I need more chisels like I need, well......surely I need SOMETHING more than chisels but I still want EVERY one that I see. I really don't know why. I use about 4-5 every day, and a few others occasionally....the other 482? Almost never. Just kidding about the 482, Renee ):-0.
Here is what I see.....3 mm mortising chisel.
VERY nice wrapped steel lamination. This will look very nice after sharpening it with the natural stones. The jigane will really stand out.
Can't see the lamination line, so I am curious as to the quality of the smithing. The tool looks fairly well made, with a good shape to the iron....I can't yet tell if this is a factory made item or was made by an independent blacksmith. It still has the factory grind. It's probably never been sharpened.
This is a nicely made chisel, a "real" chisel, made by a non-factory blacksmith. The shaft of the chisel is still black, as is the back hollow of the blade. The black coloring is the result of the steel oxidizing as it is plunged into the slack tub (water bucket) after heat treating. On cheaper tools, the blade back hollow is then ground down to ease sharpening and the shaft is ground to create a matching fit to the ferrule. On REALLY cheap tools the chisel is cast steel. I have seen these painted to look like they were forged. Buyer, educate thyself!
A better blacksmith will spend the time to individually hammer the shaft to fit the ferrule and grind the blade back before quenching (why? I don't know yet. Perhaps so that the buyer knows that the temper of the tool hasn't been ruined by hot grinding...). The blade warps from the tensions of cooling sooo quickly, inducing a reverse bend to the blade. Hopefully not too much....
I don't want to correct the (hopefully) occasional mistake, hoping that anyone reading this might understand that this is a progression, but.....
Quenching a laminated tool can cause the steel to expand, resulting in a blade that warps to the iron side. I had this totally backwards. This is important and warrants an edit. Oops!
Too much. This is what happens when someone who doesn't know any better tries to bend the blade back to being straight. You can't do that. This is what happens, sigh..The pictures that Junji took showed this condition very well, so I knew exactly what I was buying. I'll cut the end off, grind it back and it will be good to go. The chisel looses a few years of life, but will still be a fine tool.
Different chisel, a 20mm.
This one is a mystery. Very hefty, dense metal, good thick Japanese white oak handle. The finish is odd, though. Kind of an incomplete patchwork of sanded (not polished) and black.
This is a REALLY good handle. The end grain shows a heart center. That means that the handle maker took a branch (yes, a stick of wood) of perfectly straight grain and thickness, aged it carefully so that it wouldn't crack and peeled the bark off when he deemed it ready to use. A heart center handle is the strongest because the wood grain is continuous and the force is directly channeled to the cutting edge. Very efficient.
The back of the chisel blade is a horror, completely sanded. This would be considered shameful, to do this to a well made tool. If you were the guy who made this....well, I would be disgusted!
Here is the cutting edge and the patchiness that I mentioned. This is a great lamination line -AND- the iron used for the body of the chisel has some weird layering to it, a bit like wrought iron. I have some other chisels that show the same effect and they sharpen soooo easy, but take a wonderful sharp edge. This will look REALLY nice after I sharpen and polish. I like the forged/black look, but this will still be nice polished. A bit bright for my tastes, but......
6.5 mm. Good?
Nice balance, fits my hand and the handle is nice, unfinished white oak. The best "user" tools have white oak handles. It's my favorite, though if you don't put a finish on them, they get all gray and dirty. I use shellac, but bare is better. Some people wear gloves so their handles stay clean. Wow! That's commitment!
White oak is a more expensive option (more expensive than red oak, anyway.), but strong and resilient. The flashy and/or crap tools for export get rosewood and ebony...terrible for tool handles that get hit.
Or is it cheap? Sanded shaft/ferrule, shiny lacquer on the metal parts...
..and a sloppy lamination line, VERY uneven. This was in a 3 chisel lot...I wouldn't buy one this sloppy, normally. On the positive side, it was actually forged by a human being, by hand and probably not in a factory. Maybe he was having a bad day...
Again, a "real" tool. Black-back. Pretty even, nice curved flow where the blade transitions into the shaft. This is one of those tools that you just have to reserve judgement and use for a bit.
Some of my favorite tools are the seemingly junkers. My favorite chisel is a 20 mm that looks like it was soaked in a bucket of piss, then attacked with an angle grinder. The back is completely flat (bad) and deeply rust pitted (worse). Super easy to sharpen, dense "rich" iron and hold an edge crazy long and doesn't fold or chip.
Not too much to show. Its heavy. Very nice shape to it. Nice file work (files are cutting tools, like many small blades, and when skillfully used become a decorative tool) and the lamination line is very interesting. A bit uneven. I wonder if it is intentional? The iron looks very "rich" to me. I am looking forward to sharpening it....
Domo Arigato, Junji!