How to Cut Metal with Cold Chisels


Cold chisels are useful tools for cutting things apart quickly when the accuracy of the cut and the finish left are of no importance like removing rusted bolts. However, special cold chisels can be used for shaping metals precisely.

All cold chisels are basically pieces of hardened steel with a cutting edge ground on one end. You hit the other end – the head – with a heavy hammer to make the cutting edge (chisel) cut. The most useful sort is the ordinary fiat chisel. For cutting grooves, a cross-cut chisel is needed; for circular grooves or for producing a ground finish on an internal corner, you need a round nose or half-round nose chisel; and for getting a sharp internal corner or for cutting V-grooves, a diamond-point chisel.

How to Cut Metal with Cold Chisels  Cold Chisels

Cold chisels are specified by their cut­ting width and length and sometimes by the thickness of the bar they are made from as well. The most useful range of flat chisels is from 150mm to 250mm long and 13mm to 25mm across. A good compro­mise size is 200mm by about 20mm. Choose chisels which taper gradually towards the point so that they can be resharpened several times without appre­ciably thickening the point.

Using a cold chisel

Cold chisels may appear to be very robust, but you should take lots of care when using one. In particular:

  • use a heavy hammer in a controlled manner rather than raining down lots of blows with a light one. A club hammer is best
  • when the head of the chisel starts to spread (called mushrooming) after a little use, trim it back to shape with a grinding wheel. Otherwise, fragments may break off and fly about and cause injury

How to Cut Metal with Cold Chisels  Cutting Metal with Cold Chisels

  • support the job firmly to avoid wasting a lot of effort
  • keep the edge of the chisel sharp. This can be done by using a grinding wheel but avoid getting the chisel too hot, and so softening it. A bench grinder is best for sharpening cold chisels. Alternatively, use an attachment on an electric drill
  • do not use a chisel on or very near, the jaws of a vice or other hard metal
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About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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