What Chisels Do I Need? Top 5 Essential Chisels for Woodworking Beginners

When it comes to woodworking, choosing the right chisels can make all the difference in the world. As any craftsman will tell you, a good set of chisels is essential for achieving clean and precise work. But with so many options on the market, how do you know which chisels are the right fit for your needs? Well, it all comes down to the type of projects you plan to tackle and the materials you will be working with.

For example, if you primarily work with softwoods, you may want to opt for a set of shorter and broader chisels, while if you work with hardwoods, a longer and slimmer set may be better suited. But it’s not just about the size and shape of the blades. You also want to consider the quality of the steel, the handle design, and the overall balance and weight of the chisels.

Cheaper chisels may be tempting, but they often come with lower quality blades and handles that can make the work more difficult and imprecise. Ultimately, the right chisels for you will depend on your personal preferences and woodworking goals. As you begin to experiment with different types of chisels, you’ll start to develop a better understanding of what works best for you and your craft.

Remember, investing in a good set of chisels is an investment in your craft, and the right tools can take your work to the next level.

Types of Chisels to Consider

When it comes to woodworking, chisels play an important role in creating precise cuts and shapes. But with all the different types of chisels available, it can be overwhelming to choose which ones you need. A good starting point is to consider getting a bench chisel, which can work for a variety of tasks such as cutting joints and shaping wood.

Another useful chisel to have is a mortise chisel, which is stronger and thicker than a bench chisel and is designed specifically for mortising tasks. For delicate work or creating intricate designs, a paring chisel may be the better choice as it has a longer, thinner blade. Lastly, a skew chisel can be used for creating angled cuts and smoothing surfaces.

By adding these types of chisels to your toolkit, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle a range of woodworking projects.

1. Bench Chisels

When it comes to chisels, there are a variety of types to consider depending on the job at hand. One of the most commonly used chisels is the bench chisel. These versatile tools come in a range of sizes and are perfect for chopping and paring wood.

They can be used for a variety of woodworking tasks, such as cutting mortises, trimming joints, and shaping wood. When choosing a bench chisel, it’s essential to consider the blade’s material, as well as the bevel angle. High carbon steel or A2 steel are commonly used for blades, while a bevel angle of 25–30 degrees is ideal for general woodworking tasks.

It’s also crucial to choose a handle that feels comfortable in your hand and provides a secure grip. Whether you’re a professional woodworker or a DIY enthusiast, a bench chisel should definitely be on your list of must-have tools.

what chisels do i need

2. Mortise Chisels

When it comes to woodworking, one of the essential tools you must have in your kit is a good set of chisels. Mortising is one of the common woodworking practices, which requires the use of mortise chisels that are specifically built to withstand the constant hammering. These types of chisels come in different shapes and sizes, from narrow to wide, making them versatile for various mortising tasks.

One of the popular mortise chisels is the beveled-edge chisel, which is built with a slightly skewed blade that allows for easy entry into the wood. Another type of mortise chisel is the firmer chisel that features a straight blade that covers a range of mortising tasks. The most crucial factor to consider when choosing the right chisel type is the quality of the blades.

A durable blade with a balanced and sturdy handle ensures a comfortable grip and precise precision, even when working on hard materials. In conclusion, investing in a set of mortise chisels will make your woodworking experience much more enjoyable and more comfortable, and will result in smoother, cleaner, and more professional mortises.

3. Paring Chisels

When it comes to woodworking, having the right chisel is crucial. For paring tasks, you’ll want to consider paring chisels as they are specifically designed for precise cuts. There are two main types of paring chisels to consider: bevel-edge and firmer.

Bevel-edge chisels have a slightly angled edge that makes them ideal for reaching tight spaces and creating intricate designs. Firmer chisels, on the other hand, have a straight edge that makes them great for general purpose paring tasks. Both types of chisels come in a variety of sizes, so it’s important to choose the right size for the job at hand.

A smaller chisel is great for delicate work, while a larger chisel is better for removing larger amounts of wood. No matter which type of paring chisel you choose, be sure to keep it sharp and well-maintained to ensure the best results.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Chisels

When it comes to choosing chisels, there are a few factors to keep in mind to ensure you pick the best ones for your needs. Firstly, consider the type of work you will be doing. If you will mainly be working on intricate details, a smaller chisel with a precise tip may be best, while for heavier work a larger chisel with a wider blade may be more fitting.

Secondly, think about the material the chisel is made from. High-quality steel is crucial to ensure your chisels are durable and long-lasting. Thirdly, consider the handle of the chisel as it determines the level of comfort and control you will have when using it.

A comfortable grip can make all the difference when working for longer periods of time. Finally, think about the cost. While investing in a good set of chisels may be more expensive initially, it may save you money in the long run as you will have reliable tools that won’t need replacing anytime soon.

So, if you’re wondering what chisels do I need, keep these factors in mind when making your selection.

1. Blade Material

When choosing a chisel, the first factor to consider is the blade material. The most common materials used for chisel blades are high-carbon steel, stainless steel, and chrome-vanadium steel. High-carbon steel is the strongest and holds its sharp edge for longer periods, but it also requires frequent maintenance to prevent rust and corrosion.

Stainless steel, on the other hand, is highly resistant to rust and corrosion, making it ideal for use in damp or humid environments. Chrome-vanadium steel is a good compromise between strength and rust resistance and is suitable for general-purpose chisels. Ultimately, the choice of blade material depends on your specific needs and preferences, as well as your budget.

By considering the blade material first, you can ensure that you invest in a chisel that will meet your needs and last for years to come.

2. Handle Material and Design

When it comes to choosing chisels, handle material and design are crucial factors to consider. The handle of a chisel should be comfortable to hold and provide a good grip to prevent slipping. Some common handle materials include wood, plastic, and rubber, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

For example, wooden handles offer a traditional look and feel, but they can become damaged over time with use. Plastic and rubber handles, on the other hand, are more durable and can withstand more wear and tear. When selecting a handle design, consider the type of work you will be doing and the amount of force required.

A chisel with a longer handle may provide more leverage for heavy-duty work, while a shorter handle is more suitable for delicate tasks. Remember to choose a handle material and design that feels comfortable and secure in your hand to ensure the best results.

3. Length and Width of Blade

When it comes to choosing chisels, one important factor to consider is the length and width of the blade. The length of the blade should be proportional to the size of the project. If you are working on intricate details, such as carving designs into wood, a shorter blade may be easier to maneuver.

However, for larger projects, a longer blade would be more efficient. The width of the blade should also be considered. A wider blade is useful for removing larger amounts of material quickly, while a narrower blade is better suited for detail work.

It’s important to choose the right blade size for the job to ensure precision and ease of use. So, whether you’re a beginner or expert, selecting the appropriate blade size is crucial to achieving your desired outcome and accomplishing your overall goal.

Selecting Chisels for Specific Projects

If you’re wondering what chisels you need for your woodworking projects, then you’re in the right place. Different chisels are used for different purposes, and it’s important to have the right ones for the job if you want to achieve the best results. For example, a bench chisel is an essential tool for general woodworking, while a mortising chisel is used to make square holes.

If you’re doing intricate work, then a paring chisel will come in handy, while carving chisels are necessary for shaping and sculpting wood. Choosing the right chisels can be overwhelming, but it ultimately depends on the project you’re working on. Having a set of different chisels in your toolbox will give you the flexibility to tackle any woodworking project that comes your way confidently.

1. Woodworking Projects

When it comes to woodworking projects, selecting the right chisels for specific tasks is crucial. Different chisels are designed to handle different types of wood, and choosing the right one can greatly impact the quality of your project. For instance, a beveled chisel is perfect for cutting mortises, while a straight chisel is better suited for paring and trimming wood.

Meanwhile, a fishtail chisel is designed for getting into tight areas and making precise cuts. Some other factors to consider when choosing chisels include the type of handle you prefer, the size of the chisel, and the quality of the steel used in the blade. By taking these factors into account and selecting the appropriate chisels for your woodworking projects, you can ensure that your finished product is of the highest quality possible.

2. Metalworking Projects

When it comes to metalworking projects, one of the essential tools you’ll need is a set of chisels. However, not all chisels are created equal, and different projects require specific types of chisels. For instance, if you’re working with softer metals like copper or brass, you’ll want to use a chisel with a sharper point.

This type of chisel can help you create finer details and intricate designs. On the other hand, if you’re working with harder metals like steel or iron, you’ll need a chisel with a broader blade that can handle the toughness of the metal. Ultimately, selecting the right chisel for your project can make a significant difference in the final product.

So, when choosing a chisel, be sure to consider the type of metal you’re working with, the size of the project, and the intended use of the chisel. With the right tools, you’ll be well on your way to creating stunning metalworking projects that will impress even the most discerning eye!


In a world full of tools, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest gadget or gizmo. But when it comes to woodworking, there’s one classic tool that always stands the test of time: the chisel. From creating intricate details to roughing out rough edges, chisels are a versatile and essential part of any woodworker’s arsenal.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, it’s important to have the right chisels for the job. So the next time you’re asking yourself, “What chisels do I need?” remember that the answer is simple: the ones that get the job done and make you feel like a true craftsman. “


What are the different types of chisels needed for wood carving?
There are several types of chisels needed for wood carving, including straight chisels, V-chisels, gouges, fishtail chisels, and skew chisels.

Can I use the same chisels for both wood and metal carving?
It is not recommended to use the same chisels for wood and metal carving as it can damage the edges of the chisels. Separate chisels should be used for each material.

What is the difference between a beveled edge and a skew edge chisel?
A beveled edge chisel has a straight cutting edge, while a skew edge chisel has an angled cutting edge. Skew edge chisels are ideal for making clean cuts at an angle and creating intricate details.

What size chisels should I use for fine detail work?
For fine detail work, smaller chisels with a blade width of 1/8 to 1/4 inches are recommended.

Can chisels be sharpened and how often should I sharpen them?
Yes, chisels can be sharpened using a sharpening stone or honing guide. It is recommended to sharpen them before each use or at least every few uses to maintain their sharpness.

What materials are chisels typically made of?
Chisels are typically made of high carbon steel, stainless steel, or high-speed steel. Some chisels may also have a wooden or plastic handle for comfort and grip.

What safety precautions should I take when using chisels?
Always wear gloves and safety glasses when using chisels. Use a secure work surface and keep your hands away from the blade. Make sure the blade is sharp to prevent slipping and always cut away from your body.

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