1/2" Fishtail Chisel Lie-Nielsen Toolworks

1/2" Fishtail Chisel



Fishtail Chisels

Fishtail Chisels are perfect for reaching the back corners of half-blind dovetails and paring other hard-to-reach areas. Their unique shape offers versatility for right and left hand recesses.

Our Fishtail Chisels are made from A2 Tool Steel, hardened to Rockwell 60-62, cryogenically treated and double tempered. Beveled at 25º, hornbeam handles.

Click here to view our YouTube video demonstrating Fishtail Chisels.

Click here to view our YouTube video "Quick Tips: Sharpening Fishtail and Corner Chisels".

*Please note that our Hornbeam chisel handles
have natural color variations in the wood grain.

Use & Care Instructions

Lie-Nielsen Fishtail Chisels are great for cleaning waste out of hard-to-reach places like half blind dovetail sockets. Made from A-2 Tool Steel.


The backs are ground flat and finished by hand at 400 grit. The bevel is flat ground at 25°, but a higher secondary bevel (about 30°) is advisable, depending on the wood and how the chisel is being used. Additional honing is recommended before use.


Lie-Nielsen Chisels have Maine-harvested Hornbeam handles. Hornbeam, also known as Ironwood, was once prized for its toughness, but usually winds up as firewood these days. This under-utilized species makes superb chisel handles. A longer handle is available for paring — overall length is 13".

Re-Seating Handles:

When your Chisel arrives, the handle may be loose because of wood shrinkage. It may also loosen during dry weather. The handles are held in place by the wedging of the wood into the tapered socket. Just rap the chisel handle upside down to re-seat the handle. Although I’ve had chisel sets in my shop for years without the handles coming loose, some people have the opposite experience. One solution to a loose handle is to apply hair spray to the tapered section and re-seat as described. Strange as it may sound, it’s effective - and unlike glue, it’s reversible.

Removing Handles:

One of the advantages of the socket design is that if you want to change handles, you can simply tap the side of the handle on a board and pop the handle off.


Tool Steel can rust. To protect your chisels,you should oil, wax and/or wrap the tools after use. At the least, wipe your fingerprints off with an oily rag. We recommend Jojoba Oil, a vegetable oil based product. That is non-toxic, odor-free and easy to use. Also, in our shop, we use a fine abrasive handblock to remove any light surface oxide from tool bodies and blades. The oil and the abrasive handblock are available from us.


Materials and workmanship are guaranteed for the life of your tool. Call for repairs or replacement parts. We are available for advice if you ever have a problem using your tool.


Sharp chisels are dangerous and should be handled with care. Dull chisels are even more dangerous and should be sharpened.