Author Topic: Japanese handtool recommendations  (Read 2174 times)

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Offline Sanderxpander

  • Posts: 397
Japanese handtool recommendations
« on: June 25, 2019, 03:34 PM »
Hello everyone,

I'm a home remodeler learning to enjoy the use of good tools. I like gadgets so I probably have more power tools than I really need. Comparatively I have very few handtools. But I keep reading about amazing Japanese chisels and pullsaws and the like so I would like to get a few. As it happens, my brother is living in Tokyo for two years so it would be fairly easy to get a small amount shipped, I'm assuming.

So basically I'm looking for recommendations on your favorite Japanese handtools. I have a set of basic Narex chisels and a few basic carpentry saws but that's it. I used a small pullsaw during a woodworking workshop to cut off some dowels and was amazed at how great that worked.

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Offline lwoirhaye

  • Posts: 252
Re: Japanese handtool recommendations
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2019, 04:11 PM »
I have a mortise gauge I like from Japan.   There is/was a book on Japanese hand tools that you might want to read if investing much money in them.   Japanese methods of work are different enough from the western styles that some tools may not be very useful to you if you don't put energy into adapting to them, like planes.

I have basic, but not cheap, Japanese chisels.   They're probably from the same supplier that supplies Lee Valley.   You can buy used Japanese chisels on ebay and have them shipped in Japan - much of the cost comes from shipping overseas.   There's a trick to setting the hoop of a Japanese chisel too. 

I have some Gyokucho saws with replaceable blades I've been pleased with.  They aren't too expensive.   There was a brand Z-saw or Zeta saw I think that is no longer imported that had interchangeable blades for a few different types of plastic handles - not traditional but I have one and would have liked to acquire more but the fellow bringing them over retired in his 90s.


Offline ChuckM

  • Posts: 1289
Re: Japanese handtool recommendations
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2019, 06:12 PM »
I have only a few Japanese tools (including a chisel, a mentori Kanna (chamfer plane), and a Dozuki). But the most used and favorite Japanese tool I have is a genno (hammer). Except the Dozuki (from LVT), I got all my Japanese tools from a woodworker who decided to drop the woodworking hobby.

Possible sources:

Genno & chamfer plane
https://www.fine-tools.com/ham7.html

Dozuki (best value as suggested)
http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=32936&cat=1,42884,42898

« Last Edit: June 25, 2019, 06:16 PM by ChuckM »

Offline RussellS

  • Posts: 276
Re: Japanese handtool recommendations
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2019, 10:05 PM »
I have some Gyokucho saws with replaceable blades I've been pleased with.  They aren't too expensive.

I have a Japanese saw and always get a kick out of using it.  Always amazed at how good it cuts.

Offline Rob Z

  • Posts: 835
Re: Japanese handtool recommendations
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2019, 10:29 PM »
Hello

A good friend gave several Japanese handsaws to me about 20 years ago and I was hooked.  I have quite a few more now and although I can't remember the names (might be easier if I heard how they are pronounced  [big grin] ), the main thing is to learn the specific purpose and what the saw might do for. you and your work. 

One very handy set of saws are the flush cut saws (flush left and flush right). These have the set of the teeth to only one side of the blade and are useful for trimming protruding objects flush to the finished surface.  Another one I like and find useful is a dado saw. It has a curved edge and can plunge cut in the surface of the board.

Other than those saws just described, I have coarse toothed saws (for ripping) and fine toothed saws for cross-cutting and fine work. Some have a spine on the blade and make the blade rigid and thus able to cut a super straight and fine  line.

Good luck as you learn more and start to use these Japanese saws.  They are a real joy to use.

Offline waho6o9

  • Posts: 1478
    • Garage Door Handyman.com
Re: Japanese handtool recommendations
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2019, 11:14 PM »

Offline Bert Vanderveen

  • Posts: 546
Re: Japanese handtool recommendations
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2019, 07:30 AM »
THE book about Japanese tools is Japanese Woodworking Tools by Toshio Odate.
Buy it thru the regular online shops or here: fine-tools(dot)com/buwerk.html
Cheers, Bert Vanderveen

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Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 2724
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: Japanese handtool recommendations
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2019, 11:49 AM »
I would recommend looking at Lie Nielsen chisels and planes. They are of the highest quality and a delight to use. Also, Blue Spruce makes exceptional chisels. Bridge City sells some great Japanese saws. They are anything but cheap. The blades are easily replaced. This is good because the blades tend to be fragile.

I got into hand cutting mortises and dove tails after years of mostly power tool work.  I really like the craft of using hand tools. I found getting into nice hand tools also meant learning how to sharpen them. After lots of false starts, I ended up with a set of water stones from Lie Nielsen. Also added in a Lie Nielsen sharpening jig. Now, I can put a mirror edge on a chisel or a plane iron.

There are lots of good videos on sharpening hand tools.
Birdhunter

Offline derekcohen

  • Posts: 338
    • In The Woodshop
Re: Japanese handtool recommendations
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2019, 12:21 PM »
Hello everyone,

I'm a home remodeler learning to enjoy the use of good tools. I like gadgets so I probably have more power tools than I really need. Comparatively I have very few handtools. But I keep reading about amazing Japanese chisels and pullsaws and the like so I would like to get a few. As it happens, my brother is living in Tokyo for two years so it would be fairly easy to get a small amount shipped, I'm assuming.

So basically I'm looking for recommendations on your favorite Japanese handtools. I have a set of basic Narex chisels and a few basic carpentry saws but that's it. I used a small pullsaw during a woodworking workshop to cut off some dowels and was amazed at how great that worked.

I would say that it is pointless asking your brother to seek out Japanese tools in Tokyo that are sold in the West. There is a good chance that he will not find them for sale as they are marketed for Westerners and to Westerners.

Great value chisels are made by Koyamaichi. You can purchase them at Lee Valley.

Great value saws are made by Z-Saws. They are sold all over.

You could ask your brother to source waterstones. I would seek out a 1000 Pro Shapton, 6000 and 13000 Sigma, and a DMT lapping stone to keep them flat. They'll be cheaper in Japan.

Regards from Perth

Derek


Offline Sanderxpander

  • Posts: 397
Re: Japanese handtool recommendations
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2019, 03:35 PM »
Hi Derek, interesting POV. Maybe I should've mentioned I'm in Holland and we don't have Lee Valley here. I suppose most of your point still holds. I was hoping it would be cheaper and easier to get some cool tools, I've read about people bringing chisels back from Japan and the like.

I guess if there are few specific recommendations it becomes a lot harder as my brother doesn't care for the stuff at all and has two left hands.

Offline Bert Vanderveen

  • Posts: 546
Re: Japanese handtool recommendations
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2019, 10:57 AM »
Hi Derek, interesting POV. Maybe I should've mentioned I'm in Holland and we don't have Lee Valley here. I suppose most of your point still holds. I was hoping it would be cheaper and easier to get some cool tools, I've read about people bringing chisels back from Japan and the like.

Perhaps I am shooting myself in my foot, but there are terrific sources of (used/vintage) Japanese tools to be found on eBay and Etsy. My fav is tokyocraft @ etsy. Great seller, excellent service. Fair prices and as a bonus Son-san sends a watercolour sketch along with translations of the Japanese on the tools and sometimes a few tips. (Please don’t buy everything — there are some items on my wishlist, that I want t buy next month…)
Cheers, Bert Vanderveen

TS55 · TS55R · OF1010 · DF500 Mk2 · MFT/3 + TSB1-MW 1000 + VL + CMS TS55 + CMS PS300 + LA-CS 70/CMS · CTL Midi · RTS400 EQ · 2 x CXS Li 1,5 · T15+3 Li 4,2 · TI15 Impact Li 4,2 · Centrotec Sets 2008 + 2015 · PSB300 · LR32-SYS · RO150 · Kapex KS120 · 2 x MFK700 · RO90 · OFK700 · BS75 · OFK500 · OF2200 · CMS-GE … | Mirka 1230L P&C | Hammer A3 31 Silent Power · Hammer N4400 · Hammer HS950 (soon!) 

Offline ChuckM

  • Posts: 1289
Re: Japanese handtool recommendations
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2019, 12:44 PM »
It can be a deep rabbit hole....

Another source of Japanese planes, etc. with a solid feedback record:

https://www.ebay.ca/str/az-thanks?_trksid=p2047675.l2563
« Last Edit: July 01, 2019, 12:52 PM by ChuckM »

Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3886
Re: Japanese handtool recommendations
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2019, 03:38 PM »
There's also Japan Woodworker, which was just bought by Woodcraft: https://www.woodcraft.com/pages/japan-woodworker

I can second the Toshio Odate book -- if you're into that sort of thing, he gives you a great primer on the history and use of specific tools.

I'd be interested to hear from people in what situations they reach for a Japanese saw rather than a Western Saw.  Before I started doing finer carpentry, and mainly just built art installations, I always carried a Kataba saw in my kit, which would never fail to get me out of certain jams.  But I was using it as a kind of swiss army knife rather than as a precision tool.

I just recently added a set of Japanese saws (a Kataba, dbl sided Ryoba, and an Azebiki) to complement the Western saws I have been using, but I'm still trying to figure out the subtle differences that would lead me to grab them over the Western Saws.  Some situations are obvious, like when I have to make a deep cut that exceeds the back of my Western Saws.  I also find for some reason that I am more likely to make a square 90degree cut with the Japanese saw than with a Western Saw -- though the way I use my handsaws I'm generally not relying on producing a totally square cut by hand without further treatment of the board.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2019, 09:18 AM by ear3 »
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Online Peter Halle

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Re: Japanese handtool recommendations
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2019, 04:14 PM »
I haven't had a western style saw in years.  The Japanese style saws that cut on the pull stroke (eliminating wobble) and have a finer kerf fit my needs.

I will admit that I use the cheaper versions due to the fact that nails might be present and the saws and nails do not co-exist peacefully.

Peter

Offline Lemwise

  • Posts: 264
Re: Japanese handtool recommendations
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2019, 04:33 PM »
For chisels I would go with the ones jindaiko-honpo sells. Their tatakinomis and tsukinomis are all outstanding. If you like something a few points softer I would suggest older Kikuhiromarus. Avoid the new ones as these are made with rikizai (pre-laminated steel).
« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 04:35 PM by Lemwise »