Which chisel to buy
A chisel buying guide
All types of chisels are designed to separate, remove or otherwise split objects. However, all chisels are not created equal for the same tasks. For one thing, chisel sizes vary. Also, different types of materials require chisels that are made in different styles. These chisels can be created from materials ranging from metal to plastic. Some even work best with the chisel attached to a power tool. Each chisel has its own uses that should be considered before making a purchase. Deciding which chisel to buy is a matter of knowing which types of chisels will work for your project.
>> Which types of chisel do you need?
Wood chisels are the most common type of chisel that you'll find in a retail location. Like most different types of chisels, wood chisels are hand tools and use your personal strength to achieve the desired results. Air chisels are designed for those who have more experience with power tools. Like other electric home improvement tools, air chisels may be included in power tool sets. Cold chisels and hot chisels are both designed for blacksmiths and metalworkers.
Type of Chisel
|Wood Chisel ||Wood chisels are usually made from metal and plastic. They have a handle end and a blade end designed to push between pieces of wood. The size of both the blade end and the handle end vary. Some handles may be more comfortable for you to hold than others. ||Use wood chisels for any job involving woodwork. They're designed to cut, remove or separate pieces of wood. |
|Air Chisel ||Air Chisels aren't independent objects like wood chisels. Instead, they're designed to be attached to a power tool. ||Use air chisels for projects that require large levels of strength, since the power tool to which the air chisel is attached makes the project easier. |
|Cold Chisel ||Cold chisels are made of steel and have a deeper angle than hot chisels. Cold chisels also require a hardened edge. ||Cold chisels are designed for metalwork performed on unheated metal. They can be used to remove metal, shape metal or create designs in metal. |
|Hot Chisel ||Hot chisels are also made of steel. They have a smaller angle at their edges than cold chisels. The edge of a hot chisel doesn't have to be hardened. ||Hot chisels should be used for metalwork when heat has been applied to the metal. They can be used to manipulate or create designs in metal. |
Different types of chisels may be available in hand tool sets, giving you a variety of choices when you aren't sure which chisel to buy.
>> Consider the type of work you'll be doing
The type of work you will be doing is directly tied into which chisel to buy. If you're working on something that needs a wood chisel, you're not going to get the same results with a different type of chisel. Your occupation or hobby will help you know which chisel uses you need. Many chisel brands make multiple types of chisels for use in different projects. Buy chisels designed to work with the material you're using. Using your quality chisel properly will extend the life of the tool.
Type of Job or Hobby
Best Type of Chisel
|Woodwork and Basic Home Improvement ||Wood chisel |
|Stonework and artists who use hard sculpting materials ||Masonry chisel |
|Blacksmiths, steel workers and anyone doing metalwork ||Hot or cold chisels |
|Woodwork that requires a lot of strength or repetition ||Air chisel |
>> How will you need to care for your chisels?
Keep in mind that when you decide which chisel to buy, you'll need to learn about how to care for the chisel. All types of chisels require care, but some need care beyond the basic post-use cleaning. Every type of chisel will have to be cleaned and sharpened, for example, but only an air chisel will have to be oiled so that it fits smoothly into the opening on the power tool with which it's compatible. Wood chisels require more frequent sharpening than other types of chisels, especially if you purchase one with a blade made of plastic that's designed for use on soft wood. Waxing hot and cold chisels is important because the wax will help the chisels interact more cleanly with the metal on which they're used. Chisels should only be waxed with tool wax and only after they've been cleaned. The best chisels to buy are those for which you're prepared to care for.
Quality chisels have sharp edges that need to be stored carefully to keep them maintained. This is especially important with air chisels and cold or hot chisels designed to punch through objects. Some chisels come with caps that you can retain and put over the edge of your chisel when you're done with it. Others come with storage boxes that hold the chisel in place and keep it from being damaged or worn down. Check to see what equipment is included with your chisel before making a purchase.