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Care of Japenese Chisels

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Ian Dalziel

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I am a fan of Japanese handsaws and decided to try out the oire nomi Japanese chisels, I ordered a set from Tilgear which promptly arrived. On inspecting them the hollow on the backs seem to be almost at the tips about 3- 4mm away which doesn’t seem to allow for much sharpening.
I have only ever used English pattern chisels and do all my sharpening at the tormek. My chisel lengths have worn down considerably.
Would I be better going down the road of the scary sharp method of sharpening to preserve the tip lengths. I must admit to liking the speed and handiness of the tormek
I was just wondering how other woodworkers sharpen their Japanese chisels, and at what angle and if the tormek is suitable, your help is appreciated
Ian Dalziel
 

Alf

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Up the proverbial creek
Ian,

I just got a set of them too; the thread will be around here somewhere. I found that the area of the back increased considerably (pretty nearly double in fact) as soon as I flattened the back. I think because the hollow's pretty shallow. As for the Tormek, I'm not sure. I have a feeling a hollow grind is a Bad Thing, becasue you leave the brittle steel unsupported by the softer back. But pretty nearly everyone else knows more about this than me, so I'll leave giving the useful advice to them! :roll:

Cheers, Alf
 

Philly

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Hi Ian,
I use the Japanese chisels a wee bit. The steel of the back is really hard, as I'm sure you know. When the flat at the tip wears to an unacceptable length I believe (reading david Charlesworths books) you re-flatten the back, applying pressure more toward the front. This then restores the flat.
I have used mine for about a year or so, and haven't had to sharpen them nearly as much as my regular chisels. A quick hone is all I need (except when the dreaded chipping occurs :shock: DO NOT LEVER OUT CHIPS! repeat this mantra and save yourself mucho hair pulling!)
As to the the Tormek, I use scary-sharp/waterstone combo for my sharpening so can't help there-sorry!
Cheers,
Philly :D
p.s.-don't be afraid to hit these chisels with a hammer-they are designed for it. They will chip if you lever them but you can hit the living daylights out them trouble free!
 

Ian Dalziel

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Thanks Alf, Philly

I think i try the scary sharp on them, i feel they need sharpened before i start to use them, the hollow is quite shallow but will still take a bit of time to lap out if and when i need too, thanks for your replies
 

Steve Maskery

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Ian
I have a set of J chisels which I LOVE, although I confess I can't seem to get them as sharp as they were when they were new.

As I understand it, the hollow in the back is deliberate, it reduces the amount of steel in contact with the job reducing drag AND there is less steel to remove when making the back flat. They are not meant to be flat all over, but flat where they touch the wood. You will find that the hollow area recedes quickly when you lap the back - you don't need to do it very much.

Don't try to flatten the whole of the back, it will wear them out quicker, they will be harder to sharpen and won't work as well - and they are too expensive to mess up!
Cheers
Steve
 
A

Anonymous

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The tormek is perfectly ok for sharpening Japanese chisels - certainly for the primary bevel. If you use scary, or a waterstone for honing, and only go to the tormek when the secondary bevel is too large, then you should last a long time before you have to move the hollows back.
 
A

Anonymous

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Ian

Mine are as you describe and after a year of ownership I have only had to sharpen them a couple of times.
Don't worry about the smalll flat area at fornt, as other shacve alreaady stated, this is not a problem when the back has been flattened.

Enjoy

Cheers

Tony
 

Ian Dalziel

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Thanks to all for your help,

I have tried both methods now (Tormek and scary sharp) both give good enough results for my needs, they are very brittle though just at the tips but hopefully they will stay sharp that good bit longer than my other chisels, i will do a review if anyones interested over the next few months,
regards

Ian
 

Dewy

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Japanes chisels are all hand made by laminating different steels together. This makes the cutting edge much harder than European chisels so should stay sharp longer. As already said. DONT lever the chips out. They are used for cutting only so when a joint is finished the waste will fall out by itself.
 
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