Today we analyse the best Japanese chisels, a woodworking tool that is part of an ancient tradition. If in the past post we saw the western chisel brands, today we will focus on the Orientals.

Japanese chisels: main properties

The tradition of Japanese chisels begins more than 1000 years ago. Its technique and construction is very ancient and today it is a protected art. As in the manufacture of swords, a high degree of perfection has been achieved over the centuries. This provides a very high quality metal and a great hardness, superior to the leaves of the western chisels.

The secret of that quality is in the type of steel and its treatment. The most commonly used are white steel (softer but easier to sharpen) and blue steel (with alloy components). With the blue steel, the tools have a durable and a greater resistance to abrasion. These are hardened to a higher degree than the western chisels (more than 64 Rockwell points). The result is a steel blade that resists impacts very well and maintains the cut without detours.

Finally, another feature of these fascinating chisels is its shape. The blade is shorter than the western ones. Also, the handle is usually cylindrical, without ergonomic profiles.

Japanise chisels brands:

Koyamaichi:

Today, it is one of the best brands for its excellent value for money. Koyamaichi chisels are made of high quality steel, all with an elegant and traditional design. We love the blue steel chisels from the Oire-nomi range for its high quality.

If you like the details, this brand offers you the possibility to choose the handle. Thus, you can choose between oak, Gumi (Japanese box) or ebony.

Price approx. of Koyamaichi blue steel chisel: 60 €

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Tasai

The legendary Tasai brand offers some of the best Japanese chisels for its quality and design. They are made of wrought iron and with special blue steel, with high carbon content. This gives excellent properties to the blade and the edge, especially to work hard woods. The chisels have a hardness of Rc65.

Mr. Tasai, the craftsman, made the chisels himself when he was 13 years old. Since then, he has made these tools one by one for woodworkers around the world. Using the technique of Damascus, Tasai imitates the streaks of cedar when is cut. This gives a spectacular appearance to each blade. Therefore, if you are looking for a unique tool and of extraordinary beauty, Tasai is your brand.

Price approx. of Tasai Mokume chisel: 230 €

Kunikei

Kunikei Japanese chisels are one of the most recommended. Made by Yoshiro Ikeda, its quality is at the level of Tasai but at a cheaper price.

Yoshiro Ikeda is the fifth generation of a family of blacksmiths dedicated to the elaboration of samurai swords. That know-how has been applied to their tools, with the characteristic of making them in white steel.

Price approx. of Kunikei chisel: 90 €

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Daitei

Another mythical brand of Japanese chisels is Daitei, located in the province of Niigata. Founded by master blacksmith Teijiro Ohkubo, it is the third generation of a family dedicated to the art of steel forging. He personally elaborates each chisel, applying all the know-how of his family, without resorting to any type of electric machine. 100% handmade, these Japanese chisels are pieces of art.

The Daitei chisels are made of high quality blue steel, reaching the incredible hardness of 66 Rockwell points. In addition, the surface of its blade is elaborated imitating the waters of the wood. The handle is made by sandalwood, an aromatic wood of great hardness.

Price approx. of Daitei chisel: 100 €

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Fujikawa

Finally, we finished our selection with Fujikawa. Elaborated in the city of Miki, its history begins in XX century. In their origins, they manufactured hand planes, widely used in the manufacture of doors and windows. Years later they began to manufacture woodworking chisels for other brands. This wholesale has caused for decades Fujikawa was an unknown brand even if it was widely used.

Its chisels are made with high quality white steel. Thus, we are dealing with a noble tool, of high quality but at a contained price.

Price approx. of Fujikawa chisel: 26 €

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Made by hand, Japanese chisels are high quality tools for every woodworker. There is a wide range of prices with different features, but we advise that they are not easy to find. Therefore, our recommendation is that you choose to try one. If you are convinced, the next step is to buy a set of chisels.

And for you, what is the best brand of chisels? Western or oriental?