Grizzly Japanese Chisels and Gouges, Part 4.5 Deep Tennon

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, (Part 4.5,) Part 5

I broke a Japanese saw handle a while back, and I have been needing to remake it.

Chisels and Saws

The old handle cracked out.  The saw itself is not so bad, but the handle was a lemon.    No problem here I like to remake handles.  This called for a fine one eighth inch wide tennon two inches deep.  Ages ago I bought a bunch of WWII or Korean War army stretchers at an auction.  This is from one of the wooden bars on it.  I think it is ash.

A two inch deep tennon is a good test for a questionable chisel.   I ground a new edge on the broken, smallest chisel in the Grizzly Japanese Chisel set.  It is one eighth of an inch wide and about half an inch deep to make it stronger.

Broken Chisel

In the photo above, if you look close, you can see that the chisel is now cracked. At about one inch deep, the chisel failed. Broken right in the middle of the blade. I am hoping that this particular chisel was bad, and it’s replacement will be fine.

I wanted to finish the job, and the tool box with my fine chisels in it was not handy, so I made a quick rig job chisel with a one eighth inch square bar of pretempered M2 high speed steel. This is not a bad steel for holding an edge, but it is brittle and not a good choice for a chisel that is making a deep hole.

Not even close to professional chisel

As you can see the angle is off on the chisel day one. I was just doing a rig job to get another job finished.

Chisel almost done!

Here the chisel is nearly finished.

With a bolt screwed on to add structure to the handle, it is a usable tool. Being crooked, increases the chance of an odd angle putting stress on the tool. Being only one eighth inch square gives it a much finer cross section than the original chisel. M2 is the wrong steel for the job. All this is going against the tool. In addition, the last inch is much harder on a tool than the first inch of a deep mortise.

Yet this hideous rig job held up and did the job. I was much rougher on it, since I really didn’t care about it. It blew away the inexpensive Japanese Chisel. It stayed sharper, was stronger, and could fit in the hole sideways to clean the sides of the mortise.

Hopefully the new chisel replacement will be better than the M2 rig job. I may just have to remake the M2 chisel. It was a pretty nice chisel after all.


Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, (Part 4.5,) Part 5

1 comment to Grizzly Japanese Chisels and Gouges, Part 4.5 Deep Tennon

  • Skip J.

    Interesting chisel Bob….

    That 1/8th mortise chisel I got from Jim Reed last year is very sharp and appears to be strong also. I’ve been looking for small projects to use it on. Never thought of it ’til now – but it would be perfect for my Tejas Art saws to be handled one of these days.

    Good fix!


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