Japanese steel wood chisels, how to turn wood on a metal lathe - With Secrets

Categories: Wooden Work Bench | Author: admin 16.11.2013

Have a look into the workshop of master smith Teijiro Ohkubo and see the different steps in the process of hand-forging a chisel.
Oire Nomi Japanese Chisels-These chisels are all of laminated steel construction for an edge that can hold an incredible sharpness (Hard Steel) and yet is backed up with a softer steel, giving tremendous strength. In Japanese practice a thin high carbon steel cutting edge is forge welded onto a soft steel body. I don't actually collect decorative chisels so the pieces I have in my collection date from the early days of this company when we imported samples of Japanese tools.
From the left (in the top picture and the first detail shot) three suminagashi style chisels, starting from the left, by Tasai.

In the second detail picture (and on the right of the main picture) we have a plain chisel in the middle surrounded by two chisels made from kamaji iron.
While I plan an additional blog entry on decorative handles and hoops in the near future here are a few more pictures, showing some of the decorative details of the suminagashi chisels and a closeup of the twisted neck chisel by Nishiki. The chisel on the right is by Nishiki and has a twisted shank - an old style which Nishiki reintroduced. In Japan where the manufacture of edge tools is still concentrated in the hands of masters who sign their work, most chisel makers have one or two decorative versions of their tools where the steel itself is the focus of the decorations. As all the tools by a specific maker have the same cutting edge layer there is no functional reason to use a decorative chisel.

Tasai is considered the modern master of this technique and you can see how elegant and reserved his chisels can be.
The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the blog's author and guests and in no way reflect the views of Tools for Working Wood. I don't know much about the maker in the middle, the over the top character of the layers suggests that some of the decoration might have been formed not by folding but by welding already punched steel into layer.

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