Graphical Construction Glossary >> Tools. >> Hand Tools >> Bevel Edge Chisel

Bevel Edge Chisel
A woodworking tool with the side edges bevelled. It is used for general cutting.
Socket Chisel
A woodworking chisel made out of solid cast steel. Normally used for heavier work. The handle fits into the cast socket and quite often has a ferule or button on the end.
Paring Chisel
A woodworking chisel with bevelled edges. The length of the blade when new is a lot longer than other chisels. It is a bench tool.

A plastic handled beveled edge chisel
A plastic handled bevelled edge chisel
Photo thanks to Wikimedia Commons, User: Fishdecoy

Socket Chisel The above tool is also a chisel that instead of having a pointed tang that fits into a hole in the handle, it has a socket, and the handle fits into that. This makes the handle a lot less prone to splitting.

These chisels have the edges bevelled and because of this they are weaker than the equivalent width firmer chisel, framing chisel and mortise chisel. They require careful handling.

So why use them?

  • Easier to grind and sharpen
  • They are lighter
  • Easier to handle
  • They do not obstruct you view
  • Can get into angled corners,(like dovetails)
  • They do in general produce better work.

The chisel above is typical of the products of modern manufacturers.

  • It has a plastic handle which in most cases is a good thing as modern plastics handles last far longer wooden ones.
  • I guess you only get what you pay for and "you makers your choice" but that chisel (which looks brand new) has about half the working length that it should have,
  • The chisel here is being used for Paringthe bottom of a trench. That is the flat face of the chisel is levelling out the bottom of a recess. A common operation.
  • Unfortunately with this tool then it can only do this type of work if the trench is no more than 4" long!
  • To give the manufacturer his due, bevelled edged chisels are not as robust as some of the other patterns and by making them shorter they are stiffer and can take more hard belts with a hammer, where a longer one would be springy with lots of give.

Paring Chisel. So "when I were a lad" the bench hand joiners that I served my time with all had this type of chisel. In the 32mm (1-1/14") width they would be about 300 to 350mm (12 to 14") long. They normally would be of excellent steel with boxwood handles.

They were used for what we see the tool above being used for. Cleaning out, levelling off and tidying up the bottoms of the trenches in stair strings or trimming wide tenons etc.

A 25mm bevelled edge chisel
A woonen handled socket chisel
Top image. A 25mm bevel edge chisel with a standard wooden handle.
Bottom image, Another socketed bevel edge chisel with a wooden handle.
Photo thanks to Wikimedia Commons, User: Isabelle Grosjean

The standard handle that fits over a tang in the chisel always has a metal ferrule at the joint to stop the wood splitting. In the example top-above it also has another ferrule at the end.

The lower example is once again a socket design and the body of the chisel shows a modern trend that is to make the bevels steeper than the older versions, thereby adding a bit more strength and stiffness.

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Please Note! The information on this site is offered as a guide only!  When we are talking about areas where building regulations or safety regulations could exist,the information here could be wrong for your area.  It could be out of date!  Regulations breed faster than rabbits!
You must check your own local conditions.
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