Kiyotada (Shimamura Kouzaburou)
The blacksmith's name is Kouzaburou Shimamura. He has been featured in the "Uchibamono Shokunin" from the knife magazine. He
was a very rare "modern Tokyo blacksmith", along with the great master Ichihiro
who has saddly just passed away, and another master Nagahiro who is over
80 years old. Most of the production is now in Niigata prefecture (Sanjo
and Yoita city) and Hyogo prefecture (Miki city). The rent is too expensive
in Tokyo now even for these famous blacksmiths.
Mr. Shimamura has already retired almost ten years ago, and the factory has been demolished recently. This is the
kind of chisel Japanese woodworkers and carpenters yearn for. Kiyotada chisels
are now almost impossible to get (even I don't think can get them...) after
being featured in many books and magazines, and now that he has retired no one and no shops
are selling anymore.
Tokyo chisels are basically a little shorter and thiner (the
lenght is about 20cm) than those made elsewhere (about 23cm). This is quite
used so it is even smaller, about 18~19cm average. And another important
thing is that they are all perfectly adjusted and ready to be used.
Starting out with tools that are already properly adjusted, and seeing what
they look like and how well they cut would be a great advantage. It would
take at least a month to adjust and sharpen all ten chisels even if I worked on it everyday. Proper
adjusting takes that much time and effort. Authentic Japanese tools are
expected to be adjusted by the users (even though many Japanese can't nowadays,
so they are quickly replaced by replaceable blade tools) thus only 80% at
the time of purchase. Many books should explain that I suppose.
The steel is White Steel #1.