For every type of builder, there are very few indispensable tools. For the woodworkers, the chisel is the simple, multifaceted tool you just can't live without.
Here are some basic techniques on making the most of the chisel, a tool that can take on everything from cleaning up large chunks of waste wood when constructing a porch glider, to carefully paring away thin shavings for a tight fit when you're, say, building a fence.
A few tips before you get started: Make sure to keep your chisel sharp, have a few chisels of varying sizes (if you're getting only one, make it a 3/4"), and, finally, don't go for the cheapest tools --always buy sturdy, solid chisels with life-time warranties.
Step 1: Two-handed control
For extremely precise work, brace your guide hand up against the material and use it as a fulcrum to pivot on throughout the motion. You'll be surprised at how much control and accuracy you gain using this method.