Japanese Chisels

24 June 2018

I bought some Japanese chisels.

A forty-two mm Japanese Chisel

I bought some Iyoroi chisels with gumi handles from Tools for Working Wood in Brooklyn, NY. These chisels come without the hoops being set for some reason. That means you have to carefully remove the hoop from the handle and hammer the wood on the sides of the handle so that the hoop goes back on smoothly, leaving about 2.5 mm of the handle exposed past the hoop. Then you put the end of the handle in hot water for a little while and hammer the end of the handle so it mushrooms over the hoop. You can actually buy hoop setting cones to aid in the process but I just used some socket wrenches I had laying around.

These chisels are made of a lamination of a softer steel back and a hard steel on the front (facing you in the picture above). The harder steel in this case is called Blue Paper Steel from Hitachi Yasugi Steel Works and is well-suited for beginning woodworkers because it has superior edge retention over the White Paper Steel which takes a sharper edge but loses it faster. This means I spend less time sharpening which, for a hobbyist with few tools to process at each sharpening, is valuable time.