Sunday, March 8, 2009

Japanese Chisel

The Japanese Chisel is by far the best chisels that one can ever get. The quality and craftsmanship is unmatched. In fact these chisels are works of art themselves, and are sold by the maker's name.
The metal used in these chisels are a form of "Mokume Gane." It's a very complex and time consuming metal making process that involves at least two different metals. Instead of heating the metals to a temperature where they would melt and form an alloy, the different metals are cleaned and stacked in alternating layers, bound together under pressure and then is heated to a temperature that is close to melting, but not quite. At this temperature the individual metal layers begins to "sweat" and weld to each other. After it cools the billet is then cut and shaped to form the marbling or grain in the metal. It is also most likely to have a patina put on it, to better show the grain pattern. The mokume gane is very decorative, but also has added strength because it is a composite of two different metals. I actually have made a ring with mokume gane, I'll bring it in tomorrow. "Mokume gane" actually means wood grain in Japanese. Not all Japanese chisels are made with mokume gane, and those that are made with mokume gane are very expensive. These chisels are worth about $400, but they are also made with ebony handles, of course all hand crafted. I don't know about you, but I would hesitate to sharpen these chisels.
I would think that chisels like these would be out of most of our price range, at least right now when most of us are starving college students, but if any of you are one day wildly successful, it's something to think about. I would say out of all the tools that I have covered, the saw is probably the most affordable and useful. The Japanese Plane can be expensive unless you get a really small one, which they do make for about $50, but the body is made out of ebony. The Japanese saw comes in many varieties, but the one I would recommend would be the double sided standard saw. You can find a descent double edged Ryoba saw for about $30 to $50, of course they can get more expensive than this, but I find the saws in this price range to be more than adequate. Out all the tools that I have discussed, the saw is probably the most useful, especially for what our class might be doing.

1 comment:

Squerl said...

Those are really works of art. I like how you explained the process of making them. Squerl