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What are builders and cold chisels made from?

What are chisels made of?

Shop for Chisels

A steel bar Builders’ and cold chisels are normally made from tempered steel.


For a cold chisel, the steel normally has a carbon content of approximately 0.875%. 

Beryllium copper cold chisel Under certain circumstances, cold chisels can also be made from beryllium copper or aluminium bronze.
Sparks produced whilst grinding down a mushroomed head These may be used when creating sparks is undesirable, such as when working with gases, where starting a fire is a risk.




Carbon steel

A red cold chisel made from steel
  • When heat treated correctly, good quality steel is capable of cutting through metals softer than the tool itself.
  • Only steel heat treated to certain specifications is appropriate for chisels.
  • Not all steel is strong enough for cutting through metal (when used to make cold chisels).
  • Steel will create sparks when grinding.

Chrome vanadium steel

A yellow cold chisel made from chrome vanadium steel
  • Chrome vanadium enhances the durability of tools.
  • Chrome vanadium tools may be somewhat more expensive.

Beryllium copper

Beryllium copper cold chisel
  • Beryllium copper is “spark resistant”.
  • Beryllium copper cold chisels are expensive.

Aluminium bronze

Aluminium bronze cold chisel
  • Aluminium bronze is “spark resistant”.
  • Aluminium bronze may be cheaper than beryllium copper.
  • Aluminium bronze may be weaker than beryllium copper.

What else can chisels be made from?

An alloy steel ring Some cold chisels may be made from “alloy steel”.

Alloy steels are steels which have been combined with other metallic elements in order to make the steel stronger.

Chromium (right) and vanadium (left) on the periodic table Chrome vanadium steel is one type of steel alloy.
Open die drop forging

Chrome vanadium steel cold chisels can also be drop forged, further enhancing their strength.

A cold chisel available in a chrome molybdenum alloy Some chisels may be strengthened with an alloy made with chrome molybdenum, which is a particularly hard wearing metal.
Tungsten carbide tipped masons chisel Some masons’ chisels may be tipped with tungsten carbide, as it provides the added strength needed when working with some types of stone.

Ultimately, however, the quality of the metal will determine what a chisel can be used for.

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