What is chiselling?


There is a great variety of techniques by means of which metal or silver can be worked . One of them is chiselling , an ancient technique that allows, by means of the use of a chisel , to make different shapes in these types of surfaces when subsidence or incisions are made that cause a deformity, thus achieving the desired shape.


What is chiselling?

The chiselling is a type of manual technique which can be achieved perform text or figures to a low relief on a surface of metal or silver using chisels producing a series of depressions.


Origin of chiselling

The technique of chiselling along with chisels as decorative instruments have existed since very ancient times and have had vital importance, in fact today, these instruments continue to have great importance in factories and for sculptors. Experts and historians consider that the word derives from the Latin language ” dry ” which in Spanish means court or from the French word ” ciseau “.


It is believed that the coarse were the first ancient peoples to discover the instrument and for this reason they are considered as the forerunners of it. With the passage of time the instrument gradually improved and was also used in Greece during the 6th century BC Many inscriptions were found in Egypt in which they used chiselling, mainly in the tombs dating from the 7th century BC.

Types of chiselling

Perhaps the most relevant aspect of chiselling is the chisel and for this reason, there are several types of them which are:

  • Cold cutter : also known as iron cutter and is a type of chisel used to perform the chiselling technique on surfaces that are flat or to make cuts in sheets or rods.
  • Sharp point : in this case, the chiselling technique is performed on sheets that are thinner in order to make small grooves.
  • Round Tip – Your goal is to make holes or grooves in the material.
  • Embossing : This type of chiselling can emboss some parts of the design in order to create a more three-dimensional look.
  • Flat : flattens surfaces to make a difference between those that have some type of relief.
  • Textured : in this case, the final finish is given in order to give a more natural look to the design.

Tools and materials

The main tool that is needed to be able to carry out the chiselling technique is the chisel. This piece consists of several parts which are:

  • The head : this part is located at the end where the tool receives the impact.
  • The handle : it is the body of the chisel that receives and through which the impact that the artist produces on the instrument is propagated. It should be long enough so that it can be properly held by hand.
  • The wedge: this is a part that is formed by the sides of the instrument and it is here where the different areas of the cut are located.
  • Edge of the cut : it is responsible for delivering the impact produced by the piece where it is worked.

Chisels have various shapes, they can be bar , rectangular , hexagonal , square or also round . There are several materials that can be used for the chiselling technique and among them we can mention stone , masonry , granite , metals , wood and marble .


It is important to remember that chiselling is a technique that is done entirely by hand and the person who does this type of work is known as a chiseller . He starts his work when he draws the design he wants to show on the surface of the sheet to be worked on. This design is then supported on the surface of a structure known as ” fish mass ” within a wooden frame that is placed on the work table.

The artist little by little makes a series of small and careful blows on the piece using the chisel, holding the instrument with one hand and with the other, holding a small hammer to be able to perform the blows continuously. Between each stroke, the tool must be moved little by little to follow the line of the drawing that has been placed on the sheet.

This is how the main lines of the design are formed as well as the different types of contours that it will have. Subsequently, the process is continued filling or shading the surface always using chisels, in this case, they must have a square- type scratch on their tips which will be transferred to the design by striking the chisel.

An important aspect of the technique to be able to carry out the chiselling is the position that the chisel must have . Ideally, it should be kept at a 90 ° angle to the surface you are working on. When this position is maintained, then the chisel fulfills a separation function , and, if it is held at an angle smaller than this measure, it will fulfill a chip extraction function .

Importance of chiselling

The chisel is one of the most important tools for artists, mainly those who are dedicated to carving wood or block . In many cases, pictures and decorative sheets can also be manufactured thanks to this type of technique. However, its great importance does not remain only in art, since the chisel and chisel are widely used in some types of constructions and applications. The opening of holes, gutters , the breaking of cement and concrete , the profiling of certain areas of a structure, the carving and the good finishof the pieces are some of its important uses. For this reason, they turn out to be of great importance for the area of construction and goldsmithing .

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