Your First Carving



The three basic styles of chisels are straight, skew, and bull nose.

Chisels have straight cutting edge profiles and are used primarily to round over and shape an area of your carving. The straight chisel’s edge is at 90 degrees to the tool shaft; if the cutting edge is at 45 degrees it is called a skew chisel. The straight line of the cutting edge removes small flat planes of wood from the carving. A bull nose chisel, shown in the photo to the right, has a flat profile but the side edges are slightly rounded. This keeps the chisel edges from creating small cut lines during the stroke.

Placing the chisel with the flat side – back side – of the cutting edge against the wood leads the tool into a deep cut. Flip it over, with the angled top side of the tool against the wood, and you can create a very thin shaving cut.

Learn how to make your own Bull Nose Chisel.


Back down chisel cuts
Laying the flat back of the cutting edge against the wood guides the cutting edge deeply into the area, giving you a thick cut. For rough out shaping.
Back up chisel cuts
Placing the angled front face of the chisel against the wood allows you to make thin, shaved cuts for smoothing the area.
Push cuts
Any chisel can be up-ended where a sharp straight line is needed.  Hold the tool on the cutting edge and use a gentle push to create the cut.

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