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Japanese chisel newbie question

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Alf

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Yep, strictly a newbie on this one, but I've been wanting to try one for a long while and I know there are users out there. Trouble is, where's a good place to start? I was thinking a 12mm Orie Nomi, but like a fool I went to look at the Craftsman's Choice site and my head imploded... :shock: How do I tell the Japanese equivalents of a Marples Blue Chip from a Kirschen, or a hand forged Barr? Prices from a tenner to £100+ don't help. :roll: No one seems to go into the differences in quality much, but surely not all Japanese chisels are created equal? I just don't want to end up with an example from AmTech-san :lol: Any advice appreciated, or else I'll have to shut my eyes and use a pin... :wink:

Cheers, Alf
 
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Anonymous

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Don't know much but I think that the more expensive ones tend to be hand made and the top priced ones have engravings on the back- decorative rather than functional
I got a decent set of Orie Nomi from Dieter Schmid which came fully polished and honed - use straight from the box

http://www.fine-tools.com/stemjap.htm

They are fantastic and did not break the bank.

I needed to get some English style chisels too (see previous posts relating to Two Cherries) as the backs are not very long and thus one cannot really pare with them.

I have the Japanese chisels for many hours on Oak without the need to resharpen despite copious use of a hammer :)

Tony
 

Chris Knight

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Alf,

No very firm advice here I am afraid, just a couple of observations from my own limited experience with said chisels

1. You can pay an awful lot for fancy looks that have nothing to do with chisel quality (ebony handles, willow patterns on the blades and whatnot).

2. All the ones I have tried have beautifully sharp edges but because the steel is hard and brittle, they can get chipped all too easily on hardwoods, knots etc. Then you are into sharpening and because of the shape of the blade this is a trickier job than a western chisel if you use a honing guide

I am intrigued by a chisel sold by the "Museum of Woodworking Tools" that promises to overcome the brittleness problem
http://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/Merc ... e=toolshop Use their search facility to look for this product code

MS-JACHYXR7.XX
 

Alf

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Oh 'eck, more choices! :roll: (thanks tho') The Museum of Woodworking ones look awfully similar to this set from Axminster. Even down to the similarity between stock codes. I dunno though, isn't it blades made of alloys that make modern Western chisels so disappointing? Heck of a lot of money to spend to find you don't like 'em :? What bevel angle did you use, Chris? I'm reading a lot that says as much as 30-33 degrees.

Yeah, I was pretty sure the really pricey ones were getting into looks over function; sandalwood handles and damascus steel (nice, but not that nice). Reading various posts on The Wreck and such, it seems you might get a ground hollow back, rather than forged, on the cheaper ones. Also sometimes less support to the cutting edge in some cases. Trouble is, which cases? And then there's the sharpening issue. Do they have to be sharpened on waterstones? Urgh... This is why I've never got round to trying one yet. :roll:

Ah well, keep it coming folks. I have plenty more confusion capacity yet :wink:

Cheers, Alf
 

Philly

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Alf,
Try a cheap-sorry, reasonably priced set from Tilgear. Don't bother to go for the ebony handles, nice as they might look-heard they are a bit brittle.
I have a set of 1/2, 3/4, 1 and 2inch. They are very handy for special occasions as you can get an amazingly sharp edge on them. Downside (isn't there always!) is that they are slightly brittle and will not tolerate being used to lever out waste, etc. You can beat the hell out them with a hammer, not a problem, its only when you twist the edge.
Give them a try-they won't replace your "old favourites" but they are a very useful addition to your tool box.
As regards sharpening-you don't have to use waterstones(I use wet and dry sometimes). But there again, you really are missing out if you haven't tried them.
regards,
Philly :p
 
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Alf":10gwd3ok said:
Oh 'eck, more choices! :roll: (thanks tho') The Museum of Woodworking ones look awfully similar to this set from Axminster. Even down to the similarity between stock codes. I dunno though,
Cheers, Alf
These are the exact same ones I have!!!! I like 'em loads

Feel free to come over to chez Tony and try them out in my humble workshop


Tony
 

Alf

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Philly":10bg90ga said:
Alf,
So are you going for it?
Whats the outcome on the Japanese chisel front?
Philly :?
Further confusion, what else? :wink: Also there's been an itsy-witsy teeny-weeny yellow polka-dotted spanner thrown in the works. I was working on the principle I'd get (at best) X amount of money for my birthday. Enough for one or two bits and pieces you see. Well blow me down if the generosity fairy hasn't been to stay and suddenly I have a tool budget that says "don't fritter me away on trifles". Obviously this is a Good Thing, but also a Bad Thing. Really I should be buying the raw materials to make myself a level workshop floor, so the chisel may -once again- get pushed down the "want to try list". But then again... Oooo, the agony of choice eh? :roll:

Cheers, Alf
 

Aragorn

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But Alf, what's the point of having a level workshop floor, if you've got no japanese chisels to work with on it...........

....... OK - that's probably stretching it a bit.


Still, you can justify anything with a bit of practice!

A
 
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The Oire Nomi stocked by Axminster are considered decent budget chisels - even DC mentions them in volume 1. Can't remember off the top of my head who makes them, but they're not the top end hand made jobs (well, I can remember, but can't remember how to spell it!). When/if you get them, remember to seat the hoop properly on the handle, else it'll make an 'orrible 'dink' noise when you hit it with a hammer :). While you've got the hoop off, take the time to strip off the nasty finish on the handle too, and replace it with a decent finishing oil.

NEVER get ebony handles on Oire Nomi - the ebony should be reserved for paring chisels, not striking chisels (which is what the Oire stands for).

DC is currently, on his web-site, pointing to classic hand tools (http://www.classichandtools.com for his favourite professional quality Japanese Oire Nomi - the best sellers on that site are around 40-50 quid/chisel (set of 10 for 455 quid, I think)

If you're using a Japanese chisel on really tough hard woods, it's advisable to grind and hone the angle about 5 degree higher than you would on a 'normal' European chisel, due to the increased brittleness of the steel. Decent Japanese chisels are at about Rockford C 64-65, whereas Sorby has quoted their chisels at being around the 56-57 mark.

Honing can be done on anything - tormek, waterstone, arkansas stone, scary sharp, whatever.
 
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Forgot to mention - I have one of those chisels as stocked by Axminster (didn't get it from them, but same maker) - Iroyoi or something like is the maker.

I have a small (3mm) one. It came with the business end ground at a skew, which would have been disappointing if I hadn't wanted it for cleaning up the corners of tight dovetails, where the skew is useful! The bigger chisels shouldn't have this problem - I suspect the problem was caused by the narrowness; certainly honing it is awkward.
 

Alf

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Aragorn":wd1jgtxo said:
Still, you can justify anything with a bit of practice!
Preachin' to the choir, man, preachin' to the choir... :lol:

Esp, good info, ta muchly. I did have a look at Classic Hand Tools, and came away with a definite feeling those chisels would be wasted on me as a taster. :( Now the Axminster's though... Those would by the Iyoroi ones? (okay, so I had to look it up!). Hmm, better get out DC again and have another read.

Cheers, Alf
 
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Yes Alf, the Iyoroi ones are what APTC stock (at least, looking from the pictures they are).
 

Alf

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In case anyone was interested, or can even remember this far back :oops: , I received a set of four chisels from Tilgear this afternoon. They were in the sale (or "sail" if you're from Cuffley :roll: ) so I took that as a sign - possibly a sign that even if they were pants it wouldn't be too great a disaster... :wink: Had fun cleaning off the gloopy lacquer from the handles and reseating the hoops, but now all sharpened and ready to go. So far, so good. Might take a bit of getting used to though. :shock:

Cheers, Alf
 

Chris Knight

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Alf,

Are you sure the gloop wasn't from all the cleaning up of your WH Smith box of goodies?

Technical correction: You were not reseating the hoops, you were seating them as they have never been seated until now..

We all complain about Chinese tools that need a lot of work before they are usable whereas with Japanese tools it is merely part of the mystique - I guess that's marketing!
 

Alf

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waterhead37":oym8hmwf said:
Technical correction: You were not reseating the hoops, you were seating them as they have never been seated until now..
Pedant :p As it happens at least one was reseated... :oops: In fact they all came with the hoops on pretty tight; it was a job to shift 'em.

waterhead37":oym8hmwf said:
We all complain about Chinese tools that need a lot of work before they are usable whereas with Japanese tools it is merely part of the mystique - I guess that's marketing!
You said it. I was thinking "what the heck am I doing buying a new tool that needs all this work?" even as I laboured. I suppose I should really have wrapped myself in a yak skin and sat at the top of Brown Willy* for a week first, just to be in the right frame of mind. :wink:

Cheers, Alf

*Okay, who's that sniggering at the back? It's a hill all right? 'Tis the highest round these, er, parts... (hmm, not the best choice of word maybe :? )
 
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Alf - how did you reduce the girth of the handle to reseat the hoop? It's a part of Japanese chisels that's always given me grief, and I'm sure there must be better methods than what I use (engineers vice, tighten up to compress the wood, loosen, rotate chisel, repeat).

By the by, depending on what you plan with the chisels, the kinari chisels don't generally come with hoops - they're paring chisels, not designed to be hit with 'ammers. The Oire Nomi are really, in western hands, designed for clearing out the final waste from dovetails (after removing most waste with coping/piercing saw), where walloping with big 'eavy lump of metal is a must! So, if you're looking for decent paring, then the kinari are generally better suited - longer blades, for a start. Although the Oires do a good paring job too, if what I've been doing today was anything to judge!

You following DC's advice on sharpening? Filing the island on the haft of the blade? Probably too early to mention this, but I know Dingbat has an issue with DC's method of moving the San Mei back - DC says grind it back, Dingbat says beat it back. Hopefully you won't reach that need for years to come!
 

Alf

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Esp,

I 'it it wiv an 'ammer :roll: I looked at DC's method, looked at the toolmaker's clamp in my pile of rust-to-be-removed tools, decided to avoid getting side-tracked (for once) and went for it. Probably using the vice would have been better... :? Although by the fourth one I was getting pretty good.

I'm okay for western paring chisels, so these Nipponese ones will have to really shine to get me thinking of buying some more! The edges on these ones are more like what I call bevelled firmers, so I'm not sure how much use they're going to be in tight spots such as between dovetails. We'll have to see. As for paring, they seem to take wafer thin shavings off end grain okay, so they'll have their uses. :wink:

I can't see the back hollow being much of an issue on these. It's very shallow, and even my initial back flattening enlarged the flat are of the back considerably. Still, it's all very much a learning process for this newbie, so time will tell. :D

Cheers, Alf
 
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