When tool-hunting in Taiwan, I expected that I’d find a few western tools with mostly Asian-style ones. The reality for most places was a pile of power tools that look the same everywhere, but we generally don’t do that kind of naughty talk around here.
I’ll start with what is likely the most uninteresting of the lot. One of the larger tool/hardware shops in Taipei had a western chisel that I felt compelled to buy because there were a lot of things about it that seemed strange to me. (That it cost a little less than $10 didn’t hurt, either.)
What first caught my eye were:
- Made in Japan.
- Wooden handle. Seems like some sort of ring-porous thing like ash or hickory, with medium-sized pores.
- Wide (I didn’t have anything 1.5″ wide).
Well, when I got it home, there were a few more things that I noticed:
- Unknown manufacturer. The backing card (see below) says “Quality is Approved by Sygma U.S.A.,” but I have no idea what this means. Searches have returned no results for a manufacturer of that name here. It might be an ISO certification company or something, because it says ISO 9002 at the bottom. Or it just may be completely made up.
- No UPC code that I can see.
- Hooped handle, which is very much like the Japanese style.
- Instructions on the back of the card (see below) are actually halfway decent (“A dull chisel is difficult to guide and dangerous to use”).
And then I sharpened it last night. The grinding was really good–it took only a couple of minutes to flatten the face, and there is a perfect little hollow in the center that starts about a centimeter from the edge. There were no jaggies. Once honed, it easily pared shavings off of Douglas-fir endgrain and didn’t seem to lose its edge, but only time will tell to see how good this steel is.
So here are the pics. If anyone’s ever seen one of these before…