This site uses cookies, your continued use implies you agree with our cookie policy. Dismiss

Lettering Chisels

Here's the skinny:

  • Carpentry (bench) chisels have a single bevel: a bevel on one side of the blade and a flat face on the other.
  • Lettering chisels have a bevel on both sides. There is no flat face.

In this workshop I'll demonstrate the fundamental difference between these tools - even though they are both called 'chisels' - and look at their different functions. 

Can carpentry chisels be used in place of the lettercarving chisels? Many beginners have spare carpentry chisels. Can they be adapted for lettering?

Good questions! Watch the video and I'll give you my answer.


| 23 December 2021 17:25

Thomas - Yes, this is the best way to approach your lettering chisels: square the edges then polish the white line so you can see it better; set the bevels equally while thinning that line as much as you dare; finish off with your fine stone.

In many ways, sharpening a chisel is easier than a gouge because you don't have to rotate, just move back and forth at the correct (low) angle, equally on each side. However, you want to make sure the surface of your stone is flat, not hollowed; otherwise you will be removing more metal from the corners of your chisel...

| 23 December 2021 14:40

Hi Chris, I’ve not done any carving since lockdown, too busy working unfortunately.
I have a couple weeks off over Christmas and I’m determined to do some carving. I’ve bought some lettering chisels and I’m going to try some lettering .
My question is do I commission the lettering chisels is the same way as a gouge: squaring and polishing the edge and then reducing the cutting angles each side?

Please login to post a comment