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Tip #168
Woodworking Chisel Basics - Part 2

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Last week, we told you about the blades on the four basic types of woodworking chisels and the intended use for each type.

This week, we'll tell you about the different ways the blades are attached to their handles and the best applications for one over the other.

Tang-Mounted Chisels...typically have a tapered tang that is inserted into a hole that's bored into the handle. Sometimes, the tang emerges from a circular steel bolster that's part of the blade forging. When the tang is driven onto the handle, the handle's connecting end butts up against this bolster, providing a large, steel surface for the handle to push against.

With another attachment method, there is no forged-in bolster. Instead, the connecting end of the handle includes a short, round tenon that the tang is driven into. With this method, the handle tenon is usually reinforced with an encircling brass or steel ferrule.

Tang-Mounted Chisels are almost always of the Bench, Paring or Butt variety and are not designed for striking with a hammer or mallet. However, the tangs on some of these chisels go all the way through their handles and can be seen emerging from the opposite end. In this case, striking with a hammer or mallet is perfectly acceptable.

Socket-Mounted Chisels...are usually of the Firmer or Mortising variety. With this handle-mounting method, the chisel's blade is forged with a hollow, tapered socket opposite its cutting edge. This socket is designed to accept a matching taper that's turned or molded onto the handle's connecting end.

Often, a round, leather washer is used where the connecting end of he handle meets the socket, providing a cushion when the chisel handle is struck.

Socket-Mounted Chisels are meant to be struck with a mallet or hammer.

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