Chopping mortises with bevel edge chisels

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    Soon I will start chopping mortises for my workbench. I will try Paul’s method for the first time. But I have the Lie Nielsen bevel edge chisels (was a present from my wife, yes I must have the best wife in the world :)) and I am not quite sure if they hold up to the task. Maybe they are to delicate. I don’t want them to break while levering out the waste.

    Some advice would be nice . If anyone did it, please tell me.

    Thanks in advance,


    George Bridgeman

    You should be fine. I used my Narex bevel edged chisels to chop the mortises for my workbench and didn’t have a problem with the chisels. The only thing to bear in mind is that bevel edged chisels may try to twist in the mortise as you’re chopping. Mortise chisels don’t suffer from the same problem because they’re a lot deeper. If you feel the chisel twisting, twist it the opposite way as you’re striking the chisel and it’ll straighten out.

    Have fun with it and let us know how you get on!


    "To know and not do is to not know"


    Thanks George. Another consideration might be the socket design. I don’t know about those Narex chisels, but I might break the handle of my Lie Nielsen.


    Michael, they should be fine. Lie Nielsen mortice chisels have the same socked handle as the bench chisels, the steel on the bevel edge chisels is up to the job I’m sure. So I think you would be good to go buddy.


    You are right Ken. Forgot about that. I think my signature isn’t that far from the truth 🙂



    HaHa, If you were stupid, you would never have  asked the question buddy 😉


    That’s also true.

    David Gill


    I am sure the guys are correct but why take a chance you can buy a set of Narex mortice chisels for not a lot of money  that you can hammer on and lever all day long and keep your LN chisels for more precise work




    Wigan, Lancs. England :


    I think that dropping a chisel to the floor can do a lot more harm than chopping mortises. I dropped my 1″ last week (it was rolling off the bench…) and a small corner broke off the bevel. It’s probably only half a millimeter but it hit me straight in the heart 😉 I am using Kirschen bevel edged chisels from Germany. They cost only a third of the Lie Nielsen’s but I’m very happy with them. Maybe it feels safer for you to buy some cheaper chisels for the beginning and use your beauties when you feel more confidence in handling them. The first time I opened the wooden box of my chisels I held it like a baby.

    Although those tools can be very pretty that’s probably not the way they want to be treated ;-).

    I enjoy working wood in Germany.


    I have to agree David, I will be using the Narex mortice chisels on my bench legs soon. I think the guys want to stay true to Paul’s method though.

    Paul Sellers

    I have a set of Narex mortise chisels and also Robert Sorby. Both are excellent chisels and the are both accurately machined and up to the most demanding work. Also, I have no problem using mortise chisels and especially if I have a lot to cut that are deep. That’s when Im like to use them mostly because I can lever on them with the extra force needed in deep mortises.


    I used my stanley sweetheart socketed bevel edged chisels to chop the bench legs.  I never had any problems with them and I did’nt have to spend any money buying another set of chisels specific to chopping mortises.  The only issue I had were the handles on the chisels are a tad bit small so I occasionally whacked my hand with the mallet… ouch!



    I like the way Paul shows us that you do not

    need a hole range of tools to perform a certain task.

    When i wanted to start woodworking almost every woodworker on the internet said, that i needed alot of

    tools to begin with,and that the most expensive ones worked the best.

    2 years later i have alot of expensive tools but still no real project was made because i spent

    most of my money on tools and their was no money left for the most importend thing to buy.(wood)

    Then there comes mr Paul Sellers who tells us you can do about everything with a plane stanley no4

    a cheap set of chissels and some other not too expensive tools.

    I think it’s wonderful how he gets people in to woodworking and not in to buying alot of expensive tools.

    He doesn’t say you can’t chop a mortice with a mortice chissel,but it’s not essential to buy them right away because you

    can chop a mortice with a bench chissel.

    Sorry for the long story ,but i only hope people don’t make the same mistake i did, and begin

    woodworking before buying a hole range of tools.



    Lopik - Netherlands

    Brent Ingvardsen

    Juryaan, I coulnt agree with your statement any more. Paul teaches skill development with common tools, not teaching each tool under the sun.


    Meridianville, Alabama, USA


    Unless I read Paul’s post wrong, he owns and uses mortice chisels also. Use whatever chisel feels right for you, personal choice at the end of the day. But it is great knowing you can get the job done with just basic hand tools, and not having to buy every tool under the sun. If you want to buy them and love tools, well that’s great also 🙂

    Ken 😉

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