Sunday, September 28, 2014

My ura-dashi hammers

I'm just looking for any excuse to not do what I should be doing, which is working on the house. We are relocating to Hilo, Hawaii in just a few short months, and there are a multitude of loose ends to tie up, before we rent out our house.

My friend tsuresuregusa wants more details of the tack hammer that I use for ura-dashi.

This is a little tack hammer that I picked up at a thrift store/junk shop for a couple of $'s. One end of the head is split, to better hold small tacks (at least I *think* that is the reasoning). The split end is the face that I use ( I would prefer that the face were NOT split, but......). The most important detail is that I filed the faces to have sharp corners. This allows the hammer to really dig in, making nice tiny divots in the metal. A smooth face will tend to slip. I want something that will grab and gouge!

173g total.

It is a small, but precise tool, and makes ura-dashi fun, rather than nerve wracking. It's so much fun, I do chisel blades, too.

I have another hammer head that has been patiently waiting for a new handle.

This little guy has forge welded inserts on both faces, and one end comes to a nice sharp wedged shape.

Looking for guidance.

This is on my wish list, maybe not this exact hammer, but something in this style.

Pro Shop Hokuto has style

A funate genno with a good sharp end. This would be just the tool, for those hard to convince kanna blades.

The process of ura-dashi is made soooooo much easier if the kanna blade is made with ren-tetsu wrought iron. The soft iron works very easily, helping you to shape the blade as you choose. Less force is required, so there is less likelihood of grievous mishap. A regular soft iron backed kanna blade seems to require at least twice as much force. Wrought iron...... It's about more than just good looks.


  1. Very interesting stuff. I'm just starting my blog up again and love tools old and new. I use tools that belonged to my father,some chisels, planes & saws. is always a challenge but a little patience pays off. Good luck on your move


    1. Hi Ed!

      I love using the old tools. It feels like they have a story to tell, wisdom to impart, if I can quiet myself enough to hear. When I get tired, or frustrated, or just need time to think, I sharpen. Sharpening, ahhhhhh.......I love it (generally) but some days, I wish that I had some HSS blades. I'm planing a bunch of Port Orford cedar, and I swear that some of this stuff has gravel in it. The invisible kind!

      Thanks for your good wishes for our move. It should prove to be very interesting. I've never lived anywhere warm before. Rust prevention is high on my list. My tools are nervous.....haha!

      Thanks for writing,


  2. Thanks a lot for your answers Jason!

    I have one like the one from pro shop, but is not welded... the wide face is quite soft and has several marks already of the few times I used it to nail. And instead of being four sided on the back, it is 8-sided. I think it may need to be re-filed, I left a roundish tip when I did it.

    (Also have one small like yours, I use it to try to bend back my saws.)

    1. Too bad about the soft face, that's a bummer! I've seen quite a few of the old genno on eBay that look like they were quite soft, but also many that were so hard that they chipped. I'm not sure what I would prefer.

      When I did carpentry for a living, I remember borrowing the bosses hammer one day. That frigging thing was polished to a shine, and hard as hell. Hurt, too, because it just kept slipping off the nail, right onto my thumb. I think that he kept that hammer with him, specifically to give to carpenters stupid enough to forget their own. I asked him about it, and he just smiled..... Then told me to get back to work!

      I want to get a saw hammer, preferably with the hardened insert teeth. I'll get you one, too!


  3. one like this?

    it should arrive in week's time :) I let you know if it's hardened on the tips or not. Thanks for the offer anyway!

    Good timing because I think I won't use the pliers again, today I broke a tooth. At least I learnt how NOT to bend a tooth. A fraction of a second before they kinda scream and become really stiff. Then, PUM! I promised to the gods of tools to repair 3 saws for that crime, I hope they forgive me.

    1. Oooooooh! That looks like a nice hammer! The photos of the underside certainly seem to show the hardened steel inserts. I am envious! Good call!

      You have plenty of good karma coming your way.... And look at how much you are learning, haha! I sometimes wish that we didn't have to get the good AND the bad, though.


Like all of us, I am figuring this out as I go, so when you see something that is incorrect or flat out wrong (and you will!), let me know. This is a learning process. Real people and names, please. Constructive comments and questions are very welcome, but hate speak/politics are not! Life (get one!) is too short.

Thanks, Jason