Japanese Hatchets and Axes

Japanese Hatchets and Axes

Japanese hatchet and axe heads from Mizuno Seisakujo in Sanjo, Niigata Province are normally made with a 3-layer laminated steel head (Warikomi): there is a hard steel insert of 0.45% carbon steel in the middle for the cutting edge and two softer iron laminations to support it and form the rest of the head. The forest hatchet and the splitting axe are made of unlaminated steel. The axe handles, or hafts, are made of the sapwood of Japanese white oak.

With the individual Japanese axes and hatchets, in the second line we list the Japanese name provided by the manufacturer. These names are very inconsistent in Japan, and also vary a great deal by region. Masakari is translated, for instance, as "battle axe" but we have been assured that it is certainly not a weapon but simply means a hatchet with a broad blade. The generic term for "Axe or Hatchet" is rather Ono, or sometimes also Chouna. But the latter name is more frequently used to mean an "adze."

We translate the term Masakari here to differentiate it from the big axe used to split logs on a chopping block. But the head of the Masakari can be swung behind the head and the haft passes close to the head, in order to produce finely cut kindling. This head for also makes the Masakari an interesting option for sculptors.

The manufacturer of the Japanese splitting axe calls it a Kiwari, but in other areas the name Kiwari Ono is used for the type. The edge is very narrow, and so very thick, so as to be able to split well. The Kiwari Ono is normally a little lighter than Western splitting mauls, and so a somewhat longer haft is used.

The next hatchet we offer is the Bakin, a small, all purpose “kitchen” hatchet.

With our experience with the very different climate conditions between Japan and Central Europe, we needed to find a solution for problems we have experienced with Japanese hafted tools. In Japan, the air is always very humid, but in Europe rather drier. So when a haft is finish-fitted to an axe in Japan, and then stored by us here in Germany, it is possible that the haft will dry out and loosen up in the head, and in use the head can then fly off the haft. So originally we have arranged with the manufacturer that these tools are shipped to us with the haft only provisionally fitted to the head and the wedge only slightly inserted. But sometimes customers had the problem to disassemble this provisionally fitting. So now we are in the process to change to ship them unfitted. This will be a rolling change and therefore you will find a notice with the product description whether the specific item will be shipped provisionally fitted or unfitted. The user must finish the fitting of the haft and attachment of the head! This is best done after letting the wood acclimatize at least a week to the area where the axe will be stored and used. To fit the haft to the head, the shape of the end must be slightly reworked to fit into the hole in the axe head. For an exact fit, as much as one or two inches may need to be removed to completely fill the hole, or eye, in the head. We currently have a few axes in our store room that feature unfitted raw haft blanks. If you would like one of these tools, please write your preference in the Message field. Directions for shafting an axe

Important Note: Never use these axes as a hammer! Never use a hammer on the axe! The head and eye can become deformed and the shaft can become loose! Click on the photos for enlarged versions!

Japanese Hatchet
Japanese Hatchet
Warikomi Kariwaku Masakari

Forged from three layers of carbon steel
The head formed with the edge overlapping the haft at the bottom allows the hatched to be held very near the top of the haft for very fine work. It is an interesting alternative for sculptors!
Convex edge grind
Head Weight 670 g
Total Weight 870 g
Handle Length 330 mm
Edge Length 110 mm
Delivered with leather edge sheath
Axe head front view
Comes unfitted!
Order nr. 315810 cart
Price € 59.00
Japanese Hatchet
Japanese Hatchet
Warikomi Kariwaku Masakari

Forged from three layers of carbon steel
As above but with a heavier head and longer haft
Convex edge grind
Head Weight 850 g
Total Weight 1100 g
Handle Length 450 mm
Edge Length 125 mm
Delivered with leather edge sheath
Axe head front view
Comes unfitted!
Order nr. 315811 cart
Price € 79.00
Warikomi Bakin
Japanese Hatchet
Warikomi Bakin

Forged from three layers of carbon steel
A light, finely sharpened hatchet for light hewing.
Concave edge grind
Head Weight 500 g
Total Weight 680 g
Handle Length 330 mm
Edge Length 100 mm
Delivered with simple artificial leather edge sheath
Axe head front view
Comes unfitted!
Order nr. 315812 cart
Price € 39.00
Japanese Hatchet
Japanese Hatchet
Warikomi Typ

Forged from three layers of carbon steel
A small light hatchet for easy transport, ideal for hiking and camping. This hatchet is very similar to the well-known Western style.
Slightly concave edge grind
Head Weight 430 g
Total Weight 600 g
Handle Length 330 mm
Edge Length 80 mm
Delivered with simple artificial leather edge sheath
Axe head front view
Comes provisionally fitted!
Order nr. 315813 cart
Price € 45.00
Japanese Forest Hatchet
Japanese Forest Hatchet
Makiwari Ono

Forged from one piece of carbon steel
A somewhat heavy hatchet to trim downed trees and for splitting. This hatchet is also very close to the common Western design.
Slightly convex edge grind
Head Weight 700 g
Total Weight 1050 g
Handle Length 450 mm
Edge Length 72 mm
Delivered with simple artificial leather edge sheath
Axe head front view
Comes provisionally fitted!
Order nr. 315814 cart
Price € 68.00
Kiwari Ono
Japanese Splitting Axe
Kiwari Ono

Forged from one piece of carbon steel
Heavy, thick and featuring a short cutting edge this ax is an ideal tool for splitting wood.
Slightly concave edge grind for more splitting force
Head Weight 1370 g
Total Weight 2140 g
Handle Length 900 mm
Edge Length 70 mm
Delivered with leather edge sheath
Axe head front view
Comes provisionally fitted!
Order nr. 315815 cart
Price € 179.00
Stiel Weißeiche 330 mm
Stiel Weißeiche 450 mm
Stiel Weißeiche 900 mm
Hafts in Japanese White Oak for Japanese Hatchets and Axes

Haft in White Oak 330 mm long
Dimensions head, rectangular 38 x 15 mm
Dimensions end, oval 33 x 26 mm
Order nr. 315820 cart
Price € 14.00

Haft in White Oak 450 mm long
Dimensions head, rectangular 38 x 15 mm
Dimensions end, oval 33 x 26 mm
Order nr. 315821 cart
Price € 17.00

Haft in White Oak 900 mm long
Dimensions head, slightly trapezoidal 50 x 20 x 15 mm
Dimensions end, oval 33 x 26 mm
Order nr. 315823 cart
Price € 29.00
Wedge about 30 mm long
Keil 40 mm
Steel wedges for Japanese Hatchets and Axes

Wedge about 30 mm long
for hatchets
Order nr. 315830 cart
Price € 3.00

Wedge about 40 mm long
for the Splitting Axe
Order nr. 315831 cart
Price € 4.00
 
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