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Thread: Japanese chisel modification?

  1. #1

    Japanese chisel modification?

    Hello all,

    I'll be building a series of small drawers for a tool chest over the next several months. I ordered a Japanese dovetail chisel from a favorite vendor and got a lemon--the chisel profile was noticeably asymmetrical, with one side 52 degrees and the other 60 degrees! It happens and a return will be no problem.

    I'm considering modifying a Japanese bench chisel that I have rather than ordering a replacement. Anyone have experience filing/sanding the sides of a Japanese chisel? And then refinishing? I recall a recent thread on this subject, but I couldn't find the thread.


    Thanks,
    Chris
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

  2. I suppose it's possible as long as you don't introduce any heat that can ruin the cutting layer. There are some chemical blackening agents you could use to re-finish it I guess.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Winston Salem, NC
    Posts
    57
    If you have a CBN wheel, it's easily done. Also Derek C has modified some of his to have nearly no side bevels at all - check out this section of his blog: http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ShopMad...ailchisel.html

  4. #4
    Thanks, that's my plan should I decide to go that route. Unfortunately, I'm fond of using a gennou and none of the western makers (e.g., LV or Blue Spruce) make a chisel with hoops.

    Best,
    Chris
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Winston Salem, NC
    Posts
    57
    That's true . . . . however once you buy it and like the chisel . . . the handle could be changed to be more in the Nomi method of use. Just sayin'

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Stone Mountain, GA
    Posts
    366
    You won't be able to file the hard layer at the bottom, but you can use a file to waste away the soft layer if you like. I would use a belt grinder, but a grinding wheel or belt sander will work. I would use the coarsest belt or wheel you can find, and use a fresh belt or dress your grinding wheel really well...this is all to reduce the heat imparted to the steel. Assume that the temperature you need to stay under is about the boiling point of water. You'll need to work slowly and carefully, but it's not as perilous as grinding on the edge since there is more steel to serve as a heat sink. Of course if you have a CBN wheel, use that, since it grinds coolest of all from what I understand. But it can be done without. I have some dovetail chisels from Koyamaichi that came with small flats on the sides, more than I wanted, so I carefully took them down to a fine edge on a belt grinder with an 80 grit belt. Does not seem to have harmed the steel.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Northeast PA
    Posts
    464
    Chris,

    Have you looked into Masashige ari nomi from Hida tool? Very reasonably priced, and good quality hard steel. The ari nomi have zero side lands, I bought them in 3mm and 4.5mm for cleaning up the corners of pin sockets.
    ---Trudging the Road of Happy Destiny---

  8. #8
    Thanks Robert and Brian. Robert, the one I sent back was a Koyamaichi. Brian, I'll take a look and those might do the trick out of the box.
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

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