For more information on chisels, see our beginner site Common Woodworking.
My hand encloses the boxwood shaft both hard, resistant to my mallet’s blow, yet soft under the pressure of my hand. My fingertips trace the lines. They falter as they touch the brass enclosure polished by a man’s lifetime cutting, shaping, shaving wood. Pulling the chisel from its place between the rest I slice thin slivers one before the other until the fine line left by my gauge disappears. I press more, raise the cut line and pare across, sideways, until the cut stops. The resistance is obvious at first. I feel a stubbornness in the wood. The fibres refuse my press. I press more, but twist the corner of my chisel more directly until the wood punctures under the rise of its compression. The resistance is gone. The chisel rests upon my bench again.