Chisel Exercises


It doesn’t matter whether you’re building furniture, knocking out a set of stairs, doing intarsia or stringing a veneered panel, you need to be able to use a chisel properly. You may not realize or even notice that accomplished woodworkers have a true finesse when using chisels. If it’s done right, great chisel skills go unnoticed. And as it is with anything related to woodworking, the more you practice, the better you become.

Throughout this exercise I’ll show you techniques taught to me while I was in my teens – thank you Werner Duerr. I’ll also share things I’ve learned in the 30+ years I’ve been putting this training to work. And it’s all done on a block of wood potentially pulled from the scrap bin.

I’ll demonstrate how to chop a mortise with straight and square sidewalls, and a flat bottom. As I dig out the waste, you’ll learn a secret or two to make work easier, such as when to whack at your chisel with a mallet and when it’s appropriate to take lighter cuts. And why it’s to your benefit to do so. Plus, keep a close eye on when my chisel is bevel up and when it’s bevel down. (These same techniques are used to set in a hinge gain, too.)

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10 thoughts on “Chisel Exercises

  1. The video in this issue alone is worth the cost of my yearly subscription.
    It is easy to see why you are considered a Master Craftsman Chuck.
    I always pick up a few important tips with each issue.

    Thank you


    1. Thanks Eric. Glad you enjoyed it. Hope you learn lots.

      1. Steven,

        I think I had poplar in the video, but you can grab any scrap. In fact, it would probably be good to practice on a variety of woods to give you practice reading the grain direction and how the various species react to the chisel.

  2. Enjoyed video. Will start practicing. Did you use pine, basswood, Just to learn or practice with?

  3. Power and Brakes. I think I’ll have that inked on my arm and hand so I remember!

    Thank you for the lesson.

    1. Tony,

      But what happens when you need to switch hands?

  4. Nice class. What I picked up was the slicing process. I think I usually just push the chisel.
    I think one gets much more control with your technique.
    Thanks, elmer

  5. Thanks Chuck;
    great lesson!!!

  6. Chuck
    Brings back fond memories! Only thing missing was the smell of your shop and Lorraine’s lunches warming in the back!
    I love doing this every once in a while when I haven’t been able to make anything in the shop for a short spell. Came in real handy when I recently replaced the doors inside, setup for hinges went very well and fast.
    Merry Christmas

  7. Thanks for lengthy and informative video. Great work. I learn better with videos than articles especially for skill building. I guess now I need to use chisel for something other than glue removal. I leaned that router isn’t the only tool I need to work edges or cut outs. I hope you have more lengthy videos planned in future. Thanks guys.

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