In April, the good folks at Lie-Nielsen came to our offices for one of their hand tool events, bearing planes, chisels and other great tools.
Getting to try sharp, well-made tools was a revelation to me. As a beginning woodworker, I had a set of chisels, but I never had very good results. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that I paid less than $10 for a set of five. So when I finally pushed a sharp chisel into a piece of wood using the proper technique, it felt amazing.
I left the event with a high-quality 3/8″ bevel-edge chisel (yes, I paid full retail — between Lie-Nielsen and Lost Art Press, my wallet was considerably lighter at the end of the day) and some insight into how useful a good chisel could be.
As with most things woodworking, I finally have learned enough to understand how much I don’t know about the care and feeding of chisels. Luckily, I have good teachers – including noted woodworker, author and designer Jeff Miller’s new video, “Using The Versatile Chisel.”
“The chisel is really the simplest of woodworking tools; it’s just a sharp wedge. But take that sharp wedge, some knowledge of how it interacts with the wood and other tools, and practice its use a little bit and you’ve taken a key step to improving your woodworking,” Jeff said. “Chisel skills will help all of your other hand-tool joinery, from dovetails, to mortise-and-tenon joints and even to some simple shaping.”
In his new video, Jeff teaches you:
- The specific function of a variety of chisels
- Techniques for fast and effective sharpening
- How to cut accurate dovetails
- Effective clamping and setup techniques for getting a clean chop
- The behavior of grain direction and the influence the chisel has on the cut
- How to properly square a hole
“Chisels work quickly and can be very accurate – and the skills are straightforward and easy to practice,” Jeff added.
Here’s a sample from the video, with Jeff demonstrating his techniques for chopping a mortise with chisels.
Jeff’s furniture has been shown in galleries and shows nationwide and is included in the Decorative Arts Collection of the Chicago History Museum. In September, Jeff will speak at Woodworking In America, offering sessions on bent lamination and chair design, as well as approaches to curved work.
P.S. You can read more about Jeff and his work here.