Graphical Construction Glossary >> Tools. >> Hand Tools >> Firmer Chisel

Firmer Chisel
A woodworking chisel with square sides to the blade. There are no side bevels. These chisels are stronger and can take more punishment than beveled edge chisels. Also known as Framing Chisels

parts of a chisel
A large firmer chisel
A firmer chisel top and below a framing chisel
Source Handwork in Wood, by William Noyes 1910

These chisels are made for hard work and they are designed to stand plenty of use with with a mallet or even the side of a hammer. I am not talking about a large hammer here, just a normal weight claw hammer always used side on.

Beveled edge chisels have a lot less strength than firmers, and so to compensate for the springiness of their blades, some manufacturers cut the length down. These stumpy chisels do feel solid, but they obviously don't last as long as the standard length ones.

I typically use firmers on renovation work where often there is a chance of chipping them on nails etc. To hit a nail really hard with a bevel edge chisel could spip off quite a piece wheras the former chisel is less likely to chip a lot. The subsequent grinding will more often be a lot less.

The square sided firmer is getting hard to find these days, but there are some good alternative available that have only a slight bevel to the sides. The old wooden handled ones are falling out of use and plastic ones are more usefull in a tool that takes quite a pounding.

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"What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?
Adam Smith 1723-1790

"When we build, let us think that we build for ever."John Ruskin 1819-1900

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