OSH Answers Fact Sheets
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What are some safety tips to know when using a wood chisel?
Wood chisels are made in various shapes and sizes and for many uses. Use the correct chisel for the job.
- Wear safety glasses, or goggles, or a face shield (with safety glasses or goggles).
- Use the right size of chisel for the job.
- Choose smooth, rectangular handles that have no sharp edges and are attached firmly to the chisel.
- Make sure that the cutting edge is sharp. Dull chisels can be difficult to control and require more effort to do the job.
- Check the stock (wood) thoroughly for knots, staples, nails, screws or other foreign objects before chiseling.
- Clamp stock so it cannot move.
- Adjust your stance so that you do not lose your balance if the tool slips.
- Chip or cut with the blade pointing away from yourself.
- Keep your hands and body behind the cutting edge.
- Use a wooden or plastic mallet with a large striking face on all chisels. Only heavy-duty or framing chisels are made of a solid or molded handle that can be struck with a steel hammer.
- Make finishing or paring cuts with hand pressure alone.
- When keeping the chisels on the work bench, always place them with the bevel side up.
- Place chisels safely within the plastic protective caps to cover cutting edges when not in use.
- Replace any chisel that is bent or shows dents, cracks, chips, or excessive wear.
- Store chisels in a "storage roll," a cloth or plastic bag with slots for each chisel, and keep them in a drawer or tray.
- Replace broken or splintered handles.
- Sharpen cutting edges as often as necessary.
- Wear eye protection if there is a risk of eye injury from particles released from the workpiece or when sharpening.
What should I avoid doing?
- Do not use a wood chisel as a pry or a wedge.
- Do not use a wood chisel on metal.
- Do not hold the work with one hand while chiseling with the other hand.
- Do not use an all-steel chisel with a mushroomed face or a chipped edge. Redress with a file or whetstone.
- Do not use a grinder to redress heat-treated tools. Use a whetstone.
- Do not use a dull chisel.
Refer to OSH Answers General Hand Tool Operation for more tips.
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