Bachi Nomi are designed to cut and clean dovetails and other joints with back cut or tight corners. They are also prized by wood sculptors and carvers, who use their angled corners to get into tight spots, in carving flowers, for example. Their form is descended from the design of the original Japanese chisels as made and used for hundreds of years. The cutting edge is made of a hard steel which is forge welded to a softer stronger iron back. This method, in which the hard steel can take a wonderful edge, and the back provides strength, is grounded in tradition, and allows the use of very high quality steels in the smaller, artisanal, smithies which even today produce most quality Japanese chisels in their wide variety of forms and designs. Some smithies are familiar to Western woodworkers, but most market their tools only in Japan. This has meant that lately, in practice, some companies or brands have developed a good reputation in the West while others remain unknown, but this says little about the relative quality of the tools. Mostly one can say that among the Japanese chisel smiths, price is a very good indicator of quality. One difference is that some Japanese makers that market chisels in the West have often slightly modified their tools to better match Western expectations and working methods. For instance, traditionally, one must finish fitting the ferrule to the wooden handle, and mushroom the edges of the wood over to hold it in place, but now this is often done by the manufacturer. The smiths have also adjusted their products to the demand for a higher level of finish on the blades to reduce sharpening/tune-up time before their customers can use the chisels.
For ten years Fine Tools has been offering a very high quality line of paring chisels made by Master Matsumura with a cutting edge made of the finest "white paper steel" under the brand name Koshimitsu. So we are very happy to be able to add these beautiful fishtail chisels or bachi-nomi which are made to the same extraordinary standard, to our store. Like other Japanese chisels, these firmer chisels feature a hollow back, which greatly reduces the effort and time needed to flatten and hone the chisel's back. By the way - as one reworks the back of hollow-ground chisels, the flat edge also moves back into the hollow, so that with normal sharpening methods, you never loose the vital flat area on the rear side of the cutting edge.