Japanese chisels are made by hammer-welding a blade onto a wrought iron core.
Because tool making in Japan is mainly a flexible, family-based industry, a huge variety
of sizes, shapes and styles are available. We are fortunate to be able to offer the tools made
by the Iyoroi family of Miki, Japan. While we have selected a wide range of styles by Master
Iyoroi, we have concentrated especially on chisel sets - strikingly beautiful, but designed for use.
All Japanese chisels are typically hardened a couple of points harder than Western chisels.
Our traditional Iyoroi chisels are harded to RC 64, as opposed to RC 62 for our Western tools. We
do carry one set of special alloy tools that are hardedned to RC 68. This is great for keeping an
edge hard enough to resist abrasive woods and retain a very sharp edge, but doesn't say
much about the toughness of the steel. Most of our chisels are made from "White Steel," which
is a superb tool steel for edge tools. We also carry some tools in "Blue Steel," which is tougher
to forge and requires tremendous skill, but also improves the toughness of the edge.
Another important differnce is that Japanese chisels have hollow ground backs. This makes it
easier to create and keep a flat back on the chisel. A characterisic of more expensive tools
is their tendency to have multiple hollows in the wider sizes. This increases stability. In theory,
if you grind the tool's edge, you may have a sitiuation in which the back must be hammered out
to fill in the hollow at the edge. But with normal usage, as long as you hone the backs when you
hone the bevel, you should be fine and never have to tap out the hollow.
for a guide to the application of different types of chisels.
for a comparison chart of our chisels.
for instructions on how to set the hoops on Japanese chisels.