Wood Carving Tips: How To Cut A Groove In Wood With Chisel And Hammer

Cutting a groove in wood is one of the easiest ways to add a decorative element to your piece of furniture. Not only is it easy, but it’s also a great way to save money because you don’t need to buy a whole new piece of furniture. With this tutorial, you’ll learn how to cut a groove in wood with a chisel and hammer.


How To Cut A Groove In Wood With Chisel And Hammer

For this project, you’ll need the following:

A 3/4-inch chisel

We recommend getting an inexpensive chisel, as they are easy to sharpen. (If you’re looking for a higher quality option, you can get one that is meant specifically for cutting grooves.) Chisel guard.

If your chisel has a sharp edge, you can still use it to carve out a groove by placing a chisel guard between your hand and the wood, just like you would do when carving. This allows you to keep your hand stationary while you carve.

The guard won’t stop the chisel blade from getting damaged, but it will protect your hand. You can find these in hardware stores or home improvement stores.


This tool is optional, but a hammer can make cutting grooves in wood much easier. For this reason, we recommend using a hammer with a flat end.

Prepare Your Work Surface.

When working on your wood carving project, you should start with a smooth, flat work surface. In addition, you’ll need a piece of scrap wood to place your carving board on. You can use any wood you like, but it should be at least 2 inches thick. If you don’t have a work surface, you can use your cutting board or countertop.

1: Prepare Your Wood Carving Board. 

Cutting a groove in wood can be a difficult task if you’re not working with the right materials.

  • To demonstrate how to create an easy-to-cut groove, we’re going to use a wood carving board that we’ve pre-drilled with a 3/4-inch hole.
  • If you don’t have a carving board, you can use a piece of wood that you already own.
  • Using a drill, drill the 3/4-inch hole on the backside of your carving board. You’ll be using this as a guide for the chisel when you’re carving your groove out of the front side.

2: Cut Your Scrap Wood. 

You’ll need a piece of scrap wood that’s 2 inches thick to use as a base for your carving board. Use a power saw or circular saw to cut the wood into a 2-inch thickness. Make sure you keep it flat so it’s easy to carve into the wood.

3: Clean the Surface of the Wood. 

After cutting your scrap wood, remove any debris from the surface of the wood with a damp cloth. You can do this by placing the wood on a towel and covering the wood with a damp cloth. Let the wood dry for a few minutes, and then repeat this step until the surface is completely clean.

4: Using Your Chisel, Cut A Groove Into The Front Side Of Your Board. 

Place your chisel onto the 3/4-inch hole on your carving board. Press down on your carving board with your hand while carving the groove into the wood. You may need to change your angle of attack to carve your groove, but if you have a steady hand and are careful, it’s possible to create an even groove with just one hand.

How To Cut A Groove In Wood With Chisel And Hammer (2)

5: Take It To The Next Level With A Hammer. 

If you have a hammer, you can now take the groove to the next level. So using your flat head end, hammer your groove in. Besides, compared to using just the chisel, this will make the process much faster and easier. Finally, continue to use your flat head until your groove is deep enough.

6: Sand Your Groove. 

After you’ve finished hammering out your groove, sand it smoothly using a fine-tooth sander. This will remove any minor imperfections from the surface of your groove. Once again, you can use your scrap wood to hold your carving board in place as you sand.

7: Add Finishing Materials

Once you’ve decided what kind of finishing material you want to use, apply it to your project. You can use a variety of materials, including shellac, varnish, polyurethane, or another type of finish. (You may also want to consider a stained finish for a more rustic look.)

When applying your finish, make sure it is at least 1/2-inch thick. Apply as many coats as you need to achieve the thickness you desire. Let each coat dry completely before applying the next.

8: Carve Out A Handle. 

Place your chisel into your groove and start carving out the handle. Your handle will be curved slightly because of the groove. As you carve, keep an eye on where your handle is starting to curve. You can even use your flathead to guide the curve. When you’ve carved out most of your handle, take your chisel out of the groove.

9: Add A Protective Coat.

We’re going to finish our demonstration with a coat of clear polyurethane. You can use this material to protect your carving from scratches and nicks. It also helps to give the piece a nice shine.

How To Cut A Groove In Wood With Chisel And Hammer

FAQs: How To Cut A Groove In Wood With Chisel

1.Which chisel is used for cutting oil grooves?

You can use a straight or slightly curved chisel for cutting oil grooves. It should be sharp and the end squared off so it fits snugly into the groove. When cutting, be careful not to apply too much pressure, or you might damage the metal.

2.What is a cape chisel?

A cape chisel is a type of tool used to cut through the tough fiberglass that forms the “cape” or roofing material on some cars.

The name comes from its original use as an implement for caulking, which involved using pitch (a sticky substance) and tar to seal seams in boats. The pitch was often too hard to be easily workable with hand tools, so it was decided that this would require some sort of mallet-like device called a “cape.”

Today’s cape chisels are typically made from steel alloyed with titanium for strength against heat treatment processes such as tempering and hardening.


Hey, it is fun playing around with a wood chisel and a hammer, isn’t it? But now it’s time to put your new skills to work. So, get practical. 

There are lots of different tools and techniques you need to know when you start to get into woodworking. But one of the most important things you will learn is how to use a simple, inexpensive tool called a “chisel and mallet”. This tool will let you make almost any kind of groove in any kind of wood… With practice… You will soon find yourself effortlessly making all the grooves and cuts necessary to make just about any project you can think of.

How To Cut A Groove In Wood With Chisel And Hammer

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