I got tempted and made the purchase of the full set of Grizzly Japanese Chisels and the full set of Grizzly Japanese Gouges. The reviews did not like the finish and feel of these chisels and gouges, but I was quite willing to adjust that. Japanese chisels are typically made with the expectation that the user is going to modify the handle to suit them. The reviews indicated that they held an edge and were a good value, so I saved up for a few months and made the order.
My first impression was quite positive. Nice having a good range of chisels and gouges. The hoops however are way too far out to use, and the grip, simple as it is, is not quite right. So the first thing to do was to remove the hoops.
I tried the methods that worked for me before, without any luck.
So I decided to improve my hoop punch.
I used the new gouges to make the Punch.
The gouges worked amazingly well on the osage orange I used for the punch. This was before sharpening or flattening. I checked, the chisels will shave hairs of your arm. Not in a clean one pass shave, but it will remove hairs from your arm, so these tools came ready to use, osage is a bear to work, so these do pass muster for holding and edge and retaining it. The blade itself took clean well controlled chips out. I love it!
The hoops still refused to budge. They chipped out the osage before moving. Anyone who knows osage will know how extraordinary that is. After close analysis and examination, it looked like they were glued and wedged on.
Here was the cure, forgive the filthiness of the hot plate, it has served me as a solvent, die, pigment, wax and other odd formula heating station for years and that grunge will take the enamel with it when it goes.
With care and attention, no burning of wood was needed to remove the hoops. A nice hot ring and some hammering took the hoops off.
So as far as the tools go, I have to agree with other reviews, the tool itself is great, even ready to go from the start. However the ergonomics of the handle and dealing with the hoops is a bit messed up. I will follow up with this project as I work it out.