How to Use a Paring Chisel

What You'll Need
paring chisel
belt sander or grinder
safety glasses

When you want to fit joints or scrape off wood, you could use a paring chisel to do the work. Nonetheless, you have to be careful because the splinters can pierce your skin if you don’t know how to use a paring chisel. This tool can be tricky to use, so make sure that you take precautions. Here is a guide to correctly and safely using your paring chisel.

Step 1–Know Your Materials

Take a close look at the paring chisel. Have some wood available to practice on. The pencil is useful while making markings and indications. It is important that you wear safety glasses at all times and have a bench vise to support you in the chiseling process. Make sure your work area is freed from any obstructions. Keep other people away to reduce the risk of injuries from splinters.

Step 2–Sharpen the Paring Chisel

Make sure the paring chisel is sharp enough before using it. Fasten the blade on top of a grinder or belt sander. Secure the chisel with your hands and apply enough force on the surface. With firm and slow movements, move the chisel in a back-and-forth motion to sharpen its edges. If you’re using a grinder to sharpen your chisel, dip the chisel in water every two to three seconds to prevent overheating.

Step 3–Start out with a Simple Paring Cut

Learn how to use the paring cut, which is one of the basic chisel techniques. It is easy to master and effective at the same time. Since paring chisels shape wood, you can make a paring cut with your chisel. Align the chisel at an angle on the wood and start carving. Make sure that you only carve thin slices, as it becomes dangerous if you go too deep. You can get poor wood cutting results and possibly splinters if you exert too much pressure.

Step 4–Adjust Chisel when Necessary

Choose among two different ways to hold your paring chisel. One common way to handle your chisel properly is to grip the chisel with both hands. Place one hand on top of the handle and the other one on top of the blade. This will keep the paring chisel secure. Also, use your strongest hand on top of the handle to exert pressure. You can use your other hand to guide the blade and control the direction of the cut.

Step 5–Work Properly and Clean Afterwards

Firmly press the paring chisel on the beveled edge along the wood grain. Make sure to take thin shaving from the wooden block. Work your way outside-in to avoid any splintering. This way of using the paring chisel helps prevent injuries and enhances productivity. Clean your work area afterwards to remove any remaining wood pieces.