White steel oire-nomi

These chisels feature Yasuki white steel #2 forge laminated to a soft steel backing/main chisel body.

Unlike some Japanese chisels which are laminated, roughly shaped  and then ground to their final size, Koyamaichi chisels are almost entirely forged to their finished size. This not only brings improvements to their durability but reduces production cost and is a more 'traditional' method of making a chisel even though the forging to shape is done by a large, mechanical press.

After forging to shape, these chisels are left to rest for a period of 4 weeks in ash bed to allow the hard and soft sections to come to an equilibrium of tension and for stresses to work their way out the steel gradually. After this 'beauty rest', they are finish ground to final size, heat treated and buffed to a smooth overall finish and fitted with your choice of handle material.

Available as standard in a 'kaku-uchi' (square/box) profile up to 12mm, and 'mentori' (bevelled edge) profile in the larger sizes, these are also available with the square 'kaku-uchi' profile as a no-cost option and in a shinogi/umeki profile, the often mentioned 'dovetail' profile for a small additional cost.  

As we work directly with Koyamaichi Hamono, we are able to offer a choice of 5 different handle materials, all with their own unique characteristics.


#1;akagashi, #2;gumi, #3;kokutan, #4;shirakashi, #5;isu-no-ki.

The standard handle material is akagashi (Japanese red oak). This offers a balance of durability and modest cost with a good amount of 'spring' that prevents excessive shock being delivered to the very hard edge.

The most popular 'optional' handle material is gumi (Japanese Boxwood), or Elaeagnus multiflora, a small fruit bearing tree/shrub. The plain, cream coloured wood is not so visually interesting, but the material itself is considered to be a superior handle material. Very durable, quite hard on the side grain but possessing a definite impact absorbing property along the grain, these handles are very durable and offer an excellent balance of toughness and 'spring'.

Also popular is kokutan (Macassar Ebony) for it's aesthetic properties. Dark brown/black with lighter streaks, it is the most visually striking handle material in general use for Japanese chisels. Due to it's scarcity, the cost of handles made from this material is high. As this wood is exceptionally hard, almost brittle, it's durability as a handle material is questionable and care must be taken to avoid damaging it. With care, kokutan handles will last for a very long time and offer a more direct, sharp blow to the cutting edge. For a chisel that will be used for heavy work, it is not recommended but for a tool that will spend it's life doing lighter tasks and defining details (where a small tap from a lightweight hammer is sufficient) this handle material offers a very direct transmission of force.

The shiragashi (Japanese white/evergreen oak) handles are based upon smaller branches of the tree, with the core/pith running down the middle of the handle. The wood itself is less dense and not so hard as red oak, but offers more 'spring' and the zero runout of grain in the handle improves durability and makes these handles almost immune to splitting. The perfect choice for chisels that will be used very hard.

Isu-no-ki (Witch hazel) is a relative of the gumi/boxwood plant, and is a fairly plain, brown grained material. Relatively soft in comparison to other handle woods, it must be handled with care. What it lacks in durability, it makes up for with a unique 'dead-blow' effect when struck with hammer or mallet. Where the other handles offer a measure of 'spring', this wood absorbs all of the energy and delivers it in a solid push to the edge, largely devoid of shock. Especially suited to smaller profile chisels, this possibly unsuitable material earns it's place here for this unique characteristic.   

Available in a wide range of sizes and combinations of blade profile, handle profile and choice of three handle hoops, you can tune your chisel to your liking.

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