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What is a chisel and what is it used for?

What is a chisel and what is it used for?

Chisels are one of the most commonly used tools in the world of sculpture. Aside from the art world, they are also used in masonry and construction, to prepare surfaces before they are worked on. Would you like to know more about this tool?

What is a chisel?

A chisel is a tool used for carving materials, striking them with the aid of a hammer or mallet. Although it is a fairly straightforward mechanical tool that has been used for many years, it is still very commonly used today.

In fact, this tool was even used by primitive humans, when they were generally made from stone, but now they are manufactured using steel.

What is a chisel used for?

Chisels are used cold and, as we already mentioned, always with assistance from another tool, such as a hammer or mallet. This is because chisels are specialised tools for cutting and roughing out other materials by striking them.

Chisels have two main purposes: breaking up materials and removing shavings from a material. It is precisely for this reason that chisels are used for cutting concrete, for opening up holes and carving and finishing pieces, among other purposes.

Parts of a chisel

Although there are various different types and models of chisel available, they are usually made up of four different parts as a general rule.

First there is the head. This is the part that is hit by the striking tool, whether it be a hammer or a mallet. It is at the far end of the chisel.

There is also the handle, which allows the sculptor to hold the chisel comfortably and direct the impact when it is struck. Next is the wedge, which is where you will find the cutting part (the flat areas of the chisel).

Finally you have the cutting edge, which is the part that is responsible for delivering the impact to the piece you are working on.

Types of chisel

Depending on the type of application they are being used for, chisels can be organised into the following categories:

According to how they are used, we have:

In terms of the material they’re made from, we have:

  • Steel chisels.
  • Carbide chisels.

This second type is a bit more expensive than the steel alternative, but it is worth it in the long term as it will last longer and allow you to work with materials that are up to 100 times harder.

How are chisels used?

As you might imagine, they are used in a fairly simple way. All you need to do is hold the chisel in your hand, position the edge against the area that you want to cut and use your other hand to strike the other end.

To achieve a clean cut, we recommend that you position the chisel at a 90º angle, fully perpendicular to the surface. However, if you’re looking to make a groove in a brick wall, position the chisel at a 65º angle, or if you’re removing rivets or protruding pieces of stone, you’ll want to hold it at an angle of less than 45º.

Chisels and tools for sculpting stone

If you’re interesting in learning more about chisels and other sculpting tools, this is the community you’ve been looking for! Let us know what you love the most about the art of sculpture, what sparked your interest and when you first had a go at making your own piece. And if you’ve come to this blog because this is the first time you’ve taken on a challenge like this, then welcome! You’ve taken the first step into one of the most exciting worlds out there.

If you need tools to get started with sculpting and designing your own pieces, we have everything you could need! And if you have any queries, we would be delighted to help you with whatever you need.

Last modified on: January 26, 2021

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