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How Do I Choose the Best Wood Chisel?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
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A wood chisel is a tool used to carve lines and designs into wood, and there are many different chisels on the market. The best wood chisel will have an appropriate head for the cut or line you want to make in the wood. It also will be the size needed to make the desired cut; otherwise, the cut will be too thin or too wide for your intended purpose. Wood comes in many strengths, based on the type of tree from which the wood comes, and the best chisel will be strong enough to cut the intended wood without warping or breaking. The handle may be made of wood or plastic, and both offer different benefits.

The head of a wood chisel determines how it will cut into a piece of wood, and there are many different heads. For example, a bevel chisel makes an angular cut, while a flat chisel makes a flat cut. The best chisel for your needs should make the cut you are looking for. If it doesn't, then your project may not turn out as you intended or it might take more effort on your part — and using the chisel incorrectly — to get the intended cut.

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Simply getting the right wood chisel head may not be enough; the chisel also should be the right size. If you get a chisel that is too large, then the cut will be wider and may mess up your project. While you can use a smaller or wider chisel to get the intended cut, it is much easier to get a correctly sized chisel to avoid extra work and mistakes.

Wood comes in varying strengths, depending on the type of tree from which the wood came. For example, oak is much harder than balsa wood. Choosing the best wood chisel likely will mean choosing one strong enough to go through the desired wood. Choosing a weaker chisel means it will be harder to cut into the wood and the chisel head may warp, leading the tool not to cut correctly.

Both plastic and wood are often used to make a wood chisel’s handle. A wooden handle is usually not as strong as a plastic one but, because wood bends, it tends to last longer. A plastic handle can withstand harder strikes, but it has a tendency to crack from a lack of flexibility. The best wood chisel for your project likely should have a handle that suits the way you strike into the wood, so the chisel works best with your personal chiseling style.

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