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How do you spot a good quality chisel?

How to choose a good quality chisel

Shop for Chisels

It is impossible to determine the quality of a chisel simply by looking at it. However, you should note that the quality of the tool will depend on the following:
A steel tube cross-section
  • The quality of the metal (e.g. what is in the steel).
A cold chisel which has undergone differential heat treatment
  • The heat treating process.
A cold chisel being sharpened
  • The quality of grinding the chisel was subjected to when it was sharpened.

What is heat treating?

Heat treating steel The process of heat treating can determine the job a piece of steel can be used for.
A spring (left) and a screwdriver (right) Only steel tempered to certain temperatures is appropriate for a chisel.

Steel may still be useful when tempered to different temperatures, but as other tools and devices.

A cold chisel being used to cut steel In order to see whether a cold chisel has been heat treated and sharpened correctly, try using the tool to cut into a piece of softer metal. If the chisel is ineffective (or becomes damaged), this may indicate that the chisel needs re-treating or sharpening.

What else can affect the quality of a chisel?

Drop forged stamp (top); "Chrome vanadium" stamped on a spanner (bottom In addition, some chisels may be drop forged or made with chrome vanadium steel.
A cartoon, featureless person lifting weights Both drop forging and using chrome vanadium steel will increase the robustness of the tool, improving its quality.

What is “BS 3066: 1995 Specification for Engineers’ Cold Chisels and Allied Tools”?

A question mark When purchasing some builders’ and cold chisels you may see that the product conforms to BS 3066: 1995 Specification for Engineers’ Cold Chisels and Allied Tools.

This is a technical standard produced by the British Standards Institution. Sometimes other standards and organisations may be listed instead.

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