Chisel Tricks for Hand-Cut Joinery

Duration furniture maker Philip C. Lowe shows properly to use your bench chisel when paring joinery and also mortising for hinges.


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  1. Step #1. Make sure your chisels are sharp.

    1. Offshoreorganbuilder

      +Man na See Paul Sellers’ demonstrations on You Tube, which are nearly all
      done with pine (using hand-tools.)

    2. +Offshoreorganbuilder It’s not so much that he’s using hand tools, but the
      technique. Seller’s chops down the cheeks if the wood splits normally. If
      it doesn’t he shears the fibers across the grain which isn’t very easy on
      fibrous wood.

    3. +J DeWitt DIY Extremely sharp chisels in this video.

    4. +Man na I don’t think you know what you are talking about or you haven’t
      learned to sharpen properly

    5. or how about some curly maple

  2. what kinds.of wood are best for chiseling. pine oak or what. i took a good
    look at how close.and straight a piece i had and it was turning out very

    1. Guys I found a great website about woodworking that is This website contains more than 16000
      woodworking projects and plans………////

    2. Large-pored straight grained woods like Oak, Mahogany, Hickory, and Walnut
      all tend to be easy to pare straight, but care needs to be taken to avoid
      splitting end grain, and between growth rings. Tight grained woods like
      Maple, Elm, some Cherry tend to chisel nicely, often in both directions.
      More care is needed to avoid grain tearout across the growth rings.

  3. It’s always worthwhile padding out the trash can with air-filled plastic so
    you don’t damage any router you throw into it. :-D

  4. This has to be the sharpest chisel I’ve seen. Amazing.

    1. seeing as how your right about a saw being a decent tool for it, your wrong
      to think that a saw is the best way. there is a reason why chisels exist,
      and why carpenters use them. they work, they are versatile, and the fact
      that they can true up joint work after using a saw. a saw is a crude/
      obtuse tool, its merits are removing large amounts of material quickly. but
      a good sharp chisel is a more fine/acute tool. it removes material with
      precision. each tool has its place, rely on only one, and you will be
      lacking in your skills.

    2. +jedexkid41 if you have a good saw, no need to use a cisel after! i work
      with my hand and my tenon are tight with a saw! waste of time to cut out of
      the line to ajust after or it’s that you are afraid of removing too much

    3. I’m not suprised that you don’t use a chisel Mathieu…. I just watched
      your chisel restoration video and it was horrible. You couldn’t appreciate
      a real bench chisel with such inferior skill level.
      And the answer to the burning question on youre lips is “Yes, I really do
      know what i’m talking about.”

    4. +Matthew Chapman i love you too!
      have a nice day!

  5. i have 1 handplane this guy got 1000

    1. I have 6 or 7 planes, but tend to only use my number 4 and a half inch
      chisel, lol. Problem is you can’t just sharpen things to be put away, ready
      for the next time. Sharp blades oxidize and need to be touched up just
      before use. I wish I could just spend an afternoon sharpening things and
      then pick them up and use them. I can’t, so I’ve become pretty good at
      sharpening and using a chisel.

    2. Matt de Oliveira

      Maybe you could put a light coating of oil or wax on them after they are
      I took sobe saw blades to a place called Circle Saw to get them sharpened.
      When I picked them up they had a thick protective, peelable coating on

    3. +Matt de Oliveira I use wax sometimes, but maintenance can get to the point
      of diminished returns. I look at scary sharp the same way – there is a
      level of sharpness where you are no longer a woodworker, but a steel
      sharpener. 600 to 1200 grit and a strop will get a blade to slicing level.
      The trick is knowing when to stop and strop before it’s so dull you have to
      sharpen. I do leatherwork, too, so I tend to sharpen all the time; about
      10% of the time is spent sharpening. If it’s a tool I don’t use often it’s
      a little more.

      The point is you have to sharpen while you work and you can sharpen
      familiar tools faster. The second you hone a blade it begins to oxidise.
      You can’t see it, but it’s there.

      Doesn’t take much. I might strop after one side of a tendon, maybe 10 quick
      strokes, and then it’s tuned up for the other side. If I’m just standing
      there for a minute figuring out the grain, I’ll run a chisel across the
      palm of my hand a few times, (pull, never push, lol). We’re all born with a
      strop. I’ve watched Paul Sellers do this with his planes. You’d think he
      was brushing wood chips away, but he’s knocking the rust off.

      The biggest problem I see with people sharpening things is they think to
      keep something sharp longer, it needs to be sharper and they too much
      effort into making things sharper. Learn to keep things sharp with the
      least amount of time and effort. Once the blade starts to catch and chip
      instead of slicing, you’ve gone too long.

    4. Over 9,000 actually.

  6. Thank you for appropriately compressing meaningful content into four

  7. give credit to the guy who sharpened that chisel

    1. The user is the one who sharpened it.

  8. I see this as being no different than a great sculpture or painter you
    either have the talent or you don’t. Great work.

  9. ok lets see you do a door hinge mortise with a 5/8 radius

    1. he doesn’t hang doors he is a period Furniture maker you and he are in two
      different businesses completely.

    2. Well good for you Jim. Maybe he prefers quality over quantity!

    3. i’m talking about a perfect hinge mortise …we can do quality work much
      faster with a router and template but if you want to pay a guy for three
      days instead of one because you perceive higher quality with time spent
      instead of the end result then you go right ahead

    4. +Douglas Hanlon If you were both in the same trade (and either both using
      period only tools, or not) I’d agree. But as you’re not you can’t really
      compare the two.

    5. +Douglas Hanlon How about you and he have a race, you both have to build an
      authentic period Philadelphia style Chippendale chair using only period
      tools. Let’s see who wins and whose comes out better. I think this would be
      a more fitting test of true craftsmanship.

  10. Always remember to buy eight of each type of tool just incase…??

  11. why not cut it so that it fits right away?

  12. One thing bad with power tools is the amount of dust created.

  13. Are chisels good for opening paint cans?

    1. Wine bottles?

    2. Sudo Nym use the chisel to open your skull and insert a brain

    3. Maybe you should insert a sense of humor.


    4. Sudo Nym I got the joke:)

  14. Awesome Sir. Thanks for that. Greetings from Brazil.

  15. look at all the dust on the hand tools in the background, you can just tell
    most of them are not used and are placed there for the show,.

    1. Actually we do use the tools. Its called saw dust. We clean up shop 4 times
      a year so dust does accumulate.

    2. CCD566 hey hindu

  16. I was taught to do cut outs for hinges with a chisel here in the UK, and
    until now i’d never even heard of anyone doing them with routers.

  17. good job

  18. Greetings sir. That was very entertaining I must say. Have now sub your
    channel cant wait to see the rest of your video. thanks for sharing.

  19. best video ever

  20. why do these videos always use tools that are brand new

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