Getting the most from your chisels
To hand-cut a mortise with a mortising chisel, begin by chopping out chips between your scribed lines, leaving 1⁄16 " at the ends. Move the chisel about 1⁄8 " at a time, and strike it with a mallet. Then pry out the chips. Make a triangular pattern to the desired depth; then begin back-cutting the rest to match that depth. Finish by cutting away the remaining 1⁄16 " at each end.
Chisel out a perfect hinge
Step 1, begin by making a series of angled "chops," keeping back 1⁄16 " from the ends and back.
Step 2: pare away chips
Step 2, hold the chisel parallel to the edge of the workpiece and pare away the chips.
Step 3: light cuts until hinge fits
Step 3, clean up the bottom and perimeter walls with light cuts until the hinge fits snugly.
Hand-cut half-blind dovetails with only a pair of chisels and a mallet
Remove the socket waste with a bench chisel, keeping 1⁄16 " from the scribed sides and back.
After making a vertical cut, counter with a horizontal cut to remove the chip.
Pare away the sidewalls
Pare the angled sidewalls down to the bottom of the sockets.
Pare away the back walls
Using a clamped-on guide board, pare away the final material from the back walls.
Finally, use a skew chisel to clean out the corners to finish the sockets.
Now you have two perfect pin sockets for a project part, such as an inset drawer front.
For information on selecting the best chisel for your needs, view All about wood chisels.