on band aids!
I teach a couple of classes at Woodcraft, and in the ones we use chisels, I’m extremely conscious of the fact that we are wielding a piece of razor sharp steel on the end of nice long lever that can do some real damage. My tip, is to hold the chisel by the tip, when you are doing handwork.
Holding the chisel back at the handle and trying to push it through the wood, is an invitation to put your other hand on the far side of the piece. As Rob Cosman has pointed out – that means everything up to the hilt is likely to go through the body part you put in front of the chisel. Instead, use your power hand to act as the hilt (limited the depth) and keep your fingers out of the way using a grip like this:
Notice two things in this grip – my forefinger is placed below the blade tip, and acts as a fulcrum – and my thumb is choked up on the blade almost to the tip. (Update: Doug Needham points out that the same approach can be used with the off hand if you use one hand on the handle for a more powerful cut – either way, you keep your soft parts behind the cutting edge). The idea is to keep the amount of cutting steel visible, to at or below what I need. Rob’s tip on this is that doing it this way is a stitch – doing it the other way is flowers (or taps!).