Make sure that your chisel is capable of absorbing those shocks and impacts. It would be perfect if you could make a mallet yourself with a bit of beech. Then, try not to use pine a little soft for a hammer.


The right chisel for your woodworking projects depends on the purpose. The most significant thing to remember when selecting the correct chisel is if it fits comfortably on your hand grip whenever you are using it. Make sure that it has the consistency and sharpness of the metal edge. The simplicity of sharpening is also a crucial factor to remember. Always use your chisels safely.

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