Mr. Matsumura’s smithy is just a few square meters in size. He works alone. From here we source a very limited quantity of chisels that we sell under the name "Koshimitsu." At the time these photos were taken, he was looking back on 55 years of living and working as a blacksmith.
In the first photo, Matsumura heats steel in a forge to a temperature of over 1200 °C. He usually starts work at night to take advantage of the cooler air.
Matsumura uses a traditional leaf-spring hammer. This type of hammer is part of every blacksmith’s toolkit in Japan. He uses neither dies nor forms to help him shape the steel into a chisel. All is done by eye, using only a hammer and anvil. It’s all up to the skill of the smith when forging the "Hagane" hard carbon steel, which forms the cutting edge, to the softer iron used for strength in the body and tang.
Only a master craftsman can produce chisels of this quality. At the bottom right in the photo you can see several forge-finished chisels waiting to be ground and fitted with handles.
The tang that projects into the chisel's handle is fashioned from the same piece of metal.