Author Topic: Japanese chisel set questions  (Read 983 times)

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Offline Renecastro

  • Posts: 13
Japanese chisel set questions
« on: August 08, 2020, 11:50 PM »
Hello fellow members I have a few questions about a nice Japanese chisel set that I recently bought from a friend. It’s a 9 pc and that’s all I know about them they have a particular decal on them to identify them but it’s in Japanese so anyone who can point me in the right direction would be great. My questions are who made them And what kind of wood are the handles and the value I paid 285 US dollars and I feel like I got a deal because I’ve seen similar sets with similar handles on eBay and they are well over 1000$ dollars and some way higher. They are not beat up at all I resharped most of them since a tormek was used previously there is a slight dip on the tip of most chisels.

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Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 950
Re: Japanese chisel set questions
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2020, 07:26 PM »
I can't see the label detail.  Can you post a picture that shows it clearly?  Also, was there any printing on the box?  Any Japanese characters?

Offline derekcohen

  • Posts: 505
    • In The Woodshop
Re: Japanese chisel set questions
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2020, 07:42 PM »
Rene, sharpen the chisels and enjoy using them. Do not obsess over their value since you will not discover this. Unless this is a common make - and they do not appear to be - you will struggle to place them. Japanese chisels come in sets from $300, to over this for a single chisel.

Regards from Perth

Derek
Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on joinery, hand tools, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.

Offline Renecastro

  • Posts: 13
Re: Japanese chisel set questions
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2020, 08:08 PM »
Thanks for the advice. I’m mainly interested in who made them the history behind this set. 

Offline Renecastro

  • Posts: 13
Re: Japanese chisel set questions
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2020, 08:09 PM »
I’m having trouble uploading more than one pic at a time.

Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 950
Re: Japanese chisel set questions
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2020, 10:58 PM »
You aren't going to find who made these chisels very easily.  However, I think you got a great deal at $285 - that said as long as the edge steel reflects reasonable hardness of >62 (that would surprise me very much) and the steel doesn't de-laminate on you.


As far as the picture you posted, indicators of a higher quality Japanese chisel (but not necessarily the best quality) are the handles (whatever the Japanese call ebony - Macassar ebony?) and the multiple hollows which appear to be ground with precision.  The multiple hollows are not necessarily a better design, but they do take more machining and so normally aren't found on the least expensive chisels.  Indicators that these are not the very highest quality are the lack of a makers stamp on the back of the blade and the fact the the soft steel is not layered or otherwise decorative.  However, these are just heuristics.  Not all of the best chisels have decorative steel, for example.  Without knowing who made them or submitting them to a battery of tests, only time and use will tell you how good they really are.


If I were you, I wouldn't use a Tormek on them again.  @derekcohen has some good pointers for sharpening Japanese chisels, and they should be sharpened to the original angle - usually 30-35 degrees, because the harder edge steel is also a bit more brittle.  Aside from that, I agree with Derek - sharpen them up and enjoy using what looks like a quality set of chisels.


If you are in the US, you might try emailing Hida Tools or Suzuki Tools (no relation to the cars) to see if they can help you out.  I've bought a few things from both companies and they have both been great.  Suzuki Tools in particular seems like a very friendly family business.

Offline Renecastro

  • Posts: 13
Re: Japanese chisel set questions
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2020, 12:06 AM »
I’m new to the FOG but so far very impressed with the members. Thanks allot for the tips and as far as using a tormek that was the previous owner I know better than to use a machine that can easily over heat and soften the metal. I paid 285$ dollars and I think I scored I’ll contact those two contacts you gave me and we’ll see how it goes I’ll keep you posted.