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Tools of the Timber Trade: The Chisel

By Derek Folsom on June 25, 2015

The chisel is one of the earliest created tools. Man (or some form of man) has been using tools for the past 2.6 million years, which, when taken at face value, were stones that were chipped/broken to create sharp edges.  These tools were categorized by Mary Leakey, a British paleoanthropologist.  In Mrs. Leakey’s description of the tools and there uses she says that some of the sharp edges of the broken stone were used to remove bark from branches. This may not be the Webster’s definition of a chisel, but it sounds pretty good to me.

chiselsIn all of it’s simplicity, the chisel is one of the most versatile tools that we use, and one of the most protected tools by our craftsmen/craftswomen.  If you want to see a timber framer angry, walk to his/her work station, and try to take one of their chisels. Try it and let me know how that works out for you.

Dan finishing up a mortise cut.Above you can see Dan finishing a mortise cut.

Jen cleaning up this notch with a chisel.Here is Jennifer cleaning up a notch.

Jake cleaning up a tenon.There is Jake putting the final touches on a tenon.

Day in and day out, we would not be able to do the work we do without the help of our trusty friend the chisel.

Thank you for stopping by our timber framers’ blog! If you like this post, or have any timber work questions, we invite you to get in contact, ask an expert, or share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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Derek Folsom

1 comment
  1. Mike says:

    I’m seriously new to working with timbers. What are some good books on proper use of tools, prefer old school methods as much as possible. There are a lot of chisel types & I’m not sure how to determine which one to use for a particular application. Many thanks.

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