Any experience with Fujihiro chisels?
#11
  
After a bad experience with Matsumura blue steel chisels (keen edge, but chipped all over the place), I upgraded to Koyamaichi. I've beat the heck out of them, and they hold a tremendously long-lasting edge, no chipping at all. Hard maple, bubinga, no problem. Wit Stu out of the picture now, I don't see a source for them any more. Does anyone have experience with the Fujihiro bench chisels that Hida sells? Aside from durability, are the lands shallow enough for chopping dozuki-cut dovetails?

At Hida
Best,
Aram, always learning

"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Web: My woodworking photo site
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#12
  Re: Any experience with Fujihiro chisels? by Aram (After a bad experien...)
(07-28-2020, 12:03 PM)Aram Wrote: After a bad experience with Matsumura blue steel chisels (keen edge, but chipped all over the place), I upgraded to Koyamaichi. I've beat the heck out of them, and they hold a tremendously long-lasting edge, no chipping at all. Hard maple, bubinga, no problem. Wit Stu out of the picture now, I don't see a source for them any more. Does anyone have experience with the Fujihiro bench chisels that Hida sells? Aside from durability, are the lands shallow enough for chopping dozuki-cut dovetails?

At Hida

Aram, Fujihiro chisels are made by a blacksmith named Chutaro Imai. Some years ago there was a woman named Kayoko who operated a Japanese tool brokerage called Misugi Designs. She represented a number of high end Japanese tool makers and brokered their tools here in the US. One of them was Chutaro Imai. I have four Imai sword steel slicks and a set of five sword steel bench chisels that I ordered through Kayoko at Misugi Designs. They have been excellent tools. I can't praise them highly enough. Kayoko returned to Japan some years ago to care for the legendary saw maker Yataiki in his last years, and Misugi Designs is no longer in business. Imai's chisels are now sold by Hida Tools under the name "Fujihiro." I don't know whether they sell Imai's top-end sword steel chisels, but I can attest to the quality of the ones I own. They are superb tools. Moreover, I don't know enough about what style Fujihiro chisels come in to advise you about whether they would be satisfactory for dovetails. I would check with Hida and ask. I have found them helpful with this kind of question in the past. My Imai bench chisels are "usu" style with stout blades and thick lands. They are not the best chisels for dovetails. Since I purchased them years ago, many Japanese makers have become sensitive to Western preference for "dovetail" chisels with thin or sharp lands. I don't know if Imai has changed the profile of his bench chisels to follow this trend. Hida can tell you.
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#13
  Re: Any experience with Fujihiro chisels? by Aram (After a bad experien...)
What Hank said. I also have Imai sword steel bench chisels and paring slicks that I purchased through Kayoko years ago. Excellent steel and very well made. I recently bought a new sword steel slick through Hida. They are special order (not the ones on their web site) and not inexpensive, so get ready. If you’re interested, order sooner than later as Imai is not getting any younger. It took about 6 weeks to get so not instant gratification either.

Thanks.
Kevin

PS They are not the zero land sides you may be thinking of. The paring slicks are dovetail shape, but still not as fine as say Veritas where you’ll cut yourself on the edges. I don’t need that as I have narrow sizes and also a fish tail chisel if needed.
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#14
  Re: Any experience with Fujihiro chisels? by Aram (After a bad experien...)
You might check out this man's offerings, and what he has to say about traditional working Japanese tools:  

https://covingtonandsons.com/author/covingtonandsons/

The link is simply a random post page. Contact Covington directly for pieces he has available. What I have is individually forged laminated steel and well-made tools. No bling, just good stuff from the last blacksmiths. As usual you need to finish the edges. My order arrived two days later. However, I am in a major US hub for Japanese business.
Heirlooms are self-important fiction so build what you like. Someone may find it useful.
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#15
  Re: RE: Any experience with Fujihiro chisels? by Hank Knight ([quote='Aram' pid='7...)
(07-28-2020, 11:23 PM)Hank Knight Wrote: Aram, Fujihiro chisels are made by a blacksmith named Chutaro Imai.
Oh! I know of him. I did not know that conneciton.

Some years ago there was a woman named Kayoko who operated a Japanese tool brokerage called Misugi Designs. She represented a number of high end Japanese tool makers and brokered their tools here in the US. One of them was Chutaro Imai. I have four Imai sword steel slicks and a set of five sword steel bench chisels that I ordered through Kayoko at Misugi Designs. They have been excellent tools. I can't praise them highly enough. Kayoko returned to Japan some years ago to care for the legendary saw maker Yataiki in his last years, and Misugi Designs is no longer in business. Imai's chisels are now sold by Hida Tools under the name "Fujihiro." I don't know whether they sell Imai's top-end sword steel chisels, but I can attest to the quality of the ones I own. They are superb tools. Moreover, I don't know enough about what style Fujihiro chisels come in to advise you about whether they would be satisfactory for dovetails. I would check with Hida and ask. I have found them helpful with this kind of question in the past. My Imai bench chisels are "usu" style with stout blades and thick lands. They are not the best chisels for dovetails. Since I purchased them years ago, many Japanese makers have become sensitive to Western preference for "dovetail" chisels with thin or sharp lands. I don't know if Imai has changed the profile of his bench chisels to follow this trend. Hida can tell you.

Thank you for this. I remember Misugi Designs. I lived in the SF Bay Area during her heyday, and heard nothing but positive things. I have bought a few saws from Hida, but never had to get into any deep discussions with them. I will indeed ask. Thank you.

(07-28-2020, 11:53 PM)kwadams Wrote: What Hank said. I also have Imai sword steel bench chisels and paring slicks that I purchased through Kayoko years ago. Excellent steel and very well made. I recently bought a new sword steel slick through Hida. They are special order (not the ones on their web site) and not inexpensive, so get ready. If you’re interested, order sooner than later as Imai is not getting any younger. It took about 6 weeks to get so not instant gratification either.

Thanks.
Kevin

PS They are not the zero land sides you may be thinking of. The paring slicks are dovetail shape, but still not as fine as say Veritas where you’ll cut yourself on the edges. I don’t need that as I have narrow sizes and also a fish tail chisel if needed.

Excellent info. My Koyamaichi chisels are the "dovetail" type, sloping down to narrow but not de-fingering lands. That's more or less what I am used to. 

(07-28-2020, 11:59 PM)hbmcc Wrote: You might check out this man's offerings, and what he has to say about traditional working Japanese tools:  

https://covingtonandsons.com/author/covingtonandsons/

The link is simply a random post page. Contact Covington directly for pieces he has available. What I have is individually forged laminated steel and well-made tools. No bling, just good stuff from the last blacksmiths. As usual you need to finish the edges. My order arrived two days later. However, I am in a major US hub for Japanese business.

Wow! Thank you. I thought there would only be one Stu. I was unaware of this guy. Must be a Brit thing (Stu is from Australia). I will contact him. My wallet is not real happy about you posting this, but I forgive you.  Big Grin
Best,
Aram, always learning

"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Web: My woodworking photo site
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#16
  Re: Any experience with Fujihiro chisels? by Aram (After a bad experien...)
You might try Iida Tools.  They sell Koyamaichi chisels.  They also sell the Fujihiro sword steel chisels.  They are not cheap.  The website doesn't give information on whether they are in stock.

http://japantool-iida.com/chisel_bench/index.html
Still Learning,

Allan Hill
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#17
  Re: Any experience with Fujihiro chisels? by Aram (After a bad experien...)
I have Fujihiro bench, mortise, and paring chisels and can attest to their quality. I bought them from Hida after reading about them on Wilbur Pan's website at giantCypress.net. I also have some Koyamaichi chisels that I got from Stu and they are also very good. I can also attest to buying fro Iida in Japan. Tomohito Iida is nice to work with. I bought 3 Tasai female dovetail chisels and a Tsunesaburo block plane from him.
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#18
  Re: Any experience with Fujihiro chisels? by Aram (After a bad experien...)
The bench chisels shown on Iida’s site are what I have. He is very good to deal with, very responsive, as others have said. One of the cool things I find with Imai chisels are that they sharpen quite easily (esp with natural stones...I will even use a washita and hard black at times) and then hold an incredible edge. My bench chisels came with bevels around 32 degrees and I’ve maintained them there, flat bevels.

Good luck!

Kevin
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#19
  Re: Any experience with Fujihiro chisels? by Aram (After a bad experien...)
Sorry no experience with any of these chisels, but I just wanted to throw this out: And apologies in advance for my ignorance of your specifics: Any chance the chisels you have will improve over time? How long have you had them? How many grinds have they experienced?

I made my own chisels and thought about making them to sell. WW customers want out of the box performance, which is especially difficult to obtain from a chisel in my experience. I've heard stories about Japanese craftsmen leaving tools like yours outside on a sunny day. The heat of grinding can change them and removing the decarb layer can change them. Ability to take a keen edge is a super important attribute in an edged tool. I'd be reluctant to replace a chipping chisel. Dare I say, I'd start with technique/usage/edge profiles before I bought a tool to replace a tool I felt was letting me down.

I think some guys I've seen are too hard on their chisels. I think expectations for chisels (including and especially mine) are unrealistically high. I think the survival of some edged tools suggests pro woodworkers of the past used techniques that led to the longevity of their tools. I guess I better shut up there.

Good luck - seriously, sorry if I wasted your time.

Adam
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#20
  Re: RE: Any experience with Fujihiro chisels? by adamcherubini (Sorry no experience ...)
(07-29-2020, 01:26 PM)adamcherubini Wrote: Sorry no experience with any of these chisels, but I just wanted to throw this out: And apologies in advance for my ignorance of your specifics: Any chance the chisels you have will improve over time?  How long have you had them?  How many grinds have they experienced?

I made my own chisels and thought about making them to sell.  WW customers want out of the box performance, which is especially difficult to obtain from a chisel in my experience. I've heard stories about Japanese craftsmen leaving tools like yours outside on a sunny day.  The heat of grinding can change them and removing the decarb layer can change them. Ability to take a keen edge is a super important attribute in an edged tool.  I'd be reluctant to replace a chipping chisel. Dare I say, I'd start with technique/usage/edge profiles before I bought a tool to replace a tool I felt was letting me down.

I think some guys I've seen are too hard on their chisels.  I think expectations for chisels (including and especially mine) are unrealistically high. I think the survival of some edged tools suggests pro woodworkers of the past used techniques that led to the longevity of their tools. I guess I better shut up there.

Good luck - seriously, sorry if I wasted your time.

Adam

Hi Adam, and thank you for your thoughtful reply.

I am very happy with my current chisels. Amazed at what they can do. They take a keen edge, and hold it against all reason despite my pounding. I need some sizes I do not have. That's all this is about. Apologies for not being clear enough.
Best,
Aram, always learning

"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Web: My woodworking photo site
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