Ever wondered how it feels to experience ancient art unfold right in front of you? Well, you sure can’t travel back in time, but if you’re into carpenting, you can easily purchase a classic Japanese chisel and feel the aura of Japanese steel.
We’re not bluffing! The art of making Japanese chisels is a protected art in Japan, and very few people actually know the process.
Enough said about history and art, let’s be realists. Japanese chisels don’t just have ancient historical value, they are very efficient carpenter tools.
The best Japanese chisels aren’t very difficult to find, but you should be picking one that suits your purpose the most. On that note, we are here to help.
KAKURI 3-Piece Wood Chisel Set
5 out of 5
HACHIEMON 3-Piece Wood Chisel Set
5 out of 5
Narex 852100 3 Japanese Style Dovetail Chisels
4.5 out of 5
Yataro Authentic Japanese Chisel Set
4 out of 5
KAKURI Premium Grade Japanese Chisel
4.5 out of 5
What are Japanese Chisels & Benefits of Using it?
Before going for a Japanese chisel, one should know what exactly these sacred tools are, and why they are so decorated & celebrated around the world. Japanese steel is famous for being fatally sharp. Let’s see if chisels are the same or not!
The tradition of making quality chisels started around 1000 years ago. The Japanese were always stellar with their crafts and arts. They made some of the best steel weapons in the world.
Japanese chisels came to light through a similar process, by using high-quality steel and treating it in a special, sacred way.
The target was to achieve perfection on chisels, and they surely did.
Advantages of Using Japanese Chisels
The first and most obvious reasons to pick a Japanese chisel are quality and durability. It is of no surprise that the Japanese blacksmiths have their own technique of using and treating steel. The chisels that they produce are bound to last long. They can resist abrasion by a great margin.
These are much sharper and stronger than the others available on the market. The makers use different types of steel, and most of them are hardened to a much higher degree compared to the western ones.
As a result, you get a steel blade hardened over 64 Rockwell points that can resist impacts and cut through easily. The longevity, effectiveness, and quality should be reason enough for people to buy these.
Our Recommended Best Japanese Chisels On The Market
Enough about benefits. It’s time for you to have a good look at our meticulously created list of some of the top Japanese chisels available. Help yourself!
1. KAKURI 3-Piece Japanese Wood chiselsSet
Quality products often come with a high price tag. While the price is generally justified, people do crave premium items at an affordable rate. This chisel set from Kakuri will surely be a great option for people like these.
It is an excellent option for woodworkers and fellow DIY enthusiasts, as it will surely provide smooth finishes.
This one is made from high carbon steel, a premium set of carbon excellent for light work. It is categorized as medium quality high carbon steel, a quality good enough for basic carpentry.
The handle is made from Oakwood. And, the blades are a combination of soft and hard steel - combined and compiled together. These are great options because of the sharp edges.
It comes with different size options and a well-detailed manual, too. Language won’t be a barrier for you if you want to learn the art of Japanese culture with this chisel, because the manual comes in English.
Inside the wooden box provided, you will be getting 3 different sized wooden chisels with different dimensions.Highlighted Features:
2. HACHIEMON 3-Piece Japanese Woodworking Chisels
Endurance is very essential when it comes to wood chisels. Retaining the edge is crucial because once a chisel loses its edge, it becomes just another useless tool.
In this 3-piece set, Hachiemon made sure their chisel can endure most calamities and hold its edge in any scenario. Now that they’ve proven themselves to be worthy of being on the list, let’s get to the details.
Versatility is another great feature of this Japanese tool. All 3 pieces come in different shapes and sizes, and you can even add the handle with a sledgehammer for different uses.
This here is a beautiful chisel set with excellent sharpness because of the Japanese technique used. Overall, this is a handy and affordable product that is underrated, to say the least.Highlighted Features:
3. Narex 852100 3 Piece Set Japanese Dovetail Chisels
This is another quality product at an affordable price. Narex is a very interesting brand. They make their chisels in the Czech Republic, but follow the art and design of Japanese chisels. Because of that, they may not be as authentic as the others, but they do follow the authentic style.
Considering you will be getting this at a very low rate, this could easily be the top value product on this list.
This brand is famous for making Japanese dovetail chisels that are close to the authentic ones. The angles of their blades are fascinating and right on point. Moreover, the chisel handles are made from European Beechwood. They are sturdy for sure.
The steel they use is a tempered chrome manganese steel, and it is hardened to RC59. Firmly tempered steel isn’t the only good thing about these Japanese woodworking chisels though, because you are getting a couple of antique brass ferrules alongside the handle to provide balance and strengthen it even more.
Just sharpen it before using, and enjoy one of the top-quality Japanese dovetail chisels available in the whole world!Highlighted Features:
4. Yataro Authentic Japanese Chisel Set
Yataro is what a premium, elite Japanese chisel looks like. They’re relatively expensive and yet one of the most popular chisels out there. Every penny spent on this majestic tool is worth it. If money isn’t an issue for you, and you’re a professional looking for sheer quality, we might have just found your match!
Let’s start with the main component - the blade, and its quality. These are fully hand-forged with laminated high carbon steel from the heart of Japan. The high carbon steel is of premium quality. It is a perfect blend of hard and soft steel.
This steel is hardened to HRC63, which is already better than most other western chisels out there.
In a quality chisel, something you must check is the edge. If the edge isn’t sharp enough, you won’t get a smooth performance. This one will give you that smooth experience without even needing to sharpen them.
Yes, it might come as a surprise but all you have to do is wipe it with Waterstone and the chisel is back to being all effective!
The handle is made from Japanese Red Oak (Akargashi). You’re getting heavy-duty steel rings alongside it to provide extra balance. The backside is hollow ground to ensure that you don’t come in contact with the blade while working.Highlighted Features:
5. KAKURI Premium Grade Japanese 6-piece Chisel Set
Let us introduce you to one of the finest blades available in not only Japan but the world. We are talking about the famous Japanese Aogami steel, also known as the super-sharp blue paper steel known to be used only in premium knives and blades. You will find the same blade in this magnificent chisel.
This is a top-class Japanese chisel that comes in a set of 6 different sizes. It is a premium woodworking tool cherished and praised by both DIY enthusiasts and professional woodworkers.
From fancy furniture to DIY jobs, it can do it all. It has a very sturdy body. And, it can withstand pressure from sledgehammers. Moreover, the manufacturer has provided an English instruction manual for easy use.
Coming back to the beautiful steel - the Aogami steel has a Damascus pattern. It is one of the sharpest objects available. With a multi-layer steel ingot made from layered soft steel, this blade shows clear efficiency. It is an authentic professional tool that should be handled carefully.
The manufacturer used high-quality evergreen oak as a handle. The set comes in a beautiful paulownia box.Highlighted Features:
6. Grizzly Industrial G7102
Blades made in Japan and chisels made in the USA - this is a unified work of two industrialist nations. And, the outcome came out as a success. Japan does it best when it comes to blades, and Americans are good with forgery.
Together, they have prepared a set of chisels with 10 different dimensions and sizes. The blade is tough, sharp, and effective while the body is quite durable.
Blades of this Japanese wood chisel set are made from high carbon alloy hardened to the Rockwell level of 63° 2. Alongside this, you will be getting a laminated steel blade hardwood socket for steadying the chisel while working.
A crucial point about this set of blades is that they’re very light yet quite sturdy. The whole set weighs just around 2.8 pounds. Moreover, with 10 different chisels, you get to fine-tune your woodwork even better.
All you have to do is sharpen the blade with Waterstone or water-rock before every use. This will provide a good result while maintaining your blade’s durability.
The best feature is yet to unfold though. You will be getting an authentic Japanese blade and excellent build at a very low price. Yes, even though premium materials are used in the making, this chisel is comparatively inexpensive.Highlighted Features:
7. Marukatsu 5 Piece Japanese White Steel Chisel Set
Enough about inexpensive and budget chisels, here comes a classic chisel set from one of the most popular chisel brands. This is a set of five meticulously crafted chisels made with the authentic and sacred technique of Japanese blacksmiths.
From quality to durability to comfort - this chisel set will provide you all, and even a bit more!
First things first, the blade. The material of these blades comes from hand-forged laminated Japanese white steel, commonly known as Yasuki Shirogami. It is one of the finest blades in Japan. The blade is then hardened to an HRC63+ hardness - so a short-lasting edge will never be an issue.
Furthermore, the handle comes from Akagashi or Japanese Red Oakwood, which is sturdy, to say the least. They even provided a heavy-duty steel ring for support and balance.
To ensure that the backside doesn’t come in contact with the work area, they have added single hollow grounds in the back of these chisels. This is a premium chisel, and it should be treated as one.
Only sharpen it with Waterstone or water-rock, and wiggle it gently while working. This is a piece of work that doesn’t come cheap. It deserves to be one of the best Japanese chisels available.Highlighted Features:
8. Hosco Tataki Nomi INM Chisels From Japan
Finally, a no-nonsense Japanese chisel from Tataki Nomi, one of the most successful and reliable Japanese chisel brands. It doesn’t come with a set of different chisels. Rather, it is a straightforward single product that can be used in many ways.
It is a durable, strong, and useful chisel that didn’t care much about design, rather cared about performance.
This chisel is 25 mm long and is an authentic product from Japan. It comes with hollow ground handles to reduce friction, and alloy steel line backs for proper balance and support.
In short, it is a sturdy and durable chisel that can withstand any pressure put against it. At the same time, it is quite light, being a great option for beginners.
If you’re just tasting the waters in carpentry and might switch to other hobbies or professions, this can be an excellent inexpensive pick for you. It is easygoing, portable, and does its work effortlessly. While it may lack a bit on the exterior aesthetics, it does what it is supposed to do best - chisel wood.Highlighted Features:
9. Kazu Japanese Chisels
Hand-forged chisels take time to be made. They are reasonably expensive, or at least that’s what people say if they haven’t come across these Kazu chisels yet.
Yes, even though it doesn’t seem real, from Kazu, you get excellent quality hand-forged Japanese chisel sets at a very affordable price!
Kazu means harmony, which you’ll surely feel once you start working with their chisels.
This tool is made from laminated white paper steel. The steel is laminated on a wrought iron center, and the process ensures super easy sharpening. It also creates a border even in the toughest of woods. A canvas tool roll also comes with this set, which can store and protect at least 8 chisels.
These are tang chisels with ferrule covers. Most famous Japanese chisels are struck by hammers to do different carpentry work, and with this one comes a special hoop at the limit. This hoop can be permanently attached. It will be able to withstand sheer pressure.
Overall, this is an inexpensive tool that has the quality of a premium chisel.Highlighted Features:
10. Fujikawa Okyo Japanese Chisel Set
This is a jumbo chisel set with 10 different sizes and shapes of chisels. The more the merrier after all, right? But it’s not all about the amount, because we always believe in quality over quantity when it comes to choosing top-tier Japanese wood chisels.
Unsurprisingly, this chisel set from renowned brand Fujikawa is all about quality and productivity. From the steel to the performance, this is a top-notch chisel for sure!
These are professional grade chisels made from quality white steel. The blade is made by laminating a layer of white steel to a softer steel body.
This technique ensures it is shiny and smooth. Their handles are made from Japanese Red Oakwood. They are pretty sturdy and solid.
To ensure proper support and balance, the handle comes with a quality black steel hoop that can be attached to the original chisel. The whole set comes in a decorated wooden box that is perfect for storage.Highlighted Features:
Japanese Chisels Comparison Chart
Number of Chisels
0.35", 0.59”, 0.94"
0.35", 0.59", 0.94"
¼”, ½”, ¾”
⅜”, ½”, ⅝”
High Carbon Steel
6 mm, 12 mm, 19 mm, 25 mm, 32 mm, 38 mm
Japanese Aogami Steel
Grizzly Industrial G7102
⅛”, ¼”, ⅜”, ½”, ⅝”, ¾”, ⅞”, 1”, 1-¼”, 1-½”
High Carbon Steel
1/4", 1/2", 1", 1-1/4", 1-1/2"
Japanese White Steel
Hosco Tataki Nomi INM
Kazu Japanese Chisels
¼”, ½”, ¾”, 1”
White Paper Steel
3mm, 6mm, 9mm, 12mm, 15mm, 18mm, 24mm, 30mm, 36mm, and 42mm
Japanese Chisels Buying Guide
By now you’re well accustomed to different Japanese chisels available. Before diving deep into the market, you need to know and double-check a few things. Give this section a read right away!
First things first, be clear about what you plan to do with the chisel or chisel set. If you’re just trying your luck in woodworking, there’s no point spending money on a 10-piece set of authentic Japanese chisels. So, first, set your priority straight. Select the number of different chisels you need.
Once you’re done with that, decide if you want a specialized chisel or just the standard chisels available. Japanese chisels are already special, but some types do basic carpentry and some do precise cuts and fancy designs. Decide wisely according to your preference.
Another thing that depends on your preference is the size and shape of your chisels. They usually come in a set. A set contains chisels of different sizes, but you need to figure out which set is good for you.
For example, if your work revolves around large projects, you will be needing bigger chisels. Sure, smaller ones can do the work as well, but they will consume a lot of time.
Similarly, smaller projects require finesse and precision, which is only possible with smaller chisels. So, it is entirely up to you and your tasks. All we can suggest is for you to keep a versatile set of small and large chisels so that they can come in handy whenever you need them!
Japanese isn’t the only type of chisels available in the market. There are plenty of other types, and they aren’t bad either. You might actually find your preferred chisel outside the Japanese list if you at least know the basic types of chisels.
Mortising chisels are a common tool throughout the world. They are good for heavy-duty actions, unlike corner chisels who specialize in smaller, more precise works.
And then there are skew chisels for delicate cuts and sophistication. Last but not the least, the bench and butt chisels are interesting options as a pair, because they can do everything. They just require a little more space.
The sharpening process is something to be noted. Some quality Japanese chisels don’t require sharpening. Just wiping them with water does the trick. By contrast, some require regular sharpening to function properly.
Then there are a few ones that require one-time sharpening and remain sharp for a long period. All you have to do is pick the best option based on your budget and opinion.
We are not talking about just any blade, we are talking about the Japanese blade, one of the best in the world. The steel quality must come to light here as well. In general, the high carbon, the white, and the blue steel are the most common components in these chisel blades.
Among them, high carbon is relatively cost-effective. White steel is easy to sharpen, and blue steel gives you better stability and endurance.
It falls under your jurisdiction yet again, because we don’t know about your budget or preferences. For a good quality Japanese chisel, we would suggest either white or blue steel.
Japanese Wood Chisel Maintenance and Take Care Guide
Japanese chisels are artistic tools. To properly use the best Japanese chisels; you need to get a heads up on how to take care of them.
Use Protective Caps
Since these are no ordinary chisels, you need to keep one thing strictly in mind - safety. These are made of the Japanese blade, one of the sharpest in the world. Leaving them out in the open can be rather disastrous and risky for you and your family.
Then there is the risk of stains and dirt settling on the chisel if not kept properly without a cover. This is why you need protective caps for your chisel. Some chisel sets come with this important accessory. If yours does not come with caps, we would suggest you buy a few for your chisels.
Manage a Storage Case
Coming back to the safety issues, keeping these sharp objects in a stored box is a prerequisite to safety. Luckily for you, most of the products in our Japanese chisels review come with quality wooden boxes. Sometimes, the boxes even come with single chisel products.
But even if they somehow don’t come in a box, get one yourself because it is essential for your safety.
Use the Right Sharpening Tool
Sharpening tools are of different types, each with its own positive and negative aspects. In general, you can use a Waterstone to sharpen your blades. Or, you can use the honing oil with sharpening stones to have a smooth, quick outcome.
Waterstones are specialized for premium steel like white or blue steel, while sharpening stone goes with most of the steels available. You need to check the manual and instructions on sharpening tools and work accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why are Japanese Chisels So Special?
Answer: Japanese chisels are made with an ancient and sacred technique to ensure optimum sharpness and efficiency. They have a special procedure for forging irons. The products that they come up with are destined to last long and work well.
But it’s not just the Japanese blade or the classic design, they are genuinely good quality chisels that can keep up with your work for years.
2. How Do I Use Waterstones for Sharpening My Chisel?
Answer: The process is fairly simple and easy. This is probably why many people tend to use Waterstone these days. All you have to do is soak the Waterstone in water for 10 minutes before using it.
Once you’re done, place a towel under the stone, position your chisel to 30-35 degrees and start sharpening. You’d be amazed to see the quality of the sharpening!
3. What is the Purpose of Honing Oil?
Answer: Honing oil or cutting oil is a special kind of oil used to lubricate the sharpening stone before sharpening a chisel. Sharpening stones are not always smooth enough for the chisel blade to go seamlessly. With the honing oil, the blade can move freely at a stretch.
4. White or Blue- Which Steel is Better for Chisels?
Answer: Both blue and white steel in Japanese chisels are hardened to such a point that they easily get sharpened and don’t hold off the edge. However, white steels are easier to sharpen, while blue steels have better endurance.
Blue steel ensures long resistance to abrasion, unlike white steel. So in terms of longevity, we would say that blue steel is better.
5. What is the Difference Between Sharpening Stone and Waterstone?
Answer: Sharpening stones and Waterstones have similar purposes, but different textures and ways of working. On one hand, sharpening stones take a relatively long time to sharpen the blades. They often require honing oil to smoothen the process. But, they are versatile and work well with all kinds of blades.
Waterstones are relatively more sophisticated. They require soaking in water and a specific angle of sharpening. Apart from these differences, both are good sharpening tools.
Japanese chisels aren’t just your regular carpentry tool, they are a reflection of Japanese craft and culture. Having them in your workstation wouldn’t just increase the interior aesthetics, they would do the job better than most other chisels available.
So, it’s a no-brainer that you should add them to your toolset. That being said, we hope you can pick the right one for you from the list of best Japanese chisels. Best of luck on your woodworking journey!
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