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Tips on hand machining with a cold chisel.

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Koi

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This is a problem I'm having when using a cold chisel.I'm attempting to put a slot on a steel plate but it seems like I'm only chipping away some metal and after a few cut,it looks like a disaster.Any tips on doing that.
 

ThinWoodsman

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I made a project of cutting a v-slot in a tooling plate using hand tools. No, it is not finished yet, but it is coming along surprisingly well given how badly it all started out.

I started the slot with a hacksaw, then used a cape chisel to widen it, then used square files to form the V. The chisel did not work well; chips would snap off before they even got to an inch long. The steel plate is some of that 1/4" mystery stuff they sell at the hardware store, and is much harder than I expected it to be.

You might try using a file or hacksaw to score the line for the slot, as that will break through the skin of the metal which may be hard. Also, clamp some pieces of wood to either side, making a guide about the width of the chisel. I didn't do this, and marked up the tooling plate something ugly.

I haven't seen any soid advice on the angle for the chisel. It's always "too large an angle from the surface and the chisel won't cut; too small an angle and the chisel will get dull fast". Maybe hone the chisel on a stone and try a smaller angle?

EDIT: This guy appears to be using a 45 degree angle.
 
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savarin

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When chiseling out some slots in 3/8 mild steel plate I drilled the holes first then held it in the vise with the jaws to the line so I could use them as the chisel guide.
The chisel went along the slot at a 45' angle.
The metal came off surprisingly easy and the chisel never caught the jaws because of their hardness.
 

Koi

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Will a wood chisel that is hardened be used as a cold chisel since it has a flat under unlike a cold chisel having bevel angle at the edge
 
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bhigdog

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Chisels were once the primary tools used for metal cutting, machining, as it were. It is a lost art perfected only with time and practice. I'm guessing there are a fair number of people proficient in the craft in some third world countries. Here not so much...............Bob
 

Bob Korves

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Will a wood chisel that is hardened be used as a cold chisel since it has a flat under unlike a cold chisel having bevel angle at the edge
A wood chisel has a narrow angle which leads to a thin and delicate blade. It is not robust enough to hold up to cutting steel. A cape chisel would be the correct tool for the job.
 

Canus

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Start with the correct chisel for the job (cape chisel) ensuring it is properly sharpened. Position the chisel at the correct angle, not too shallow or too deep. Proceed slowly until proficiency achieved.
 
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matthewsx

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Do you have access to a dremel tool?

F3FC9B0A-017D-4199-B982-AB9879BBF9B6.png

If you can get something like this with small cutoff wheels you can cut the outline of your hole and chisel from there.

An oscillating saw like this might also be useful for making plunge cuts with the right blades.

45173705-DBEB-494A-9509-EE9C9C4B72EC.jpeg

I know this doesn’t address your question directly but both these tools are relatively cheap and have earned their keep in my shop.

Along with a good selection of quality cold chisels :encourage:

Cheers,

John
 
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benmychree

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Do not expect to make long chips with a hand hammered chisel, it can be done with a pneumatic chipping gun, at least relatively long chips can be made.
 
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ericc

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I once chiseled a 1" square hardy hole in a stake plate. It took about 3 months. It can be done, but there are few resources on the Internet telling how to do it. It seems that in the old days, most chiseling ("chipping") was done on cast iron, which was substantially softer than the steel you are probably trying to use. From what I read, it is important to hit the correct angle. Too steep, and the chisel digs in. Too shallow and it glances off, and you make no progress. Try to keep the chip going, and keep it small and thin. Sharpen the chisel as soon as it gets dull, otherwise you are wasting time dinging metal. Also, if you are hitting the chisel hard enough, it is going to produce a lot of noise. Unless you can control the noise, it will make neighbors mad. Hearing protection is a must. Unless the slot is small, I would recommend doing it hot, or making a tiny belt sander that uses 1/2" belts. This will be a lot easier. This kind of hammering can lead to repetitive motion injuries. Do not do it in long stretches, else you will become incapacitated for weeks. Do a little every now and then, and it will give you plenty of time to think about it. After a few weeks of pounding, you will want to check out an Alec Steele video and do it hot.
 
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Koi

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I once chiseled a 1" square hardy hole in a stake plate. It took about 3 months. It can be done, but there are few resources on the Internet telling how to do it. It seems that in the old days, most chiseling ("chipping") was done on cast iron, which was substantially softer than the steel you are probably trying to use. From what I read, it is important to hit the correct angle. Too steep, and the chisel digs in. Too shallow and it glances off, and you make no progress. Try to keep the chip going, and keep it small and thin. Sharpen the chisel as soon as it gets dull, otherwise you are wasting time dinging metal. Also, if you are hitting the chisel hard enough, it is going to produce a lot of noise. Unless you can control the noise, it will make neighbors mad. Hearing protection is a must. Unless the slot is small, I would recommend doing it hot, or making a tiny belt sander that uses 1/2" belts. This will be a lot easier. This kind of hammering can lead to repetitive motion injuries. Do not do it in long stretches, else you will become incapacitated for weeks. Do a little every now and then, and it will give you plenty of time to think about it. After a few weeks of pounding, you will want to check out an Alec Steele video and do it hot.
This kind if chisel?
 

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Bob Korves

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Will a cold chisel make a cleaner cut or a wood chisel assuming they have the same hardness to cut steel but with the difference of the shape ending with different result.
A wood chisel is made for cutting wood. It will be destroyed trying to use it to make significant cuts in steel. The very hard and thin metal and shallow included angles on a wood chisel are going to crumble in use. The handle is not intended for the heavy blows needed to cut steel. You do not need to believe us, Koi, get one and give it a try. Let us know how it works out.
 
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Koi

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A wood chisel is made for cutting wood. It will be destroyed trying to use it to make significant cuts in steel. The very hard and thin metal and shallow included angles on a wood chisel are going to crumble in use. The handle is not intended for the heavy blows needed to cut steel. You do not need to believe us, Koi, get one and give it a try. Let us know how it works out.
Can I make a cold chisel to have a flat under until where my hands grip. Will that improve the cut.I'm assuming it will focus all the hammering force in the same direction I hit unlike a commercial made Cold chisel.
 

francist

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Suitably (or perhaps frustratingly, depending on your point of view) is this excerpt from The Starrett Book for Machinists' Apprentices, a truly wonderful book that I forget to refer to as often as I would like. Alas, no numbers provided for angles of attack, and the illustration makes the process look oh so casual. Different times, to be sure.

-frank

image.pngimage.pngimage.png
 

Bob Korves

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I already told you that one. Cape chisel.
 

ericc

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Koi, use the cold chisel. The wood chisel's edge will break if you use it on steel. But maybe you should try it. I did. Best to do it with a cheap garage sale one, since you will ruin it. Wear safety glasses. You can often find cold chisel suitable for your use for a dollar or less at a garage sale. Sharpen several, and feel how they wear. How long have you actually been working on the slot (as opposed to planning, discussing and shopping)?
 

Koi

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Hey cooter brown seen that before .That is nearly the type of chisel I was describing but it's a bit narrow at the cutting edge and that is iron but what if it's steel ,how am I gonna profile it with a chisel
 

Koi

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Koi, use the cold chisel. The wood chisel's edge will break if you use it on steel. But maybe you should try it. I did. Best to do it with a cheap garage sale one, since you will ruin it. Wear safety glasses. You can often find cold chisel suitable for your use for a dollar or less at a garage sale. Sharpen several, and feel how they wear. How long have you actually been working on the slot (as opposed to planning, discussing and shopping)?
I have work on it for some time but makes me feel frustrated.The work just doesnt turn out as I expect but I find the file easier to use and things always turns out to be 99% what u expect it to be though there's just shape and profile you can't do with a file like putting a square hole or a square at the side of a piece of steel
 
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NortonDommi

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I have a collection of cold chisels from little tiny ones to great big ones. There are many different and specialised chisels for metal and and used well the cut metal fast and accurately. Cutting a slot is easiest in a vice after drilling a few holes. A wood chisel is only good on metal for cleaning off gasket material.
Have a read of this: start at page 5.
 

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Koi

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I made a project of cutting a v-slot in a tooling plate using hand tools. No, it is not finished yet, but it is coming along surprisingly well given how badly it all started out.

I started the slot with a hacksaw, then used a cape chisel to widen it, then used square files to form the V. The chisel did not work well; chips would snap off before they even got to an inch long. The steel plate is some of that 1/4" mystery stuff they sell at the hardware store, and is much harder than I expected it to be.

You might try using a file or hacksaw to score the line for the slot, as that will break through the skin of the metal which may be hard. Also, clamp some pieces of wood to either side, making a guide about the width of the chisel. I didn't do this, and marked up the tooling plate something ugly.

I haven't seen any soid advice on the angle for the chisel. It's always "too large an angle from the surface and the chisel won't cut; too small an angle and the chisel will get dull fast". Maybe hone the chisel on a stone and try a smaller angle?

EDIT: This guy appears to be using a 45 degree angle.
That's what happened to me chip snaps of even before it gets an inch
 

ThinWoodsman

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One of the old books I was reading mentioned using cutting oil when chiseling steel. Maybe I'll give that a go when I'm in the shop this afternoon, try out some good sulfurized cutting oil on some scrap.

Also, if you are hitting the chisel hard enough, it is going to produce a lot of noise. Unless you can control the noise, it will make neighbors mad.
I may have not been hitting the chisel hard enough when at a lower angle. My nearest neighbors are a quarter mile away through the woods, so maybe I'll whack the thing hard enough to make the complain :grin:

Have a read of this: start at page 5.
Koi, Mayhew makes cape chisels: Mayhew cape chisels
Not sure where you would find them in Malaysia but there should be a regional manufacturer making an equivalent.
 
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Koi

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One of the old books I was reading mentioned using cutting oil when chiseling steel. Maybe I'll give that a go when I'm in the shop this afternoon, try out some good sulfurized cutting oil on some scrap.



I may have not been hitting the chisel hard enough when at a lower angle. My nearest neighbors are a quarter mile away through the woods, so maybe I'll whack the thing hard enough to make the complain :grin:



Koi, Mayhew makes cape chisels: Mayhew cape chisels
Not sure where you would find them in Malaysia but there should be a regional manufacturer making an equivalent.
For now I haven't come across any cape chisel but a cold one is dirt common though I can make one by building a forge but for now I think should focus on getting a round column mill drill. hasta la Vista baby hand machining.
 
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Koi

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I have a collection of cold chisels from little tiny ones to great big ones. There are many different and specialised chisels for metal and and used well the cut metal fast and accurately. Cutting a slot is easiest in a vice after drilling a few holes. A wood chisel is only good on metal for cleaning off gasket material.
Have a read of this: start at page 5.
Thanks that's a lot
 

markba633csi

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Koi: you can make square holes, you need a square file for that. There are also round and triangle shapes, plus flat and half-round
My most used files are half-round and rat-tail (thin round) files
Mark
ps you also need a good vise to hold your workpieces
 
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markba633csi

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If you get a mill/drill your chiselling days will be numbered ;)I am fairly sure
Keep your files though, filing is always needed sometime, somewhere
Do you have a small lathe? How difficult to find machine tools in Malaysia?
 
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