On the surface, a chisel is a simple tool -- just a cutting edge attached to a handle. But once a woodworker starts to buy and use chisels it is easy to be overwhelmed by the array of tools available. Pick up any two woodworking books, and you'll quickly find inconsistencies in chisel nomenclature -- mortise, bench, butt, bevel-edge, paring, firmer, even pigsticker and gooseneck chisels. What's the difference? What kind to buy first? And what kind of steel is best? Woodworker and boatbuilder Bob Smalser tells readers what the tool catalogs don't.

From Fine Woodworking #181