Author Topic: Japanese chisel. Not what I expected.  (Read 3198 times)

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Offline Lemwise

  • Posts: 260
Japanese chisel. Not what I expected.
« on: August 27, 2017, 03:10 PM »
I've always wanted to try a Japanese chisel but I honestly never saw the need to buy one. Last week I ordered some things from fine-tools in Germany and they sell several brands of Japanese chisels so I thought why not order one. The one I ordered is a 24mm White Paper steel chisel made by a fella called Matsumura. It has a red Oak handle and is hardened to 64RC. I don't know anyone who has a Japanese chisel so I didn't know what to expect but I wasn't expecting this. It's lighter, better balanced and more refined than I thought it would be. I've used it this afternoon while working on a present for my mother and the edge holds far longer in Cherry than my Stanley Sweetheart chisels. However, despite the hardness of the hagane layer it didn't chip at all. The edge also seems to get sharper compared to my Stanley Sweethearts. I seriously like this chisel.


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Offline RobBob

  • Posts: 1183
Re: Japanese chisel. Not what I expected.
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2017, 08:40 PM »
I recently had a similar experience.  Bought a couple of Japanese kitchen knives and was surprised at how much lighter and sharper they are than my old Henkels knives.  Its like using a scalpel.  Time will tell how long the edge lasts.

Offline PreferrablyWood

  • Posts: 868
Re: Japanese chisel. Not what I expected.
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2017, 05:56 AM »
I'm seriously pleased with my two koyamaichi bench chisel 18mm  and 36mm 36mm paring chisel. Just bought a matsumura mortising chisel,  I'll be slowly filling out the collection.. I like to fill out the collection with a 9mm and 12mm 24mm I'll stick to the koyamaichi bench chisels with boxwood handles..

The Japanese saws are also nice to use, no need for fancy dust collection with these hand tools.
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Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 604
Re: Japanese chisel. Not what I expected.
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2017, 09:45 AM »
I've always wanted to try a Japanese chisel but I honestly never saw the need to buy one. Last week I ordered some things from fine-tools in Germany and they sell several brands of Japanese chisels so I thought why not order one. The one I ordered is a 24mm White Paper steel chisel made by a fella called Matsumura. It has a red Oak handle and is hardened to 64RC. I don't know anyone who has a Japanese chisel so I didn't know what to expect but I wasn't expecting this. It's lighter, better balanced and more refined than I thought it would be. I've used it this afternoon while working on a present for my mother and the edge holds far longer in Cherry than my Stanley Sweetheart chisels. However, despite the hardness of the hagane layer it didn't chip at all. The edge also seems to get sharper compared to my Stanley Sweethearts. I seriously like this chisel.

Glad you like them.  Japanese chisels do an awesome job of cutting, and they are not hard to set up from the maker - a little honing of the back and edge, set the hoop, and you're ready to go.  They are quite a bit fussier once you've sharpened them back past the point where the hollow in the back starts.  That's when you have to start doing things like hammering out the edge and re-flattening the back.  That part intimidates me.  But if you take care of the edge, you won't get to that point for quite a while because the edge wears so well.

Another thing that I like about Japanese chisels is that they are not slaves to fashion.  Makers focus on the quality and utility of the steel, while the handles are very utilitarian.  The hooped chisels are made for a hammer, while the paring chisels are made for hand use.

That said, I gave my Japanese chisels to my son, who prefers them and gives them far better use than I would, and I use Lee Valley PMV-11.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 3716
Re: Japanese chisel. Not what I expected.
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2017, 10:30 AM »
I recently had a similar experience.  Bought a couple of Japanese kitchen knives and was surprised at how much lighter and sharper they are than my old Henkels knives.  Its like using a scalpel.  Time will tell how long the edge lasts.

I experienced the same thing after purchasing a Shun Premier paring knife. Huge difference, the blade is thinner and it's sharpened at a more acute angle. It also stays sharper longer and responds to steeling better than the Wusthof's that I have.

I've replaced the Wusthof's that I can, with the Shuns, (very limited selection compared to Trident).

Offline Lemwise

  • Posts: 260
Re: Japanese chisel. Not what I expected.
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2017, 11:35 AM »
They are quite a bit fussier once you've sharpened them back past the point where the hollow in the back starts.  That's when you have to start doing things like hammering out the edge and re-flattening the back.  That part intimidates me.  But if you take care of the edge, you won't get to that point for quite a while because the edge wears so well.

It seems to me that if you work the back every time you sharpen them there should be no problem with not getting into the hollow.

I also tested it out at work today so see how it fairs in Teak and Oak and I'm truly impressed. Compared to my Sweethearts I'd say the edge lasts at least 5 times longer. Less time sharpening means more time working and that means I make more money so I ordered the set containing the 6, 9, 12, 18, 24 and 30mm chisels.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2017, 12:09 PM by Lemwise »

Offline derekcohen

  • Posts: 145
    • In The Woodshop
Re: Japanese chisel. Not what I expected.
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2017, 10:06 AM »
I have compared chisels with White Steel (Koyamaichi), PM-V11, A2 (Blue Spruce), and O1 (vintage Stanley 750). That was the order in which they finished, but the first two left the last two for dust.

The article is here: http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ToolReviews/FourChiselSteelsCompared.html

Regards from Perth

Derek

Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 604
Re: Japanese chisel. Not what I expected.
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2017, 01:29 PM »
I have compared chisels with White Steel (Koyamaichi), PM-V11, A2 (Blue Spruce), and O1 (vintage Stanley 750). That was the order in which they finished, but the first two left the last two for dust.
...
@derekcohen, Lie Nielsen chisels are A2, but are cryogenically hardened.  The Blue Spruce are heat treated and hardened.  Any sense of how big a difference there is between the two processes?

Offline Lemwise

  • Posts: 260
Re: Japanese chisel. Not what I expected.
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2017, 02:41 PM »
I have compared chisels with White Steel (Koyamaichi), PM-V11, A2 (Blue Spruce), and O1 (vintage Stanley 750). That was the order in which they finished, but the first two left the last two for dust.

I always thought a high alloy steel would be better than a simple, pure steel. I guess I thought the alloying elements would make the steel tougher and more resistant. I couldn't have been more wrong. I love this White Steel. It's so easy to sharpen (especially on my Atoma plates) and it stays sharp for such a long time.

Offline jacko9

  • Posts: 2346
Re: Japanese chisel. Not what I expected.
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2017, 04:48 PM »
I purchased my first set of Japanese bench chisels about 38 years ago from Fred at Japan Woodworker.  This first set was made from White Steel and they do take a very sharp edge.  The White (Paper) steel does sharpen easily even at RcH 64 and retains that edge a long time.  I have since had to replace some of that set (the original blacksmith passed on) and I've added some Blue (Paper) steel to my original set.  Blue steel is just the high carbon white steel with additional elements added for toughness.  In recent years I have replaced my German knives with Japanese knives in White and Blue steel and get the same edge retention as I do on my bench chisels.  I did purchase some of the Veritas PM11 Steel mortise chisels and have been very impressed.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 3716
Re: Japanese chisel. Not what I expected.
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2017, 03:15 AM »
Any sense of how big a difference there is between the two processes?


Cryogenically treating materials was originally simply looked upon as a potential method for stress relieving. It all theoretically makes sense that if you can bring the temperature of an object down to a very very low temperature, the atoms in the material are literally frozen in position having zero energy and are no longer able to move. No movement = no stress. This would be the absolute definition of stress relieving.  [cool]

However after the initial results of cryogenically treating metal were quantified, it was revealed that for most metallic compounds, toughness was also enhanced. This was then a bonus round for the cryogenic process and helped to promote and expand its use in other materials from women's nylon stockings to aluminum baseball bats.

Some years ago, I was tasked with finding a methodology to prevent items machined from Teflon, deviating from their as-machined dimensions/state, because as a polymer, it never stops moving. I stumbled upon and chose to go down the road of cryogenic treating of polymer materials.

The cryogenic process encompasses placing an item in a chamber and slowly bringing down the temperature of the item to at least -300 degrees. Absolute zero (-460 degrees) is the preferred number, however achieving that number is very difficult/expensive to achieve.

So the treated item/items are slowly subjected to a reduction in temperature, it usually takes at least 8-12 hours, then the items are held at that temperature for 24 hours and then slowly allowed to normalize.

Bottom line is it works...the stabilization of polymer product machined dimensions was significant.

« Last Edit: November 03, 2017, 10:38 AM by Cheese »

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 3021
Re: Japanese chisel. Not what I expected.
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2017, 11:16 AM »
Cheese said, "...the stabilization of polymer product machined dimensions was significant."

Chilled before or after machining? Does it make a difference?

Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 604
Re: Japanese chisel. Not what I expected.
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2017, 12:09 PM »
Any sense of how big a difference there is between the two processes?


Cryogenically treating materials was ...
...
Bottom line is it works...

Nice information - the best concise description of cryogenic treatment that I've read.  Thanks!

If anyone can add an anecdotal comparison of Lie Nielsen chisels vs other quality A1 heat-treated chisels, I'd still appreciate that as well.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 3716
Re: Japanese chisel. Not what I expected.
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2017, 12:44 PM »
Chilled before or after machining? Does it make a difference?

Chilled after machining...the study was originally initiated to reduce the amount of movement in injection molded Teflon PFA parts that were subjected to heat/cool cycling. I had some items machined from PFA and threw them in with the molded items just to gain some additional insight into the cryogenic treatment process.

The final leg of the study, which was never started, was to take molded slabs of PFA and subject them to cryogenic treatment. Then machine them and note if there was a decrease in the amount of dimensional movement. PFA is extremely sensitive to thicknessing operations. If you need to reduce the thickness of a sheet of PFA by .120", you'd mill .025" from a side, flip the item, remove .025", flip mill .025", flip mill .025", flip mill .010", flip mill .010" then unclamp the material and pray.

It's probably just me, but to this day, it is the same technique I use when thicknessing wood. A small but equal amount of material being removed from both sides of the board. It just seems to stay flatter, longer.

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 3021
Re: Japanese chisel. Not what I expected.
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2017, 12:56 PM »
Chilled before or after machining? Does it make a difference?

Chilled after machining...the study was originally initiated to reduce the amount of movement in injection molded Teflon PFA parts that were subjected to heat/cool cycling. I had some items machined from PFA and threw them in with the molded items just to gain some additional insight into the cryogenic treatment process.

The final leg of the study, which was never started, was to take molded slabs of PFA and subject them to cryogenic treatment. Then machine them and note if there was a decrease in the amount of dimensional movement. PFA is extremely sensitive to thicknessing operations. If you need to reduce the thickness of a sheet of PFA by .120", you'd mill .025" from a side, flip the item, remove .025", flip mill .025", flip mill .025", flip mill .010", flip mill .010" then unclamp the material and pray.

It's probably just me, but to this day, it is the same technique I use when thicknessing wood. A small but equal amount of material being removed from both sides of the board. It just seems to stay flatter, longer.

It true, that's the nature of materials that are hygroscopic.

Offline #Tee

  • Posts: 786
Re: Japanese chisel. Not what I expected.
« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2017, 04:31 PM »
lets talk more about kitchen knives lol, i got a chroma set recently and love them!
When youre feeling depressed just treat yourself to a systainer even if its a mini systainer its ok.

IG: tee212

Offline Steven Owen

  • Posts: 264
Re: Japanese chisel. Not what I expected.
« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2017, 08:41 PM »
Marc Spagnuolo (Wood Whisper) been signing the praises of Japanese wood chisels for many years.  After taking a couple for a spin you can see why.  They take a lot of pride in the quality of their designs vs much of the mass produced passable stuff you find online.

Offline jacko9

  • Posts: 2346
Re: Japanese chisel. Not what I expected.
« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2017, 06:18 PM »
lets talk more about kitchen knives lol, i got a chroma set recently and love them!

I thought spending money on woodworking tools was expensive until, I started buying hand forged Japanese knives.  I have managed to get a 210mm Gyuto from Kiyoshi Kato and a 210mm Gyuto from Konosuke Fujiyama and then a 240mm Gyuto from Teruyasu Fujiwara and a Konosuke HD2 240mm Laser Gyuto.  I'm still waiting for my Kiyoshi Kato 240mm Gyuto (which is on back order).  Now I realize why I stayed away from Fred's knife section at the Original Japan Woodworker retail store!

Offline curiousdork

  • Posts: 46
  • I code and woodwork.
Re: Japanese chisel. Not what I expected.
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2017, 05:02 PM »
I purchased an economy set of Japanese chisels from Woodcraft (I wasn't about to drop $500+ on a set) and was pleasantly surprised how well they take an edge.  Honestly, the hollowed back is genius: it's like the ruler trick but better, I had all of my chisels flattened in no time.  The soft steel wrapping the tool steel absorbs a lot of impact and the stocky nature of these chisels meant that I could grip them pretty easily. It's light and well balanced.  However, the setup is a little involved because you have to set the hoops, I still have yet to do that though.

Offline Steven Owen

  • Posts: 264
Re: Japanese chisel. Not what I expected.
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2017, 05:40 PM »
I purchased an economy set of Japanese chisels from Woodcraft (I wasn't about to drop $500+ on a set) and was pleasantly surprised how well they take an edge.  Honestly, the hollowed back is genius: it's like the ruler trick but better, I had all of my chisels flattened in no time.  The soft steel wrapping the tool steel absorbs a lot of impact and the stocky nature of these chisels meant that I could grip them pretty easily. It's light and well balanced.  However, the setup is a little involved because you have to set the hoops, I still have yet to do that though.

Japanese have a lot of great tools that are under appreciated in North America.  Some the Japanese radius plans that round over edges allows you to create some very unique furniture designs.  Granted you have to get use to pulling rather than pushing Japanese hand planes.