Since I have told you what is not what about chisels, it’s time for health and safety instructions, or how to use it – not to lose any part of the body 😀
From the very beginning you must realize that the chisel is an acute tool. Hence, it is dangerous not only if we use it in the wrong way but also when it lies innocently next to us during work. I was surprised myself when it was when I was puttinga chisel into case after work or during the work, that I once more cut myself with a chisel lying next to it. And here is one of the most important principles for me.
Always keep order in the workplace.
Unfortunately, even if every day you are inevitably accompanied by a mess, with sculpting you must pay attention to the systematic cleaning around you. Why? The case is not so tragically serious when we have only 3 chisels and a sculpting board at our disposal, but when we have more chisels it is easier to swept them under the woodchip layer and then it is very easy to hit the chisel or just catch the skin with the blade. Believe me, you just need one snap and you have to stain blood because a sharp chisel comes into the skin like a knife in butter. As for the order, it is worth from the very beginning to develop the habit of putting the chisel in place. It can be embarrassing at the beginning but it speeds up the work very much. You will appreciate it when a lot of chisels appear in your set that differ slightly from each other. In addition, I recommend marking a chisel with colour, its size or profile on the handle.
Take care of proper storing of chisels.
As for the work organization itself, it is my job to hold a micro chisel in a separate wooden chisel box and the remaining larger chisels in a leather case. In the case, it’s easy to find a chisel that has its assigned place so that they do not mix. However, I have to be careful when pulling out when the case is full. One hand should then be used to pry the handle of the chisel, while the hand should raise the chisel by the blade and again, the first to take the chisel securely behind the handle.
Wider chisels and large outdoor chisels are easier to store in the case because after folding do not take up so much space. Another note: we always put the chisel with the handle of the center so if the cover is full before the roll up, you have to watch twice because all the blades are facing our side. Remember to put a piece of protective fabric (this part of the cover above the chisel edges) very carefully before rolling up, so that the blades do not damage.
The manner of storage is an individual matter, but it is indisputable that you have to think about it. It is unacceptable that the chisels lay on each other in a trunk or a poodle or were scattered around the workshop. Tools in this way will be destroyed 5 times faster. The cutting edge is very delicate and sometimes you only need to hit the hard surface, the blade can be blunt or crumble.
The situation is similar when we sharpen the chisel. It’s a good idea to have a cover or a box for a freshly sharpened chisel ready for use.
You have to take care of the order especially when we are at sculptural plein-airs or in a workshop or workshop with others. It’s very easy then for an accident.
Never work with a chisel pointing to your side or towards other people!
This matter is not subject to discussion. No matter how long you sculpt and what skill you have. The wood has a different structure and in the least expected moment it can let go and the force that we put into the chisel will be directed straight at us. For horror when someone tries to sculpt one hand and the other has a blade anywhere on the way. We always have two hands on a wooden handle, one holds the chisel safely, the other leads in the direction chosen by us. With smaller works, the holding hand rests on the material and the larger situation looks as follows: one hand holds a large chisel for the handle, the other hand is used to handle the mallet.
We stand while working.
Not only for security reasons. When sculpting in a standing position (of course, when the height of the table on which the workpiece is located is appropriate) we use our own body weight as a force for carving. We do not get too tired and it’s easy to keep control over the tool. Remember that you can not fight with a chisel. If we are dealing with an exceptionally hard piece of wood, it is really better to safely cut wood for longer but safer for yourself and chisel than use a mallet.
Nothing by force.
Do not fight with wood. If, for some reason, the wood resists, calmly find another way to work on the piece. It is often enough to change the angle of the chisel and you can further sculpt.
Mallet + chisel + reckless impact force can quickly end up with a broken chisel, beaten finger (the chisel can bounce) or a hole in the body and stitching. It is not difficult when working with a mallet to slip a chisel. It goes where it wants; take my word for it. Therefore, pay attention to whether there is anyone in your immediate surroundings. Because you have to think not only about yourself, but also about the others.
What surprised me when working with other people? People even though they see someone who is using tools (of any type) can do stupid jokes and even scare each other. This is the greatest stupidity I have ever seen and I will not comment on it.
In summary : we always hold the chisel with two hands and never in our (or someone else’s) direction.