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How to Hold & Use Wood Chisel Correctly | Beginner Wood Carving Tutorial Video

Video Notes & Summary

In this video we’ll be showing you:

  1. How correctly hold a wood chisel
  2. How to properly carve your first cuts with a wood chisel

Main Points Covered:

  • Basic safety via proper technique
  • How to hold a wood chisel in your dominant hand and support with your non-dominant hand
  • How to make your first cuts

Please note: The method shown in this video is not the only way to use your carving chisels. Each carver may have his or her own technique. The tips and techniques taught here have worked for Randall for decades, and we think they will provide value to beginners looking to start carving. We recommend that each person finds what best works for them. Happy carving!

Overview of tools used in this tutorial video

Timestamp: [0:20]

We’ll show you how to use 2 common tools out of the Schaaf Tools 12 Tool Set. Tools selected:

  • 1S 8mm Skew Chisel - This is your skew chisel. It is measured at 8mm from corner to corner (of the sharpened tip).
  • 12 6mm V Parting Tool - This parting tool is used to create varying depths of “V” cuts into wood. 

How to hold wood carving tools properly

Timestamp: [0:50]

Learn how to correctly hold your wood carving tools:

  • The wooden handle goes between the thumb and the forefinger
  • The upper side of the metal chisel, just below the wooden handle, rests on the middle finger
  • The tool should be sitting comfortably in the crook of your hand
  • Grip with your pointer finger on top and middle finger below for a steady hold of the tool

Example of basic carving by correctly holding chisel

Timestamp: [1:30]

Learn how to correctly hold your chisel as you start carving:

  • Non-dominant hand (in this example, the left hand) is used to guide and steer the tool
  • Dominant hand is used for power and thrust

Making your first cuts with a wood carving chisel

Timestamp: [2:50]

Watch how the tool is held to make a few basic cuts:

  • Make your first basic cut
  • Take an edge off your first cut
  • Deep and shallow cuts
  • Removing debris
  • Rounding edges

How to use the V Parting Tool

Timestamp: [4:55]

As the name suggests, the V Parting Tool is used to create a “V” cut into the wood. The shape of the bottom of the V Parting Tool will determine how deep of a cut your tool will make. In this example, our V Parting Tools has a rounded bottom, so it will create a kind of mini gouge cut.

Additional Video Highlights

Watch up-close cuts and get a few extra tips on how to correctly hold and use your tools at the end of the video:

  • See up close cuts with the skew chisel [5:45]
  • Recap of how to hold chisel [7:35]


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