Is Chisel A Cutting Tool?

Blue Bevel Edge Chisels
Blue Bevel Edge Chisels from


In the world of woodworking and construction, the chisel is a commonly used tool. It is known for its ability to cut and shape wood, making it an indispensable tool for craftsmen and DIY enthusiasts alike. But is a chisel really considered a cutting tool? Let’s dive deeper into this topic to find out.

What is a Chisel?

A chisel is a hand tool that features a sharp cutting edge at one end and a handle at the other. It is typically made of hardened steel, which allows it to withstand the force applied during cutting and shaping tasks. Chisels come in various sizes and shapes, each designed for specific purposes.

The Cutting Aspect of a Chisel

When we talk about cutting tools, we often think of blades that have a serrated or sharp edge. While a chisel may not fit this description exactly, it does possess a cutting edge that enables it to remove material from a workpiece. The cutting edge of a chisel is created by grinding and honing the steel to a precise angle, resulting in a sharp edge capable of slicing through wood fibers.

How Does a Chisel Work?

When using a chisel, the cutting edge is driven into the workpiece with a mallet or hammer. The force applied causes the chisel to penetrate the wood, cutting and removing material in the process. The angle at which the chisel is held, as well as the direction of the force, determines the quality and precision of the cut.

Types of Chisels

There are several types of chisels available, each designed for specific tasks. The most common types include:

  • Bevel Edge Chisel: This chisel features a beveled cutting edge, making it suitable for general-purpose woodworking tasks.
  • Firmer Chisel: Firmer chisels have thicker blades, allowing for heavy-duty tasks such as shaping and mortising.
  • Paring Chisel: Paring chisels have long and thin blades, making them ideal for delicate and precise cuts.
  • Mortise Chisel: Mortise chisels are specifically designed for creating mortises, which are rectangular holes used in joinery.

Chisel Maintenance

Like any cutting tool, a chisel requires regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance. Keeping the cutting edge sharp is crucial, as a dull chisel can cause splintering and lead to poor results. Sharpening stones or honing guides can be used to restore the sharpness of the chisel’s cutting edge.


In conclusion, while a chisel may not fit the traditional description of a cutting tool, it is indeed a tool designed for cutting and shaping wood. With its sharp cutting edge and ability to remove material, the chisel plays a vital role in woodworking and construction projects. Understanding the different types of chisels and proper maintenance techniques will help ensure the longevity and effectiveness of this indispensable tool.