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Types Of Chisels

A sharp metal piece with a solid wooden handle - that’s what a regular chisel looks like. Right? 

But did you know about its various types, categorized based on the shapes, sizes, metal piece thickness, and hardness? Yes, there are numerous types of chisels for different purposes and artisans. 

Read on as I discuss the 22 different types of chisels, including their construction, functions, etc. 

Different Types Of Chisels - Know about All 22 Types

Whether you’re a DIYer or professional, here are the top 22 chisels for your toolbox. 

Round Nose Chisel

Usually an all-metal chisel, this popular mason chisel features a half-round nose. As a result, it’s the perfect choice for cutting semi-circular grooves in metals, such as nickel, brass, or copper. 

To prevent rusting, the entire round nose chisel is given a black oxide finish. 

Note: Most mokume gane patterns are achieved with a round nose chisel. 

Bevel Edge Chisel

A bevel edge chisel, as the name suggests, has a beveled edge on one side and a flat edge on the other. 

Tip: Use this chisel to achieve 20°-30° cutting angles. 

Since the edges are square, parallel along the chisel’s length, and narrow, a bevel edge chisel quickly goes into tight places. The chisel cuts through soft and hard woods, including hard maple, oak, or exotic species. 

Cross Cut Chisel

Also called a “ripping chisel,” a cross cut chisel is generally made of cast iron. While one end consists of a pointed edge, the other is a wooden or plastic handle. 

Due to its sharp edge, the cross cut chisel easily “rips” through any wooden piece. If working with any hardwood, a mallet may be required. Besides, this chisel can also be used to remove oil seals. 

Drawer Lock Chisel

A drawer lock chisel is a unique chisel you’ll come across. It consists of a cranked shape that lets you cut out lock recesses/channels in your furniture’s drawers where working space may be too limited for another chisel. 

To use this chisel, all you need to do is hit one side of the chisel with a hammer to drive the other end into the furniture’s drawers. 

Carving Chisel

Have you ever wondered how craftsmen carve those intricate patterns and designs on wood? It’s done using a carving chisel. 

A carving chisel is available in a broad range of designs, especially from the “blade” point of view. Out of all, a chisel with thin and short blades is recommended. 

Note: Purchase a carving chisel set on Amazon  ( affiliate link ) of multiple carving chisels in varying sizes and uses. This way, you can switch between chisels depending on the requirements. 

Hot Chisel

A best friend of every blacksmith, a hot chisel comprises an untreated or unhardened metal blade cut at exactly 30°. Thus, you can’t use this chisel for anything other than cutting and shaping red-hot iron. 

But why is a hot chisel’s blade unhardened? 

This is primarily because it only works with a hot iron and not a cold one. 

Slick Chisel

A slick chisel is probably the largest chisel you’ll come across or work with. Its blade measures 2-4 inches in width and 5-10 cm in length. If we add the length of its slender and socketed handle, a slick chisel can be as long as 2 feet (or 60 cm.)

When you notice closely, you’ll find that a slick chisel’s blade is slightly curved lengthwise to make fine paring cuts.  

Note: A slick chisel is always pushed against the material, not struck. 

Mortise Chisel

When working with mortises, a mortise chisel is a must-have over other chisels. Why? It’s because of the long, stout, and square blade capable of deep and shallow cuts. 

Another special thing about the mortise chisels is their ash/beech wooden handle reinforced by a metal base ring. As a result, the handle withstands heavy hammer blows without cracking. 

A mortise chisel cuts through all popular wood types, for example, oak, poplar, maple, teak, etc. 

Corner Chisel

Another name for the corner chisel is the “bruzz chisel.” Such a chisel is selected for further cutting the round hole (first created by the router) in the wood, making it more angled or square. 

Thus, a corner chisel isn’t used for many applications besides mortise joints or hinge rebates. 

The blades, again, are not much hardened or treated for rust. Hence, regular rusting is quite common on corner chisels. 

Firmer Chisel

A firmer chisel is another versatile woodworking chisel that got its name from the French verb for “former.”

This particular chisel has one primary function of shaping a wooden piece, cutting off any unwanted wood. If I talk about the blade, it’s just flat with parallel sides. The typical length of this blade is about 4 inches and 3-16 inches are the most common widths. 

Timber Framing Chisel

A timber framing chisel is different from your regular woodworking chisel. For example, these chisels are mostly used to make laces or slits in large trunks and wooden beams for roofs, walls, etc. 

Talking about the construction, specialized timber framing chisels feature a long and robust metal blade concealed in a long wooden handle. Thus, you’re assured of greater performance and durability. 

Note: A timber framing chisel is different from a slick. 

Dovetail Chisel

A dovetail chisel is mainly designed for creating and cleaning the tight places in dovetails. There is a triangular blade made from chrome-manganese (Cr-Mn) steel with a concave rear surface to reduce friction. 

When you use it with a hammer, you can also create beveled depth cuts. Thanks to its sharp and triangular head, a dovetail chisel can reach good depths that other chisels can’t. 

Masonry Chisel

If you want to cut through bricks, cement blocks, or cinders, a masonry chisel is what you need.

These chisels include a sharp metal edge secured inside a wooden handle from the other side. It must not be confused with a brick chisel as the latter is designed explicitly for cracking hard materials rather than cutting. 

Note: Masonry chisels are often attached to jackhammers or hammer drills for demolition applications.

Skew Chisel

If you want to know my favorite chisel, it’s this skew chisel. A versatile handheld tool with two beveled edges and an angled blade, a skew chisel can be used alone or with a loathe. 

When used with the loathe machine, the skew chisel produces stunning turned pieces. 

Note that learning how to use a skew chisel is quite tricky, especially if used for wood sharpening. 

There are different types of skew chisels, depending on the blade’s shape, for example, flat/rectangular, oval, radius, etc. 

Diamond Point Chisel

Usually made of alloy steel for better durability, a diamond point chisel has a diamond-shaped head to produce V-shaped grooves in metals. 

Unlike other chisels used for making grooves, a diamond point chisel leaves behind deeper and sharper grooves. 

There are mainly two types of diamond point chisels. 

Bench Chisel

A bench chisel is another common chisel type with both edges beveled, allowing maximum access to the dovetails. Due to their short size, you need not strike with full force for chopping or paring the wood. Thus, it’s easy and less tiring to work with. 

Most bench chisels have a wooden handle for easy and firm gripping while working.

Cold Chisel

Unlike the hot chisel, this cold variety features a metal tip shaped at 60° on both sides, giving a wedge-shaped point. This metal tip is also quite hard due to various after-treatments. 

Talking about uses, a cold chisel is used to cut metals that have not been heated or have cooled down before cutting/shaping. 

Sash Mortise Chisel

A light and compact chisel variety with a simple blade and handle, a sash mortise chisel is the best tool for chopping shallow mortises in the mullions and muntins of a wooden window. 

One key highlight of a sash mortise chisel is its blade’s thickness that allows the tool to resist continuous shock and carry out morticing/heavy-duty work more efficiently.

Note: A sash mortise chisel blade’s thickness and length are greater than a standard mortise chisel. 

FYI, a sash mortise chisel is also called the “London Pattern” mortise chisel. 

Butt Chisel

Among all the chisel varieties, a butt chisel includes the shortest yet widest metal blade, making it efficient in spacing for hinges on door frames or windows. 

Besides, a butt chisel is also used for corner moldings and other similar jobs. 

Since the wooden handle of butt chisels resembles an elongated bulb, you don’t feel much pain even after working for hours. 

Cape Chisel

Also called a “slot” chisel, a cape chisel is used to cut flat grooves for keyways or slots in metals (for example, copper, brass, etc.) It’s also an all-metal chisel with a thin cutting edge on a wedge-shaped head. 

This wedge shape also provides you extra support for the narrow cutting bit. While not necessary, a cape chisel is also commonly used for tightening nuts and bolts due to its pointed head. 

Brick Chisel

It shouldn’t be tough for you to guess where a brick chisel is used. Right?

Also referred to as a bolster or brick set, a brick chisel includes a sharp blade to produce smooth cuts on bricks. Though you can also use a brick hammer here, it isn’t sharp enough for the required smoothness. 

Plus, a dedicated brick chisel streamlines the process as you just need to gently strike the other end of the chisel to drive the blade into the brick. This won’t break the brick into pieces, but rather score it. 

Note: Don’t use a brick chisel on stones as it might lose its edge. 


Here you go. That’s everything you should know about different types of chisels. From bevel cutting to carving, there’s a specific chisel designed for every purpose. 

Whether you’re a DIYer, lobbyist, or professional, understand which chisel suits your requirements and go ahead with it.