Chisels And Gouges 101
An Introduction to Basic Woodworking Tools

When it comes to chisels and gouges, there are many different styles and sizes to help you achieve the desired look and shape for your woodworking project. The major difference between a chisel and a gouge is a chisel has a flat blade, and a gouge has a rounded or curved blade. Chisels and gouges come in many different styles, with varying blade length, thickness, shape, and curvature. If you need to cut flat and straight work, say to create an interlocking mortise and tenon joint, you would use a chisel. Whereas the gouge comes into play if you need to cut curved features into the wood.

The handles of both chisels and gouges are usually made of wood. The handle will attach to the blade with either a tang or a socket. A tang is used when the blade has an extended pointed piece of metal driven into the handle. A socket is somewhat the reverse of a tang; the handle has a pointed extension which fits inside the metal blade, which has been shaped with a “socket” to accommodate the handle. A tang is used for delicate jobs. Sockets on the other hand are designed to take a beating from a mallet, as the handle will not detach from the blade when struck.

Now that you know the different styles of chisels and gouges available, you can accomplish every desired detail in your woodworking projects.