Have you ever wondered if you can plane with a chisel? Well, let’s dive into the fascinating world of woodworking and find out! Woodworking is an amazing skill that allows you to create beautiful pieces of art and functional objects using various tools. One such tool is the chisel, typically used for carving and shaping wood. But can it be used for planing too?

When it comes to planing wood, most people think of a hand plane, a specialized tool designed specifically for this task. However, in certain situations, a chisel can indeed be used for planing. Yes, you heard it right! A chisel can serve as a makeshift plane in a pinch. But it’s important to remember that using a chisel for planing requires some skill and practice.

So, if you’re curious to know more about using a chisel as a plane and how it compares to a traditional hand plane, stick around! We’ll explore the ins and outs of chisel planing, its pros and cons, and when it’s appropriate to use this technique. Let’s get ready to dive into the exciting world of woodworking with a twist!

can you plane with a chisel?

Can You Plane With a Chisel? Exploring the Possibilities

Have you ever wondered if you can use a chisel as a plane? While chisels and planes are distinct tools with different purposes, there are situations where a chisel can be a helpful alternative for certain planing tasks. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of chisels and explore the potential for using them as a plane. From understanding the differences between a chisel and a plane to learning the techniques and limitations, let’s dive into the fascinating world of chisel planing.

The Chisel as a Plane: How Does it Work?

Chisels and planes might seem like two completely different tools, but they share some similarities when it comes to planing tasks. When using a chisel as a plane, you essentially utilize the sharp cutting edge of the chisel to shave off material from a surface, much like a traditional plane would.

However, it’s important to note that using a chisel as a plane requires careful control and technique, as the blade of a chisel is not designed for the same level of precision and consistency as a plane blade. Additionally, the shape and size of a chisel can affect its performance as a plane. Let’s explore the aspects to consider when using a chisel as a plane.

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Choosing the Right Chisel for Planing

Not all chisels are created equal when it comes to planing tasks. If you plan to use a chisel as a plane, consider these important factors:

  1. Blade Bevel: Look for a chisel with a flat bevel on the back, as this will allow the chisel to lay flat on the surface and create smoother shavings.
  2. Chisel Size: Opt for wider chisels for bigger planing tasks, as they provide more stability and control.
  3. Handle Grip: Choose a chisel with a comfortable grip that allows for precise control and reduces hand fatigue during extended planing sessions.

By selecting the right chisel, you can optimize your experience when using it as a plane and achieve better results.

Techniques for Chisel Planing

While chisel planing may seem straightforward, it requires a different approach compared to using a traditional hand plane. Here are some techniques to keep in mind:

  1. Positioning: Hold the chisel similar to how you would grip a pencil, with your index finger on top and your thumb and middle finger gripping the sides.
  2. Angles: Maintain a consistent angle of the chisel against the surface to ensure even and controlled shaving.
  3. Pressure and Speed: Apply moderate pressure and use quick, controlled strokes to create clean shavings.

Practicing these techniques will help you master the art of chisel planing and achieve satisfying results.

The Limitations of Chisel Planing

While chisel planing is a versatile technique for certain tasks, it’s important to recognize its limitations. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Precision: Achieving the same level of precision and consistency as a dedicated hand plane can be challenging with a chisel.
  • Surface Protection: Chisel planing can be more aggressive on the surface compared to using a plane, potentially causing more tear-out or damage.
  • Efficiency: Chisel planing can be slower and more time-consuming than using a dedicated plane.

While these limitations exist, chisel planing can still be a handy technique in certain situations where a dedicated plane is not available or practical.

The Benefits of Using a Chisel as a Plane

While there are limitations to chisel planing, it also offers some unique benefits. Let’s explore the advantages of using a chisel as a plane:


Chisels are versatile tools that can be found in most woodworking toolboxes. By utilizing a chisel as a plane, you can maximize the functionality of this tool and expand your woodworking capabilities without the need for additional equipment.

Precision in Small Spaces

Chisel planing can be particularly effective in small or tight spaces where a larger plane wouldn’t fit. The compact size and maneuverability of a chisel allow for intricate planing in areas that are otherwise hard to reach.

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Cost-Effective Solution

If you’re just starting with woodworking or have a limited budget, using a chisel as a plane can be a cost-effective solution. Chisels tend to be more affordable compared to high-quality planes, making them accessible for woodworking enthusiasts on a budget.

Tips for Chisel Planing Success

Now that you’re familiar with the concept of chisel planing, here are some tips to enhance your experience:

Keep Your Tools Sharp

Sharp tools are essential for successful chisel planing. Ensure your chisels are properly sharpened to achieve clean cuts and reduce tear-out.

Practice on Scrap Wood

Before tackling important woodworking projects, spend time practicing your chisel planing skills on scrap wood. This will help you refine your techniques and gain confidence before working on valuable pieces.

Use a Honing Guide

A honing guide can be a helpful tool to ensure consistent blade angles when sharpening your chisels. This will help you achieve better results when chisel planing.


Chisel planing offers a unique approach to woodworking, allowing you to utilize the sharp cutting edge of a chisel as an alternative to a traditional hand plane. While chisel planing has its limitations, it can be a versatile and cost-effective solution for certain planing tasks, especially in small or tight spaces. By choosing the right chisel, mastering the techniques, and considering the limitations, you can unlock the potential of chisel planing in your woodworking projects. So, why not give it a try and explore the possibilities of planing with a chisel?

Key Takeaways: Can You Plane with a Chisel?

  1. Plane with a chisel is possible, but it is not the ideal tool for the job.
  2. A chisel can be used to remove small amounts of material or create beveled edges.
  3. Using a chisel as a plane requires skill, precision, and control.
  4. Chisels have a narrow blade, which may not produce the same smoothness as a traditional plane.
  5. If you’re a beginner, it is recommended to use a dedicated hand plane for planing tasks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you curious about using a chisel as a plane? Below, we’ve answered some common questions to help you understand if it’s possible and how it can be done.

Can a chisel be used as a plane?

Yes, a chisel can be used as a makeshift plane. While not designed for this purpose, a chisel’s flat and sharp edge can effectively remove material and smooth surfaces. However, it may not provide the same precision and control as a dedicated woodworking plane.

When using a chisel as a plane, it’s important to adjust your technique. Instead of the traditional push strokes used with a plane, you’ll need to use a pulling motion. This helps prevent the chisel from digging into the workpiece and allows for smoother, more controlled cuts.

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What are the advantages of using a chisel as a plane?

One advantage of using a chisel as a plane is cost-effectiveness. If you don’t own a dedicated plane and need to perform small planing tasks, a chisel can serve as a versatile alternative. It’s a tool that most woodworkers already have in their toolkit.

Another advantage is the ability to customize the size and shape of the chisel’s cutting edge. By regrinding and sharpening the chisel, you can create a profile that suits your specific planing needs, allowing for more versatility in your woodworking projects.

What are the limitations of using a chisel as a plane?

One limitation is the lack of adjustability. A chisel is designed primarily for cutting and carving, not for precise planing. Unlike a dedicated plane with adjustable depth and angle settings, a chisel has a fixed blade position, making it harder to achieve consistent thickness and smoothness throughout the entire workpiece.

Additionally, using a chisel as a plane requires more effort and skill. It can be more difficult to maintain a consistent pressure and angle while pulling the chisel across the wood. This may result in uneven planing and potentially damaging the workpiece.

What safety precautions should be taken when using a chisel as a plane?

When using a chisel as a plane, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. Make sure the chisel is properly sharpened and secured in place before beginning any planing tasks. Blunt or loose chisels can be dangerous and may cause accidents.

Protective gear, such as safety goggles and gloves, should also be worn to prevent injuries while working. Take your time and avoid rushing the process to maintain control and reduce the risk of accidents.

What are some alternative tools to consider for planing tasks?

If you’re looking for alternative tools for planing tasks, there are several options to consider. Some popular choices include block planes, smoothing planes, and bench planes. These tools are specifically designed for planing and offer more control and precision compared to using a chisel as a plane.

It’s worth investing in a good quality woodworking plane that suits your needs if you frequently perform planing tasks. These dedicated planes provide adjustable features, ergonomic designs, and superior blade quality, allowing for more efficient and accurate planing.

can you plane with a chisel? 2

Hand Plane | How to Set-up and Use a Chisel Plane


So, can you plane with a chisel? The answer is yes! Chisels can be used as makeshift planes for small jobs and touch-ups. However, they are not as efficient or precise as actual planes. If you’re working on a larger project or need more control, it’s best to use a proper woodworking plane. Remember to always be careful and work safely when using any tools.

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