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Chisel Maintenance and Care

Cold chisel maintenance and care

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As with every other tool, it is important to look after, maintain and store your chisels correctly.

Cold chisel storage

A cold chisel and punch set in a storage case It is possible to buy cold chisels in sets which may come with a tool roll or case to store them in.

However, because of the varying sizes of builders’ and cold chisels, it may not be possible to store larger chisels and bolsters in these rolls.

A hosepipe reel When storing them, you may wish to place a piece of split hosepipe over the cutting edge of your chisels.
Wonkee Donkee says "This may help to protect the cutting edges (and other tools) whilst the chisels are in the toolbox."

Cold chisel maintenance

Sharpening a cold chisel It is important to keep your chisels sharpened correctly. How sharp you keep them may vary depending on the type of chisel and what you are using it for.
A rusted cross cut chisel Rust may also become a problem on some chisels. However, it can be removed by wiping the chisel with an emery cloth, and then using a little oil to give the chisel greater protection from rust in the future.

It is also important that you maintain the head of your chisel, as this can become mushroomed.

Mushrooming on a chisel head

What is mushrooming?

Mushrooming is the phenomenon that occurs when a tool which is struck with a hammer deforms, (as seen in the picture to the left) spreading out into a mushroom shape and eventually rolling back onto itself.

A mushroomed cold chisel head Mushrooming can cause serious problems as the metal can splinter, injuring the user.
Grinding down a mushroomed cold chisel head It is therefore advised that you grind down these mushroomed heads regularly to keep them from becoming hazardous.
A mason's chisel advertised as having a modification to the head

Preventing mushrooming

There are ways in which chisels can be modified in order to limit the effects of mushrooming.

Some chisels have had their heads altered to counter the effects.

Mushroomed head (left) Chamfered head (right) However, a user can often grind the head of their chisel, producing a chamfered head.
The difference between a bevelled edge (left) and a chamfered edge (right) On builders’ and cold chisels, a chamfered head can be produced which will prolong the time before a mushroom will form.

A chamfer is very similar to a bevel. However, there is a difference between the two, which is demonstrated in the diagram to the left.

A bolster with a bevelled edge On chisels, bevels may be found on the cutting edge.

Some, such as certain brick bolsters, may have a single bevel on one side, leaving the other side flat (as in the image above). Other chisels may have two “bevels” which join together in a point at the cutting edge. This will depend on the manufacturer.

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