There comes a time when you realize that using your regular chisels on large timbers is a fruitless endeavor. While a 1″ blade might cut a notch in 4×8 timber in a few hours, you might as well try to cut down a redwood with a dovetail saw — although you probably wouldn’t get very far before the park rangers detained you anyway.
Slicks, on the other hand, are made for the task of framing with large wood. One of the largest types of chisel, the slick’s wide blade with the long flat back makes quicker work of large notches. Not meant to be struck, the slick’s long handle gives you the leverage to shear curls of wood with just the motion of your body and arms.
These aren’t tools you’re likely to find at the big box, or even the local hardware store, but two more mainstream suppliers carry them: Lee Valley and WoodCraft. Lee Valley sells a slick with a 3-3/8″ wide blade and a 14″ white ash handle that makes for a 30″ long tool. WoodCraft’s slick has a 2-5/8″ wide blade that’s hand forged.
Lee Valley’s log builder’s slick comes with a magnetic tip guard and will slice $120 from your tool budget, while Woodcraft’s timber framers slick will shave $170 from your wallet.