The report is that he kept the angle where I put it at 25 degrees (came
at about 20 degrees) and that they are OK if you are careful and only
pare with them. Too much leverage and they will chip. Those from JWW
may be better, I don't know.
Okay thank you, I am getting the idea of the brittlness. What I will
be doing is learning joinery, box and dovetail on smaller and
thinner white pine, box joints first. So I will need a cheap carpenter's
bench vice, a gent's saw and a miter box. But there are also those
even cheaper Narex chisels made in C-Slovakia, made of chrom-
olly steal, beach handles, ferruled and heavy steal hooped on top
of the handles. I am wondering about the characteristics of chromolly
for chiseling though, anyone know? It may be more of a springy
steel that is not as brittle.
Thank you all very much for replying and helping, the good nature
of people can be really great, and is as such now. I really appreciate
it all, so I feel I owe everyone a good rib BBQ! I would if I could
too, I have a great prep for the ribs, makes them awesome.
On the other hand, the Narex's may be, and most likely are
the common design of bevel edged (semi) firmer types,
same as all the stanleys and buck bros. found in any hard-
ware store these days. I will try and get a seller to email
me a closer shot of a blade, and get back on it.
There are some tradeoffs between the hardness of steel and it's
brittleness. The Japanese solved this problem by making a thin layer
of very hard steel (which is brittle) and backing that up with a less
hard and less brittle backing. That's why they have two main layers.
They also use a forging technique which applies thin layers on top of
thin layers. It's an old technique but supposedly very good -- and
The non-Japanese chisel makers have tried to find a single steel that
has the optimum hardness-brittleness characteristics.
Some of the knowledgeable chisle folks in thius group might be able to
elaborate (or correct me if I'm wrong..)
I once read why they have hollow backs but don't remember -- seems
like it had something to do with faster flattening....
It sounds like the technique is based upon samurai sword
making with it's iron/steel folding-to-layers techniques,
which does increase strength superlatively. These less
costly chisels are probably a very minor excersize of the
same ideal, they should work well. You can see in the
pictures at either link that they are hollowed backs. I think
I means that over time, with use of a mallet, the hollows
will actually flatten more and more toward the convex
direction, and then easily controlled by keeping them
flat (I imagine).
Alex, I'd advise to spend just a little more and get the chisels hand
made by chiselmaker Matsumura. You'll get great chisels from a
renowned chiselmaker at a very good price. The Japanwoodworker brand
chisels and the Grizzly chisels come from more obscure makers. You
don't know who really made those chisels and their level of skill. You
get what you pay for. Cheap Japanese tools are like cheap western
tools...they're cheap. Matsumura chisels are a very good deal.
The harder carbon steel is very brittle and prone to chipping if not
used properly. The softer, more flexible steel back supports the
harder steel edge. The better Japanese chisels forge weld wrought iron
to the steel. In even better Japanese chisels the iron comes from ship
anchor chains that are over 100 years old. The reasoning is that they
don't make chains like they used to, or at least the iron they're made
The reason for hollowing the backs is to ease flattening the backs.
You don't have to remove as much material to flatten the backs.
Eventually if you just honed the bevel yes, you'd run into the hollow.
But, if you flatten the backs as you hone you'll wear away the hollow
and have a flat section just behind the cutting edge. You can also tap
out the hollow (carefully so as not to chip the edge) with a small
square hammer designed for this purpose. Don't worry about this stuff
too much. Good Japanese chisels need infrequent honing and it'll be a
long time before you approach the hollow.
hope this helps,
I have a set of these inexpensive chisels and i also have about four of the
mid range chisels from japan wood worker
for the price i think they are worth it especially if you are learning.
the advantages I see are
they hold an awesome scary sharp edge a lot longer than a western chisel.
I can consistently make paper thin curls on oak endgrain with my 1 inch
japanese chisel long after my western ones wont cut butter
if your work requires a lot of fine paring of joints such as making hundreds
of hand cut dove tails in exotic wood i recommend them.
Whats the difference between the grizzly japanese chisels and other more
I doubt the grizzly ones are made by hand
quality of fit and finish,
the quality of the steel and the forging techniques is better.
the prestige of owning a hand made tool with a master blacksmiths stamp on
they are a bit shorter than western chisels
they must be sharpened only by hand or a flat stone grinder like the makita,
no grinding wheels
they can be very very expensive if you get the ones made by master japanese
if you abuse them or sharpen them wrong, the steel on the edge will chip
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