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What Is a Chisel Hammer?

By Robert Ferguson
Updated May 17, 2024
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A chisel hammer is a smaller, hand held version of a jackhammer. The hand held electric or pneumatic power tool is used for chipping or removing small amounts of concrete material at a time. It is primarily used in the construction industry to remove different types of flooring material, such as ceramic tile, grout and thinset, before installation of new flooring. Other applications in the construction industry are for removing small amounts of concrete, mortar or boring holes for electrical and plumbing applications.

Both types of chisel hammer operate generally in the same fashion, with the exception of their power source. The electric version of the tool is powered by 120 volts of electricity. Pneumatic versions operate on compressed air, which is delivered to the chisel hammer via air hoses. One advantage to a pneumatic chisel hammer is that it can operate from a gas or diesel powered compressor on remote job sites where electricity is not available.

Equipped with various sizes of interchangeable chisel heads, the chisel hammer is a ceramic installer's tool of choice when removing old ceramic flooring. Without the chisel hammer, this process would have to be performed by hand using a standard hammer and chisel or manual floor scraper. The chisel hammer simplifies the process, which increases overall job productivity.

The tool is usually equipped with three types of chisels that are used for different applications. These three types include a wide chisel for removing larger amounts of material, a smaller version for hard to reach places, and a pointed chisel for boring holes. Greasing the chisel shaft before operation is recommended to avoid damage to the chisel or hammer.

The hand held chisel hammer works by rapidly vibrating and thrusting the chisel head into the material. During operation, the hammer is placed against the material to be removed. The action chips away at the material's surface to loosen or dislodge it form the substrate. Once the material is free of the substrate, it is easily removed from the work area or job site.

It is very important for those using this tool to follow all safety recommendations from the manufacturer. Safety glasses should be worn to protect eyes from flying debris. Heavy-duty gloves help to protect the hands from the sharp edges of the debris as well as to absorb the vibration caused by the chisel hammer, which can cause fatigue. During the process, a respirator or dust mask is also necessary to prevent the inhalation of concrete, mortar and other dust particles, which could result in serious respiratory health problems.

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