Air Chisel Instructions

Air chisels replace the hand-held version with a pneumatic chisel system.
Air chisels replace the hand-held version with a pneumatic chisel system. (Image: cold chisel image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from

An air chisel is a type of automatic chiseling device used often in remodeling projects. It is called an air chisel because it uses air pressure to drill the chisel down in a rapid motion, often at 3,000 beats per minute or more. If you only need to use the chisel for one main project, you can usually rent one at a local home improvement store. However, if you plan on using the air chisel frequently, you may want to buy your own instead.

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Chisels and Hammer

Your air chisel can work with multiple chisel bits. Choose the correct chisel bits for the job, and make sure they are installed properly in your primary chisel device. Usually, the chisel bit is referred to as the "chisel" and the base mechanism that you hold is known as the "hammer". Different air chisels hold the chisel bits differently. Some air chisels have lock-in mechanisms that allow you to hold a bit in place, similar to the way a drill bit works. Others have a more free-handed approach, and require the use of two hands to hold the chisel bit in place while using the pneumatic hammer.

Read your instruction manual carefully regarding the use of air connectors. Not all air chisels come with air connectors or air source hoses to attach to your air compressor. Your instruction manual will tell you the size of the connector and the hose that you need to buy in order to use the chisel. Buy sealing tape or a sealing compound as well to ensure an air-tight connection.

Operating the Air Chisel

Examine your chisel bits. If they are cracked or worn, buy new versions (some bits can break in the packaging). Use a professional oil designed for pneumatic tools and apply a couple of drops to the air inlet before you begin. Air chisels need relatively little maintenance, but frequent oiling will help them perform better and last longer. When first using your chisel, begin on a low setting and slowly work up as needed. Chisel at an angle to better drive the chisel into the substance you are chipping away. It often takes a couple hours of use for a new chisel bit to reach its full potential, so do not switch to a new bit until you are sure one is needed.

If you want to increase the impact force of your bit, try adjusting the locking mechanism of your bit, or withdraw the chisel bit slightly from the hammer. If your bit is locked in on only one setting, adjust the air flow. Increasing air volume will increase impact force. Wear protective clothes and goggles while chiseling to protect your clothes from the mess and your eyes from flying bits of stone or brick. If the noise of the chisel bothers you, use ear plugs while working.


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