Bendigo Aboriginal
Men's Shed

Hand Tools - Wood Chisels

What are some safety tips to know when using a wood chisel? Wood chisels are made in various shapes and sizes and for many uses. Use the correct chisel for the job. • Wear safety glasses, or goggles, or a face shield (with safety glasses or goggles).
• Use the right size of chisel for the job.
• Choose smooth, rectangular handles that have no sharp edges and are attached firmly to the chisel.
• Make sure that the cutting edge is sharp. Dull chisels can be difficult to control and require more effort to do the job.
• Check the stock (wood) thoroughly for knots, staples, nails, screws or other foreign objects before chiseling.
• Clamp stock so it cannot move.
• Adjust your stance so that you do not lose your balance if the tool slips.
• Chip or cut with the blade pointing away from yourself.
• Keep your hands and body behind the cutting edge.
• Use a wooden or plastic mallet with a large striking face on all chisels. Only heavy-duty or framing chisels are made of a solid or molded handle that can be struck with a steel hammer.
• Make finishing or paring cuts with hand pressure alone.
• When keeping the chisels on the work bench, always place them with the bevel side up.
• Place chisels safely within the plastic protective caps to cover cutting edges when not in use.
• Replace any chisel that is bent or shows dents, cracks, chips, or excessive wear.
• Store chisels in a “storage roll,” a cloth or plastic bag with slots for each chisel, and keep them in a drawer or tray.
• Replace broken or splintered handles.
• Sharpen cutting edges as often as necessary.
• Wear eye protection if there is a risk of eye injury from particles released from the workpiece or when sharpening.

What should I avoid doing?

• Do not use a wood chisel as a pry or a wedge.
• Do not use a wood chisel on metal.
• Do not hold the work with one hand while chiseling with the other hand.
• Do not use an all-steel chisel with a mushroomed face or a chipped edge. Redress with a file or whetstone.
• Do not use a grinder to redress heat-treated tools. Use a whetstone.
• Do not use a dull chisel.