Tools From Japan?
#21
  Re: Tools From Japan? by Aram (Has anyone heard fro...)
I haven't been in contact with Stu in a number of years, I remember he was involved in some type of woodworking forum which turned into an over moderated site, I always thought he a decent guy, but some of the others involved in the forum (names slip me) seems a bit myopic. It was their forum, their choices, so I didn't have any problem with it. I pick and choose where I participate.

But I noticed that it seems Woodcraft may have bought Japan Woodworker, is that what happened?

When Japan Woodworker was local in Alameda, I used to go over there. I have a full set of Matsumura blue steel bench chisels. I bought them about 10 years ago. At the time they were about $25-$35 each...on the Japan Woodworker site they are now listed at about $80-$125 each. It seems that Matsumura is getting old and I'm not sure if that is driving the prices up or not, but that's crazy silly prices on those chisels, and the site says you order now for November 1st delivery.

Don't get me wrong, they're great chisels, but geez, they're not 3x better than they were 10 years ago.

I have a lot of vintage chisels also...I don't have any shortage of chisels, but for my hands I like the Japanese chisels. I know Japanese tools are pricey, but it would cost about $1200-$1500 for a full set up to 1".

Has Japanese chisels, Matsumura specific, gone up so much in price? Or is that just because Woodcraft owns them?

Cheers,
Alan
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#22
  Re: Tools From Japan? by Aram (Has anyone heard fro...)
I believe it to be combination of reasons for the pricing to be where it is. I have three Matsumura chisels, bought over the past decade, and they are one of my chisels of choice for dovetailing (along with round back AI).

Here is how I look at the current price: you can work through several lesser brands ntil you find your forever chisel, or you can buy quality one at a time from the start. For the record, although I have a number of socket chisels, I've never viewed them as more than a carpenter's tool, albeit with some refined enough for fine work. I have many dozens of vintage tang chisels, and, even though not used regularly, are far more capable of fine work. Why, some may ask? To me they generally feel more refined in size, and that is also something that could be said about true Japanese chisels (Matsumara and not Narex) and the AI roundbacks.
Waiting to grow up beyond being just a member
http://www.metaltech-pm.com
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#23
  Re: Tools From Japan? by Aram (Has anyone heard fro...)
I am not a tool collector, shopper, or hoarder. I do compare and evaluate what I have in hand and will steer my trust, when necessary for that, to makers with excellent credentials and products. 

Most currently made chisels of name quality--I exclude Grizzly--are in the near c-note price range. That's a lot of money to me, but as in finally watching my dog's groomer have him in hand for 3 hours constantly working, she is worth just as much. I haven't thought 25-cents an hour wage was good since I was of single digit age. 

Stu is, or was, living in Japan and sourced tools locally. I trusted his offerings and grounded no-nonsense descriptions of those tools. My purchases matched his descriptions.
Bruce
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#24
  Re: RE: Tools From Japan? by hbmcc (I am not a tool coll...)
(08-12-2018, 09:01 AM)Tony Z Wrote: Here is how I look at the current price:  you can work through several lesser brands ntil you find your forever chisel, or you can buy quality one at a time from the start.

I'm with you here, and following you, but I have to stand back and ask myself, "self, if you were buying a set of chisels today, would you invest in Matsumuras given their price point?". 10 years ago the Matsumuras were slightly cheaper than the LN chisels, and actually similar in price had one collected a full set of Stanleys...nowadays the Matsumura are about 50% more in cost than a typical LN chisel. If you were using your chisels for work it would be easy to justify. I think it's like all things Japanese, they became in fashion because of the products they produced for themselves. This is exactly what happened with cars also...there is also a certain amount of coolness factor in how the Japanese use traditional methods to make their tools, a dying art for certain...

(08-12-2018, 09:01 AM)Tony Z Wrote: For the record, although I have a number of socket chisels, I've never viewed them as more than a carpenter's tool, albeit with some refined enough for fine work.  I have many dozens of vintage tang chisels, and, even though not used regularly, are far more capable of fine work.  Why, some may ask?  To me they generally feel more refined in size, and that is also something that could be said about true Japanese chisels (Matsumara and not Narex) and the AI roundbacks.

That pretty much sums it up for how I feel about them. I also have a bunch of vintage chisels, I have a drawer on one of my Kennedy cabinets that is filled with chisels. I consider those to be for everyday use, and even use a few with detail work. Just good to have a 1/4" and 3/8" to use when needed. For any cabinet work specific I would use the Matsumuras.

(08-12-2018, 12:21 PM)hbmcc Wrote: I am not a tool collector, shopper, or hoarder.

Whoa Bruce, where 'ya going with this? Laugh j/k

I don't think of myself as a collector, or even a hoarder, but I like to have fairly complete tooling, so am the type of person that wants a full set of chisels, the joinery saws I need, a set of bench planes, etc...just stuff you need in the shop. I have a lot of tools, but I typically don't get a lot of duplicates, not these days...when I was first getting started I could probably have been considered more of a hoarder, where I would just buy duplicates of ANYTHING, that holds true for chisels and backsaws. I only have a couple full size hand saws, good to have a rip/x-cut, IMO...but I don't use them very frequently as I will opt to dimension with power tools... Rolleyes

(08-12-2018, 12:21 PM)hbmcc Wrote: Stu is, or was, living in Japan and sourced tools locally. I trusted his offerings and grounded no-nonsense descriptions of those tools. My purchases matched his descriptions.

Yes, as a matter of fact I lived in Japan for about 5 years of my life, but it was before I was interested in woodworking or metalworking. I used to live in a small apartment in Nishi-Shinjuku, that's the west side of Shinjuku. Stu's family has a liquor store in Shinjuku, but more east from where I lived. Same area of Tokyo though. Ironically my family owned a liquor store in SouthEast L.A. when I was a kid. I grew up working for them, our store was about 6 blocks away from where the Watts riots broke out in the 60s. Not as nice as Shinjuku, but a strange type of irony between me and Stu. As you probably know, Stu is from Canada.

I do appreciate and own a variety of Japanese tools, but aren't married to them. I have one Japanese saw as an example, but don't use it too often. It's not an expensive one but it works. I mostly use saws that I have made myself. I have a set of Matsumura bench chisels, I love how they feel and are my goto chisels. I use these more than any other chisels when I'm doing serious work.

So yeah, I speak Japanese and can get around, but haven't been there in a number of years. My in-laws are getting old and my wife and daughter had to visit this year, both of them being in 2 different hospitals... Prayer They just came back a couple weeks ago...and both in-laws are at home now.

But this is to say, I admire the type of joinery and craftsmanship the Japanese craftsmen perform. I love the way they wear those funny Tobis (renaissance looking pants) and Jika-Tabi (shoes with separated toes). Literally you can see workers dressed like that doing normal construction work in Japan, it's fascinating.

Stu is a very resourceful guy, the way he does urban milling...priceless. The shop he built in the basement of the store, classic...it is so typical of Japan. And yeah, I'm certainly bias but Japanese women are some of the kindest, gentlest and most polite women on earth. I wouldn't trade my wife for all the tools in the world, all of them come up short. Yes

Alan
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#25
  Re: Tools From Japan? by Aram (Has anyone heard fro...)
Alan, I don't believe anyone is attacking you or your tool sense. You may be jaded by possibly unfortunate experiences elsewhere. I spout dog-doo all the time and appreciate when the good folks here ignore it. Right now, I feel like I am an ant under the magnifying glass for just squeaking my thoughts.

So, like this post, you will know when the fickle finger of fate is pointed your way. No deep thinking, even shallow, is required.
Bruce
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#26
  Re: Tools From Japan? by Aram (Has anyone heard fro...)
Matsumura isn't the only decent chisel maker in Japan. Koyamaichi, Iyoroi, and others make decent chisels for a better price than Matsumura. It might be telling that Stu (Tools from Japan) doesn't sell Matsumura. He sells Koyamaichi, which are similarly priced to Lie Nielsen A2 bench chisels. Lee Valley also sells Koyamaichi dovetail chisels, which are pricey.
Still Learning,

Allan Hill
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#27
  Re: RE: Tools From Japan? by AHill (Matsumura isn't the ...)
(08-12-2018, 09:01 PM)AHill Wrote: Matsumura isn't the only decent chisel maker in Japan.  Koyamaichi, Iyoroi, and others make decent chisels for a better price than Matsumura.  It might be telling that Stu (Tools from Japan) doesn't sell Matsumura.  He sells Koyamaichi, which are similarly priced to Lie Nielsen A2 bench chisels.  Lee Valley also sells Koyamaichi dovetail chisels, which are pricey.

For what it's worth, I had a set of Matsumura blue steel chisels. They took a wicked edge but constantly chipped on me, even though I wasn't using them hard. I sold them. Stu set me up with Koyamaichis -- with the more delicate dovetail profile -- and I think I'd have to chop granite before they'd lose an edge, must less chip. I beat the heck out of them all the time, on very hard woods.

YMMV.
Best,
Aram, defying laws of geometry

"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: http://awacs.smugmug.com/Woodworking
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#28
  Re: RE: Tools From Japan? by Aram ([quote='AHill' pid='...)
(08-12-2018, 09:01 PM)AHill Wrote: Matsumura isn't the only decent chisel maker in Japan.
Allan, indeed not, but most seem to have gone up proportionally, whoever the maker is...most of those brands were available 10 years ago and still are, most all are good tools, IMO.

(08-12-2018, 09:12 PM)Aram Wrote: For what it's worth, I had a set of Matsumura blue steel chisels. They took a wicked edge but constantly chipped on me, even though I wasn't using them hard. I sold them. Stu set me up with Koyamaichis -- with the more delicate dovetail profile -- and I think I'd have to chop granite before they'd lose an edge, must less chip. I beat the heck out of them all the time, on very hard woods.

YMMV.

I haven't seen that myself, in fact, I have have smacked mine enough to knock the living daylights of of 'em and they haven't chipped. The 1/8" I have is a bit more fragile, I have chipped it once. But I put a new edge on it and haven't had a problem since. There are not very many makers that even made a 1/8" back then. Actually, that might not be a Matsumura, I would need to check.

Anyway, tools are tools, if you don't like 'em get some that you like...you'll be happier in the end. Sounds like your Koyamaichis do just that for you! Definite win.

Cheers,
Alan
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#29
  Re: RE: Tools From Japan? by Aram ([quote='AHill' pid='...)
(08-12-2018, 09:12 PM)Aram Wrote: For what it's worth, I had a set of Matsumura blue steel chisels. They took a wicked edge but constantly chipped on me, even though I wasn't using them hard. I sold them. Stu set me up with Koyamaichis -- with the more delicate dovetail profile -- and I think I'd have to chop granite before they'd lose an edge, must less chip. I beat the heck out of them all the time, on very hard woods.

YMMV.

Aaram,

That has not been my experience e with Matsumura chisels. I have been using Matsumura cabinet the chisels for over ten years and I have never had one chip on me. Thay do take a wicked edge and hold it a long time. I use them for joinery - dovetails, paring tenons, etc.; but I have also used them for some relatively heavy chopping with no serious problems. Perhaps, I've lucked out with my set, but I find nothing to complain about my Matsumuras.

Hank
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#30
  Re: RE: Tools From Japan? by Hank Knight ([quote='Aram' pid='7...)
(08-14-2018, 10:38 AM)Hank Knight Wrote: That has not been my experience e with Matsumura chisels. I have been using Matsumura cabinet the chisels for over ten years and I have never had one chip on me. Thay do take a wicked edge and hold it a long time. I use them for joinery - dovetails, paring tenons, etc.; but I have also used them for some relatively heavy chopping with no serious problems. Perhaps, I've lucked out with my set, but I find nothing to complain about my Matsumuras.

Hank,

Your experience mimics mine, but here's something to consider with Japanese chisels. I was just looking on Stu's site and he's got some pretty good prices. The blue steel Koyamaichi's are about $750 for a 10 piece and white steel for about $550. He also has some cheaper ones for about $350. Those prices are not bad for Japanese tools, IMO, and you should be able to use International Flat Rate from Japan.

The exchange rate has some to do with it, but I have always found Japanese tools are pricey.

When I look on the Japan Woodworker site I see outrageous prices, and that mimics my feeling in general with Japan Woodworker over the years. Towards the end they were jacking their prices up at whim. Not sure if Fred got greedy or what, but just sayin'...I didn't know they were still around, I went to the close out sale. I just haven't followed woodworking in a number of years. In contrast, Stu's prices today look attractive and I'm sure he sells the ones he feels are a good value.

There could be a lot of factors why Aram had chisels that chipped, it's not the first time I've heard that of Japanese chisels. I re-beveled all of mine since the Japanese usually set them a bit low. Most of the wood they work is softer, like Japanese cedar. I can't remember exactly what mine were, but I am pretty sure I re-beveled them to 30 degrees. Most of my paring chisels are American (Stanley 740 and similar), but I've always wanted some Japanese paring chisels. Anyway, all food for thought. If I was buying new chisels today, comparing a set of Matsurmuras for $1500+ I wouldn't buy them. I would consider the chisels Stu sells, they seem like a pretty good value in comparison to LNs, or even the AIs...any cheaper and one would need to get Narex, not a bad value. All tools are good...Yes

The old saying, get the best tools you can afford...it will make using them that much more satisfying.

Cheers,
Alan
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