Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
In use, a worker forces the chisel, into the material to cut the material. The driving force may be manually applied, or in some cases using a mallet or hammer. In industrial use, a hydraulic ram or falling weight ('triphammer') drives the chisel into the material to be cut.
A gouge, one type of chisel, is used, particularly in woodworking and sculpture, to carve small pieces from the material. Gouges are most often used in creating concave surfaces. A gouge has a 'U'-shaped cross-section.
Chisels have a wide variety of uses. Many types of chisels have been devised, each specially suited to its intended use. Different types of chisels may be constructed quite differently, in terms of blade width or length, as well as shape and hardness of blade. They may have wooden handles attached or may be made entirely of one piece of metal.
Woodworking chisels range from quite small hand tools for tiny detail, to large chisels used to remove big sections of wood, in 'roughing out' the shape of a pattern or design. Typically, in woodcarving, one starts with a larger tool, and gradually progressing to smaller tools to finish the detail. One of the largest types of chisel is the framing slick , used in timber frame construction.
A lathe tool can be a woodworking chisel designed to cut wood as it is spun on a lathe. These tools have longer handles for more leverage, needed to counteract the tendency of the tool to react to the downward force of the spinning wood being cut or carved.
A cold chisel is a tool made of tempered steel used for cutting 'cold' metals, meaning that they are not used in conjunction with heating torches, forges, etc. This tool is also commonly referred to by the misnomer 'coal chisel'. Because cold chisels are used to form metal, they have a less-acute angle to the sharp portion of the blade than a woodworking chisel. This gives the cutting edge greater strength at the expense of sharpness.
- Sharpening Chisels and Planes provides detailed instructions on how to properly sharpen chisels.
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