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Masanari Chisels

Highly recommended!

If you wish to try a high quality cutting edge, without paying extra for the brand-name, trust me this one is a must buy. I rarely say something is a must buy, and I have never said it so far, but I have such a confidence in the quality and the cost effectiveness of this chisel, I will say it this time.


Only 36mm is available, 22cm in Length.
Made before 1980.

The back is not flattened and the front is not sharpened. It needs to be ground off about 0.6mm so you'd need a good rough grit stone. I hope you won't use a grinder and ruin the steel (it will over temper by overheating.) I can prepare it and sharpen it to perfection, but that would take time and I would have to waste a bit of my rough grit stone, so I would have to charge you $15 for that. I would use the best Nakayama stone to polish it up.

I went to see my long time client who was a hand tool retailer in Osaka, upon his last day of his operation in July 2006.

When I went into his storage looking for something we can buy, I found in the corner a box packed with chisels. I brought it to him and he was quite surprised to see it and said, °»Where did you find that? Those are very good chisels, what was his name? he lived near Yamato river(*), he was really hand making them. I found 18mm a while ago, and when I showed it to my customer, he bought the whole stock.°… He said that this chisel had a very keen edge.

*Yamato river runs through Osaka and Sakai city. (Sakai is a renowned Japanese chefs knife producing city.)

The abandon date was closing in so, I purchased the whole box.
I have already sold 10, and got below assessment from one of my customers.

°»I used Masanari, I used it a lot. I happened to have had lots of mortises to make on the day I finished preparing the chisel, so I was able to use and test it cutting ability and endurance.

First of course I sharpened it, and when I polished the back in the finishing stone, it was quite tenacious with this sticky feeling. I assume the forging and the heat treatmewas skillfully done, and since it is matured for so many years the steel must be quite hard. At first I even though °»Blue Steel?°…

I polished it with finer Nakayama and checked the edge with x100 microscope and it was perfectly straight. The steels colour is very light too. (Lighter colour of the steel indicates high carbon content and its even distribution.)

The filing is very meticulous, and above all the back hollow is constructed skillfully. I have flattened it until most of the part touched the stone, but there is no sign of the hollow being deformed.


The wrapping newspaper shows the date Dec. 1980. so this chisel was made before then. The steel's molecular structure changes as time passes, and become more robust (Age Hardening: remnant Austenite turns into Martensite)-> sharper edge (if sharpened properly of course) with longer life.

Shirogami 2gou (White Steel #2) is a high quality Japanese pure carbon steel that yields hhly keen edge, and it is easier to sharpen compared to Aogami alloy steel (Blue Steel).
Please never use grinders to sharpen them. It will easily over-temper the steel and make it soft. Always use water stones, and better if you hand sharpen them. If you don't have a good rough grit stone you will have a hard time sharpening them in the begining. It is ""easy to sharpen"" in ""Japanese"" standard! Much harder than any European chisels. It should be around 62 HRC from what I felt when sharpening my chisel.

You can see how the both edge (mimi) of the steel is bent and beautifully forged. This is where it needs to be done properly otherwise it would be hard to sharpen as well as using it. Many cheap chisels that uses unforged combined metal (riki-zai) don't have these bent edges, and even with the forged ones the bent edges of the steel tend to be uneven and ugly. Those are B quality tools.

The Handle material is Japanese Red Oak. It sands to a nice sheen.

It has probably been forged using pine charcoal (mokutan yaki-ire). The low heat of the charcoal is the best way to bring out the most out of any kind of steel, since it does not over heat the steel that causes decarbonization (makes the steel soft!) Charcoal blacksmithing is as good as gone in Japan, because of its cost and tough labor. Only couple of the top artist like blacksmiths uses this technique nowadays, and only for very expensive high end models."

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