Types of Chisels for Woodworking

Woodworking chisels are a staple in a woodshop and there are many for a woodworker to choose from. We’ll cover the different styles of specialty chisels and their general applications for hobbyists. 

The general shape of a chisel is a wooden handle and steel shaft with a cutting edge or the tip. A ferrule covers the area where the tang inserts into the handle. 

Chisels vary in size from very large to very small so that the tool matches the size of the project at hand. Larger chisels are designed to be struck with a mallet and used to split, cut or carve wood. 

Palm tools have a short wooden handle with a smooth round end. These handles are meant to be palmed. These are designed for precision and detail work, where the wood is removed carefully and slowly. 

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Sweep Fishtail Gouge

Sweep Fishtail Gouge

The sharp beveled tip of this woodworking gouge is flared and looks like a fishtail, hence the name. These types of chisels are used for light woodwork like modeling, lettering or cleaning corners. 


As the name suggests, the tip of this chisel is a v-shape — two sharp edges connected at one end to form an angle. The angles usually measure 30, 45, 60 or 90 degrees. It is used for carving or parting areas. 

Skew Chisel 

A skew chisel is known to be a versatile tool and can be used alone or with a lathe. The name skew chisel refers to the angle of the cutting edge. The longest point is called a toe and the shortest is called a heel. It is used for removing wood waste, planing, peeling and making cuts, among other uses. 

Flat Single Bevel Chisel 

This palm tool is generally used for carving and chipping away wood to create depth or thin out the wooden block. It can be used to carve outlines, remove corners or for whittling. 

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set of carving gouges

Carving Gouges

On small detailed projects, these tools can be a helpful assist in removing wood from hard to reach areas. Made from carbon steel, they fit the K7 heavy duty handle. 

Woodworking is a pleasant hobby. Working with natural materials on projects that can last generations can be very rewarding. Read more about this craft in our previous article — Tools Used in Woodworking: Your Essential Guide to Woodworking Tools.