Japanese_Chasing_Tools are made from steel blanks available in Japan called tagane. Japanese chasing hammers are lightweight with long straight handles and smaller faces than European styles. They balance beautifully in the hand and are effortless to use.

The type of Japanese chasing I learned was called uchidashi. Mostly a top-down technique, this style of chasing includes chiseling to remove material, line and dot inlay, and hammer engraving using a chisel. The tools are shaped at the working end to exact specifications including angles and millimeter measurements of the faces for their particular use.

I have made the kebori and uchidashi namekuri and use them often in my work. The tools are annealed, hardened and tempered in the same way as Western style tools.

Ganoksin is sponsored by

Lucinda Brogden and Candace Beardslee, two of the featured artists, have adapted the Japanese tools to use in their work. Candace orders the stock from Japan. I am not aware of suppliers in this country who offer tagane tool blanks or Japanese chasing hammers and pitch but they are available from the company listed below.

Japanes tool blanks, called tagane.
The top of the tool should be beveled, presenting no corners that will catch and deflect the hammer.

FORMING TOOL Dashi tagane

  1. True up a steel bar to be perfectly rectangular at the face.
  2. File equal bevels at each edge.
  3. File away the corners equally. The purpose of this sequence is to retain symmetry.
  4. Round the facets to create a smooth oval pushing tool. Typically this is left with a very fine tooth, for instance by sanding with 400 grit paper.

TEARDROP PLANISHER Uchidashi tagane

  1. True up a steel bar to be perfectly rectangular at the face.
  2. File two large and two small bevels, tapering them back about a third of the length of the tool.
  3. Round the form with gentle curves while maintaining symmetry.
  4. Smooth the surfaces and crown the face slightly to avoid sharp edges that could cut the metal.

REPOUSSé TRACER Uchidashi namekuri

  1. True up a steel bar to be perfectly rectangular at the face.
  2. File equal bevels at on the two long sides, dividing the rectangle into thirds.
  3. File away the corners equally. The purpose of this sequence is to retain symmetry.
  4. Round the facets to create a smooth oval with a semi-sharp spine. Typically this is left with a very fine tooth, for instance by sanding with 400 grit paper.

HALF-ROUND TRACER Namekuri tagane

  1. True up a steel bar to be perfectly rectangular at the face.
  2. File equal bevels at on the two long sides, to achieve a sharp ridge on the center axis.
  3. File away the corners equally. The purpose of this sequence is to retain symmetry.
  4. Round the underside of the tool, again striving for a uniform and symmetrical curve. Sharpen with a whetstone after hardening and tempering.

GENERAL USE CHISEL Hatagane

  1. True up a steel bar to be perfectly rectangular at the face.
  2. File two large and two small bevels, tapering them back about a third of the length of the tool.
  3. Round the form with gentle curves while maintaining symmetry.
  4. Smooth the surfaces and crown the face slightly to avoid sharp edges that could cut the metal.

PLANISHER (for vertical surfaces) Sobayose

  1. True up a steel bar to be perfectly rectangular at the face. Reduce the mass to a smaller rectangle that is centered on the shaft.
  2. File a slope to achieve a sharp edge.
  3. File a curve in the upper plane of the tool.
  4. File a curve in the lower surface or belly of the tool. Blend all curves neatly into the shaft. Sharpen on a stone after hardening and tempering.

GRAVER / CHISEL Kebori

  1. True up a steel bar to be perfectly rectangular at the face.
  2. File equal bevels on the underside, blending into the tool at least an inch back.
  3. File a point on the tip. The angles will change depending on the use of the tool.
  4. Flip the tool over and file a slope from the top plane partway down the triangular face. Blend the belly angles smoothly into the shaft, then hone on a whetstone after hardening and tempering.

INSIDE PLANISHER Sobayose

  1. True up a steel bar to be perfectly rectangular at the face. Reduce the mass to a small vertical rectangle that is centered on the shaft.
  2. File a slope on the front face and remove material from the belly as shown.
  3. Reduce the size as needed, rounding the face and smoothing all edges.
  4. In this drawing the tool has been flipped over to show the face of the tool. This is used to planish and sharpen the edges of a hole.
For Japanese pitch, hammers and chasing tool blanks:

Comokin (or Komokin)
Bell Building 8F, No. 3-18-17, Minami-Aoyama,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062, Japan
phone: +81-3-3405-6765
fax: +81-3-3405-6744
www.jgma.or.jp (in Japanese)