If your looking for a gift for that special woodworker on your list, here’s a Japanese Chisel Set that has a couple of key advantages: It’ll show off your exceptional taste in fine had tool, and it’s on sale for a really great price.
Japanese chisels are a little off the beaten track, and have what many call the advantage of being made differently from Western chisels. Following the same basic principle employed in the making of samurai swords, Japanese chisels are made with two layers of steel – a hard tool-steel layer that holds the sharp edge, and a softer, springier one designed to carry it. The reason for doing things this way is that the tool needs to be both very sharp and have some amount of give and resistance to shock at the same time. The very hard (and also very brittle) layer of tool steel is kept from breaking in two by the softer, more pliable supporting layer.
Each chisel in this set is individually tempered to a Rockwell – C hardness scale factor of 62-64 (for comparison, the range for good Western chisels is about 58 – 62).This particular set of chisels is made using “white steel”, which is reported to be among the least frail of the types used. Because of that, the chisels a little more suited to daily use, and won’t require an excessive amount of special care to keep them in good condition.
You can go a long way for a set of Japanese chisels (to Japan to seek out and compare the work of individual makers, if you really want to get serious) and you can certainly spend a lot more. This is a solid and respectable set, and usually goes for around $90. Right now you can have Rockler send it to you for around $60.