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  1. #1
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    Default Japanese Blacksmiths

    Information provided by soatoz

    Chiyozuru Korehide
    :
    1875~1957. Revered as genius blacksmith. He charged 100 times more than other blacksmiths for his tools but spent 200 times more effort, so he was never rich. Rented and lived in a small chicken shack that was reformed into a small room. His tools are either used up and gone or in a perfect unused condition kept by collectors. His master was Ishidoh Korekazu Toshinaga, great grandfather of Ishidoh Hideo who has just passed away.

    Chiyozuru Sadahide (Kanki Yoshiroh, and his son Iwao):
    Famous plane maker from Miki. Kanki admired Chiyozuru Korehide so much that he was finally given the name Chiyozuru Sadahide from the great master, but has less connection to Korehide's technique and style. Now his son Sadahide II is creating great tools. Sadahide's planes are renowned for its beautiful decorative finish.

    Hasegawa Kouzaburou:
    Considered as the god of hammersmith, from Sanjyo, Niigata. Master of Doushin-sai Masayuki another famous hammersmith who is still producing masterpiece hammers. Kouzaburou was shocked when he saw Chiyozuru's tools when he went to Tokyo for the first time. He was particularly impressed by Chiyozuru's outstanding workmanship of the hammers, and thus decided to concentrate just on hammers and hopefully surpass Chiyozuru's artistic quality.

    Hidari Ichihiro (Yamazaki Shouzoh):
    The most revered modern chisel maker, from Nakano city in Tokyo. The 3rd generation Yamazaki Shouzou has just passed away, and there is no successor taking after him. Originally they called themselves Ichihiro, but some unknown chisel maker registered the name and started selling fake Ichihiro chisel. Being unable to use Ichihiro for their brand name, Mr. Yamazaki added "Hidari (left)" and flipped around the Kanji (Chinese characters) for Ichihiro for his branding stamp. Specializes in White steel #1.

    Ishidoh:
    One of the most revered plane blade maker from Tokyo (has recently relocated to Tochigi prefecture next to Tokyo.) Ishidoh family has been a retained swordsmith for the Shogun since Edo period. They turned tool blacksmith after the Meiji government banning sword making in 1868. Now the 16th generation, Ishidoh Yoshitaka has been helping his father for 20 yrs and is gradually starting to sell HIS tools after his father's recent death.

    Mosaku (Kanda Kikuo):
    One of the rare Tokyo blacksmith who is still in production. He focuses on making the highest quality planes with various artistic patterns on the blade. One of the tools that makes the tool fanatics froth. Also very famous among Kezrou-kai members as well.

    Tasai (father & son):
    Tasai Akio and his son Michio is a renowned chisel maker from Sanjyo city in Niigata prefecture. Their "mokume-shiage (woodgrain finish)" chisel is well known even out side of Japan. The steel they use is quite unique. It is Blue steel #1.5, a specially ordered steel from Yasuki steel company. Although they use Blue steel, their tools are easier to sharpen because of their special hardening process.

    Usui Kengo:
    Born in 1928. One of the most revered plane blade makers from Yoita city next to Sanjyo. Usui specializes in making high quality planes that are made of his original steels. He uses various alloys as well as carbon steels. "Kenmei" is one of the most famous planes in Japan which uses a special kind of Super blue steel haut coutured by Yasuki steel co.

    Yokoyama Kunio:
    The only remaining blacksmith who can forge tools from Tougou-reigou steel. Old fashioned type of blacksmith, with a one of a kind attitude (but basically very kind.) When he doesn't like his customer, he doesn't sell his tools. And he doesn't like MANY customers (sigh...) so he is very poor. Definitely one of the best blacksmith from Japan. In my personal opinion he is THE best.
    Last edited by Groggy; 11th Mar 2007 at 02:55 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Great info!
    Jim

  4. #3
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    Has anyone heard of Yamawaku who lives and works in in Sanjyo Niigata. He is a 2nd or 3rd generation smith who uses old anchor chain and cast fitting from the 19th century to forge folded steel knives and plane blades.

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by hybridfiat View Post
    Has anyone heard of Yamawaku who lives and works in in Sanjyo Niigata. He is a 2nd or 3rd generation smith who uses old anchor chain and cast fitting from the 19th century to forge folded steel knives and plane blades.
    Hi,

    Hmm, I thought I was basically familiar with all Sanjo blacksmiths but I haven't heard of Yamawaku-san....

    Every blacksmith uses old anchor chains and cast fitting from the 19th century by the way(^^)

  6. #5
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    hi all, i was wondering if anyone knows of a chisel maker that goes by:

    千虎 or 干虎

    if those don't show up, the kanji looks like sen (1,000) or hosu (to dry up) followed by tora (tiger)

    so....
    chidora/chitora or
    sendora/sentora or
    kandora/kantora ?????

    or are these mass-produced chisels?

    thanks!

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by macpiper View Post
    hi all, i was wondering if anyone knows of a chisel maker that goes by:

    千虎 or 干虎

    if those don't show up, the kanji looks like sen (1,000) or hosu (to dry up) followed by tora (tiger)

    so....
    chidora/chitora or
    sendora/sentora or
    kandora/kantora ?????

    or are these mass-produced chisels?

    thanks!
    Hmm, that's thousand tigers (probably sen-ko) alright, and probably wholesaler brand. Can't tell if they are mass produced or not without the photos.

    Thanks

  8. #7
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    the chisel

    not mine, but i borrowed it from a local shop i massacre wood at so i could practice sharpening and flattening. the chisel was in bad shape when i got it...well it's not in great shape now, but it is definately in better shape. any ideas if it is mass produced? or one of those lost gems....i'm assuming the former.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by macpiper View Post
    the chisel

    not mine, but i borrowed it from a local shop i massacre wood at so i could practice sharpening and flattening. the chisel was in bad shape when i got it...well it's not in great shape now, but it is definately in better shape. any ideas if it is mass produced? or one of those lost gems....i'm assuming the former.
    Hi, I need to see the lamination line and the back hollow as well (if there's any left...), also better if you could show me the whole ghing as well.

    Thanks

  10. #9
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    So,
    Do you have any info on Kunikei?
    Cheers,
    Clinton

    "Use your third eye" - Watson

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/clinton_findlay/

  11. #10
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    the new photos have been uploaded to the same link as above. let me know if this is not what you need.

  12. #11
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    Here's some info on Kunikei, from So's website.

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by soatoz View Post
    Hi,

    Hmm, I thought I was basically familiar with all Sanjo blacksmiths but I haven't heard of Yamawaku-san....

    Every blacksmith uses old anchor chains and cast fitting from the 19th century by the way(^^)
    Yes I know this is an old thread - been a while since I've been to WWF OK

    I bought one of his hand forged san mai nakiris about a year ago and it has become one of my favourite kitchen knives.

    Have since ordered another 2 nakiris and a gyuto - even been tempted to get a couple of his santokus even though I dislike that style intensely

    He could be making the cladding out of old anchor chains or even crab pots for all I care - whatever he uses for the cladding it sure resists rust. What really matters to me is that the cutting edge is made from Takefu V2 and while this will rust if you aren't rigorous on blade maintenance -it takes and holds a really fine edge as well as being a great cutting steel (not all steels cut the same).

    Haven't seen any of his woodworking tools recently - he still makes some utility knives but seems to be focussing on kitchen knives which are gaining a reputation for perfoming well above their selling price. Pity they're not readily available in larger sizes as this would take them out of the home kitchen and into the professional arena

  14. #13
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    Hello, I am fairly new to the world of Japanese tools.. however I have been using some very used chisels and kanna from ebay for some time. So I feel that I am ready to treat myself to some new tools that actually have substantial hollows.. or are not cracked (as my kanna blade is.. but it still works BTW)..
    I am curious though about some other blacksmiths that are not listed here. I am considering a purchase of Yamahiro chisels. I am of the opinion that completely hand-made (without power equipment) is something that I value in my own work and so wish to find blacksmiths that operate in the same manner. So I would love to see some descriptions of the working method of blacksmiths.. Yamahiro, Tsunesaburo, Funihiro, Fujihiro, Ouchie, Nishiki, Iyoroi, Miyanaga, Matsumura.. to name a few.

  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ObairLaimhe View Post
    , Tsunesaburo, Funihiro, Fujihiro, Ouchie, Nishiki, Iyoroi, Miyanaga, Matsumura.. to name a few.
    Yamahiro, not sure.

    Tsunesaburo, google 'Tsunesaburo plane' and click 'road trip' for a few pictures and explanations. (Caveat; This is my blog.)

    Funihiro, not sure.

    Ouchi, Ouchi website. click around and you'll turn up plenty of info and video.

    Nishiki, not sure.

    Iyoroi, mostly power and I'm not interested to be honest.

    Miyanaga, no info on the internet that I know of, I'll ask him in a couple weeks if you want me to.

    Matsumura, who knows? Information here in Japan about them is virtually non existent and I can only buy their chisels from a single obscure online store. Never been really tempted to be honest. I do have one possible address in a blacksmith's listing for the Sanjo area, but considering how easy nearly any other maker is to find, and how difficult it is to find any information about these, one has to wonder.

    Believe me, there's 100 times more info about Matsumura in English than in Japanese, and that quite frankly scares me.


    To be completely honest, you are unlikely to find a 'completely hand made Japanese tool' unless it has the special little sticker on it, certifying it was made by traditional methods. That little sticker is difficult to get, and adds to the price of anything with it on it. It's also tightly controlled, and that's the ONLY way to be sure for anyone outside of Japan to get a genuine, fully hand made tool.

    Otherwise, it'll all be done with power hammers and power blowers on forges, power grinders and stamping machines.

    Sorry if that bursts your bubble a little, but that's just how it is.

    Stu.

    Who's off to see half the folks in your list in a couple weeks and plenty that are not on your list too. Expecting a big handshake from Mr. Uozumi Snr. at Tsunesaburo after what I sent him this morning too...
    The Tools from Japan Blog (about Japanese tools and such)
    &
    The Tools from Japan Store.

  16. #15
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    Thanks for the info.. yeah it's a modern world. I guess that's why I am so into hand made things, archaic ways etc. However I can't let a hang up like that totally block me from doing my work.. I do use electric lights.. oh and computers..(but not in my woodwork!)

    Thanks again! If anyone else has some info though I would love to see it!

    BTW this is a great forum!

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