Making the switch to Japanese chisels can be quite a learning curve, so we asked Mr Fujikawa to make us some affordable chisels that would be easy to learn on but still suitable for lifelong use.
The laminated carbon steel and iron blades are die forged from material that has been pre-laminated at the steelworks (as opposed to forming each chisel individually on the anvil). They are heat treated to RC60, about the same as a good quality western chisel, so they are easier to sharpen and less likely to chip if you take too thick of a slice. They will take just as good an edge as the professional chisels but it won’t last as long.
The handles are 2nd grade Japanese red oak, just as strong as the premium stuff but not as pretty – some will have mineral streaks etc.
All Japanese chisels are made using a socket tang construction, the bolster narrows into a tang that goes up a hole in the middle of the handle. A separate steel ferrule butts up against the bolster and constrains the wood onto the tang, forming a joint that becomes tighter with use. You might see a fine line running around the neck of the tool, this isn’t a crack, it is the join between the ferrule and the bolster.
The knack to sharpening Japanese chisels is applying more pressure than you might think directly over the bevel. Whether honing the bevel or the back, applying significant pressure as far forwards as possible is the key. Japanese chisels are honed with a full flat bevel, the smith will set the appropriate bevel angle for the steel, heat treatment and intended use, just follow what’s there and you will get the best out of the steel.
We are often asked about whether the hollow in the back will eventually meet the cutting edge as the chisel is used and sharpened. With each sharpening a small amount of material is removed from the back, causing the hollow to recede ahead of the cutting edge so there will always be a flat area immediately behind the edge.
- This set includes 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36 and 42mm chisels
- Supplied with a 10 pocket canvas tool roll
- Material: Kasumi; welded Hagane white carbon steel and Jigane soft iron
- Hardness: RC60
- Overall Length:
- Handle Material: Japanese Red Oak