Framing chisel...what's it good for?

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Forum topic by Brad posted 09-08-2011 05:12 PM 4545 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Brad's profile


1139 posts in 2944 days

09-08-2011 05:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question chisel hand tools hand tool techniques

Hello all,

I picked up this New Haven Edge Tool Co. framing chisel on eBay.

I mistakenly read “firming” where the word “framing” was in the ad.

What drew me to it was the length, 7 1/2” for the chisel plus three more for the tang. What I wasn’t expecting was the manly, beefieness of the chisel. It measures 3/16” in thickness at its tip and tapers to 1/2” in thickness at the socket.

Now here’s the rub. I’m not quite sure how to use it in a woodshop environment. Suggestions? Do any of you use it and if so in what ways?


-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

10 replies so far

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2985 days

#1 posted 09-08-2011 05:47 PM

It’s fore serious chopping, digging chips out. As you can probably guess by it’s size and heft you’d be challenged to try and destroy it.

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View Mark's profile


1811 posts in 3478 days

#2 posted 09-08-2011 06:15 PM

Timber framing

-- M.K.

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 2679 days

#3 posted 09-08-2011 08:34 PM

Yep. they are for timber framing, or if you are one of those who absolutely has to have a Roubo bench then they are great for the mortises.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View meikou's profile


115 posts in 3839 days

#4 posted 09-08-2011 08:51 PM

sharpen it up nice and use it for a slick perhaps

View Brad's profile


1139 posts in 2944 days

#5 posted 09-09-2011 04:04 AM

Thank you all.

JGM, yes, I’ve had a new bench on my mind and have been slowly getting chisels to help out on the job down the road. I like the idea of using this on mortises for the new bench. I picked up a 2” Witherby firming chisel recently too for that purpose.

And thanks Barry for the kind offer as a curio. Truth be told, I’m taken with it. It’s nice to have this very manly chisel on in my shop.

Keep the faith woodworking brothers.

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

View Gary Roberts's profile

Gary Roberts

140 posts in 3226 days

#6 posted 09-09-2011 04:35 AM

Framing chisels make for good mortise chisels.

-- Gary Roberts,

View Tedstor's profile


1678 posts in 2837 days

#7 posted 09-09-2011 07:16 AM

I have a few chisels similar to yours. As Gary mentioned, they can be highly effective mortise chisels.
Don’t worry, you’ll hit a situation where that beast will be the ONLY tool for the job.
Just recently, I used mine to chop some ginormous dados into a few doug fir 4×4s. I’m pretty sure my regular bench chisels would never speak to me again if I imposed such a task on them.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3202 days

#8 posted 09-10-2011 02:36 AM

I have one in that range (but 1-1/4 wide) that is my go to chisel. I only reach for the little dainty ones when it won’t do. That extra mass is wonderful when trimming things. The extra thick blade makes it easy to ride against an edge without jumping over or digging in.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Brad's profile


1139 posts in 2944 days

#9 posted 09-10-2011 05:31 AM

That’s interesting David. I know what you mean about jumping over the edge. When you say it’s your “go to” chisel, are you using it to clean up dados, tenons and such?

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3202 days

#10 posted 09-10-2011 08:38 AM

That or just to hack away and split off wood. Clean out mortises. Knock off an edge. Clean out a rabbet. Big chisels are really delicate instruments. Long handles give a lot more accuracy. You can clean off an entire face of a tenon. Turn it over and let it ride on the bevel and it will limit the depth of cut.

Here is a video showing one way of using it to remove a lot of stock:

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

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