About: Koyamaichi Hamono (chisels)

Koyamaichi is chisel maker in Miki city, Hyogo (outside Kobe) with a century plus history of making high quality chisels for those crafts persons who need their chisels to work for a living over those who may wish to admire their tools.

As a result, they tend toward utilitarian in appearance without the polish and flair that some chisels made in Japan may have. The adage "don't judge a book by it's cover" is quite apt here, as while they may not be as pretty as other chisels, the underlying tool is of the highest quality and made to work hard without being temperamental and difficult to use whether cutting a joint, defining that joint or sharpening the chisels, and extends to setting the tool up for it's initial use.

Working predominately with white steel (superior to blue steel for most chisels), the cutting steel is forge laminated to a low carbon steel main body, the latter used due to it's ease of availability in profiles suitable to the task and relatively low cost over the more expensive and difficult to procure wrought iron. Blue steel is also available, but due to reduced demand they are no longer a stock item and made only as needed, when sufficient demand permits.

The chisel blank is then formed to it's general shape with dies in a press. This allows the shape to be forged rather than ground, which adds strength and durability and permits a high quality tool to be made to shape quickly and cost effectively.

Final finishing of the blade profile is by hand with large grinders providing the means to remove metal quickly and efficiently.

Once laminated, forged and ground to finished shape, the blades are heat treated first in a relatively low temperature 'oven' for an extended period (@700C over a day or longer), then heated to a high temperature and quenched to bring the edge steel to high hardness then tempered in a hot oil bath to reduce the brittle hardness of the edge steel to a more usable state. We do not know how 'hard' the steel actually is as it is not tested, only that it is 'hard enough' without also being brittle or so soft as to have a short lived edge.

The now finished blade is fitted a choice of up to 6 different handle materials and in the case of struck chisels, topped with a bright steel hoop or a soft, blacked and faceted malleable iron hoop and the neck and matching socket smoothed in the style preferred in Western Japan.

We do not keep these chisels in stock due to the large range of chisel profiles, handle and hoop options which number over 2000 different possible variants. We know that many Japanese chisel sellers do keep the number of chisels they sell in stock at all times, but know of no Japanese chisel seller that offers such a broad range of possible options, all easily selectable as we do with Koyamaichi only. As a result, there is a wait time for these chisels which is not usually more than 4 weeks, but depending on circumstances may be shorter or longer than this, and we cannot always predict whether the time will be short or long.

The range of chisels possible from Koyamaichi is enormous, and due to the techniques used their cost is not excessive nor is the quality diminished. This combination of high quality and reasonable price makes Koyamaichi one of the highest regarded chisel makers in Japan, and outside of Japan and it is our great privilege to be able to make them available to the rest of the world as they were intended to be available.
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