Author Topic: Fujikawa chisels  (Read 805 times)

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Offline Mike Mitchell

  • Posts: 6
Fujikawa chisels
« on: April 17, 2017, 11:46 PM »
Has anyone tried the Fujikawa Japanese chisels from Woodcraft?  They appear to be the “economy” grade described thus in the TOOLSFROMJAPAN website. 
“An economy grade chisel made by Fujikawa, these 'Maruya' chisels trade some of the finer elements found in their higher grade 'Yasaku' chisel in order to give the best performance to cost ratio they can manage.”  They are  laminated “whitesteel”.
I wanted to try a Japanese chisel but the $60 to $70 Matsumatas seem high given I have spent a bunch on tools lately.
I was also looking at a Pfeil Swiss Made Western chisel. 
Any ideas on these two chisels?  Mike

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Online HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 404
Re: Fujikawa chisels
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2017, 01:13 AM »
When it comes to Western chisels, I'm very fond of my Lee Valley PMV-11 chisels.  If you are a professional, they will pay for themselves in reduced sharpening time.  If you are a hobbyist, just buy a couple of sizes to start with.  My son is a Japanese chisel fan, but I think he would give you the same advice with respect to Japanese chisels.

Are you experienced with sharpening?  If not, you might consider starting with a 1/2" or 3/4" Marples/Irwin or Wood River chisel and working with it until you can sharpen it with confidence.  They are not the best chisel steel, but they are reasonably good for learning. You'll have to sharpen more often, but that just means you'll get more experience faster.  I still use the Marples chisels that I learned on (heard that they have suffered from becoming Irwin), though I've also used Sorby (not impressed) and in the last couple of years bought some Lee Valley PMV-11 (very impressed).

Offline Len C

  • Posts: 83
Re: Fujikawa chisels
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2017, 09:20 AM »
I do not have that brand but have bought Ouichis from stuart at tools from japan and can say that in general he carries top notch tools at an excellent price and is great to deal with. You just need to deal with a somewhat slow ship time from Japan.

I suggest contacting Stu directly with any questions and maybe check the neanderthal forum at sawmillcreek.

Offline Mismarked

  • Posts: 111
Re: Fujikawa chisels
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2017, 01:18 PM »
I bought a set of 6 Fujikawas about a year ago as my first set of chisels.  Previously, I had only used the Buck Brothers plastic chisels from Home Depot on occasion.  I wanted to try dovetails by hand.
   Based on an article I read, I had intended to buy two or three sizes of decent Western chisels to start out, but when I was at the store, the salesperson was enthusiastic about that particular Fujikawa set and thought they were a good value, so I went with those.
 If memory serves, the sizes range from about 1/4 to 1 inch.
   I was able to get them what I considered to be pretty sharp, set the hoops, took off the shiny finish and put BLO on the handles, and I had fun with it.  Did not know it when I left the store, but there was a lot more to getting them set up than just sharpening.  David Barron has some videos on it.  They do feel nice.  I managed to chip the edges on a few, but it was most likely user error, as I had no idea what I was doing.  You are supposed to use a special metal hammer for those, but I don't have one.
   About a week or two ago, I went back to the original advice and bought three sizes of the Lee Valley Western chisels, along with a couple of their mortise chisels.  Out of the box, they are sharper than I ever got the Fujikawas.  I haven't touched them yet in terms of lapping or preparing the blades, and am reading up on that before I do anything along those lines, as I really don't want to screw them up.
   I think that for dovetails, which is what I want to learn how to do, the Western chisels will be better for me.  Their narrow blades seem like they will fit into the recesses better without interference from the thick, blunt sides of the Japanese chisels.
    If the question is whether I am happy with the purchase of the Fujikawas, I am, generally.  If I had to do it again, though, I would probably start with the Western chisels--just a few in much smaller sizes than I had initially envisioned, and then at some point delve into the Japanese chisels.

Offline Mike Mitchell

  • Posts: 6
Re: Fujikawa chisels
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2017, 02:07 PM »
I am going to check with Woodcraft as to the quality of the Fujikawas if they know.  I have a couple of Marples (before Irwin)   I bought in the UK and like them and a Narex I bought in Prague.  These were souvenirs and good buys.  I usually sharpen with sandpaper to #2000 or micro film to .3 but recently bought an #800 and #1000/8000 water stone and am trying those.
A fellow on Woodnet recommended Iyoroi which at $50 or so for blue steel seems good.  Still looking and thinking.  Thanks.  Mike

Offline Mike Mitchell

  • Posts: 6
Re: Fujikawa chisels
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2017, 08:25 PM »
After sharpening up my 2 marples and a Narex (clearly the sharpest) and a couple Stanleys, I bought a 12 mm Fujiwara with a $10 off $25 coupan for a total of $22+ change.  Very economical and I can try out a Japanese chisel.  Thanks for the advice.  Mike

Online HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 404
Re: Fujikawa chisels
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2017, 07:02 AM »
... and a Narex I bought in Prague.  These were souvenirs and good buys.  ...

Nice - I also like to bring home woodworking souvenirs from trips - tools and/or wood.  My wife thought it odd when I insisted on bringing home 65lb of colorado and laurel wood from Ecuador in a duffle, and then was miffed the second time I did it :).  I have beech from Germany, hand-made carving tools from Ecuador, and several tools from trips around the US - most recently a Narex rasp from Highland Hardware in Atlanta that got me in trouble with the TSA.  Several times I've brought home boxes of cutoffs - snakewood, gaboon & Macassar ebony, etc. - from LA and San Diego.  The most fun was bringing back imbuia from San Diego, which smells, as a friend of mine called it, like "Raid on a stick".

Glad you were able to try out the Fujiwara before jumping in for the whole set.  Looking forward to your observations on using Japanese chisels vs. western.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2017, 07:06 AM by HarveyWildes »