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How are chisels made?

How are chisels manufactured?

Shop for Chisels

Clockwise from top left: Scutch comb holder, Masons chisel, Flooring chisel, Electricians chisel, Concrete (point) chisel, (Fluted) plugging chisel, Brick bolster, Chasing chisel Carbon steel is turned into chisels through a process called “heat treatment”. It may also be “drop forged” in order to increase its strength. These general principles apply to both cold and builders’ chisels. Any differences in the procedure will depend on the type of chisel being produced and the manufacturer.

Heat treatment

A cold chisel with a dull cutting edge In order to be turned into tools which will work correctly, carbon steel is heat treated.

For cold chisels, this ensures that the tool will cut through metals.

Firstly, the steel is hardened, which enables the tool to weather better.
A broken chisel However, this process renders the steel incredibly brittle, so it is subsequently “annealed” and “tempered” to reduce this.

The process of hardening is achieved by heating up the steel and subsequently allowing it to cool down. This is done using a method called “quenching”.

A blowtorch You may be able to achieve enough heat through use of several items, including a forge or blowtorch.
A glow chart As the steel heats up, it will change colour depending on its current temperature.

Using a glow chart, the user can determine exactly what temperature the steel is currently at.

Drop forging

The words "drop forged" stamped on a tool When purchasing chisels you may find that they are advertised as having been “drop forged”. These words indicate how the product was produced and also just how strong it will be.
Hammering during the drop forging process Similarly to regular forging, a red hot metal is struck repeatedly with a hammer to get it into shape.
A drop forging setup (clockwise from top left): ram, upper die, lower die, anvil Unlike regular forging, however, the metal is hammered into a die (similar to a mould), which contains the shape of the structure it will become.

There are two types of drop forging: open die and closed die.

A logo with the word "Quality" written in it" Drop forging is also an indicator of quality, as a drop forged tool will usually be stronger than one made by machine or by casting.

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