Japanese Blacksmith Tools for Gardening, etc

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HRC_64

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Anyone have experience with various blacksmiths /shops eg
OkaTsune, Masamune, Kannenori, Tobisho, etc ?
 

niwaki-boy

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Anyone have experience with various blacksmiths /shops eg
OkaTsune, Masamune, Kannenori, Tobisho, etc ?
Yup all three. Whatcha got going?
There’s four oh well ... so yes all four

Edited cause I forgot I had a kanenori.
 
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HRC_64

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Ha. Awesome. :)

I need a new Karikomi shears,
any advice on brands or features
would be useful...
 
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niwaki-boy

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For karikomi if your just doing leaf then masumune is really nice but don’t have a go on older branches that’s where a brand like okatsune comes in. Okatsune is beater stuff like tojiro in a way, I’ve got a few shears that I bought stupid cheap a few years ago and for just hacking away they aren’t bad but steel is on the softer side. I’ve got the kanenori shears that Hida tool sells (bought from one of their old associates), they’re the knuckle buster version. They’re nice steel and have a good long reach and can handle a bit more of a tougher branch than masamune (I have the short handle version). All my tobishos are secatuers of some sort and the best one for karikomi is the barracuda version that Jake sells, just awesome!! Would love Tobisho's curved shears but damn $$$!! I assume you know which ones I’m talking about by the brands you brought up.
Both the masamune and kanenori can get silly sharp and when cleaning be very careful.. ask me go ahead :) basically two yanis on sticks w/a pivot!
I do a fair bit of karikomi and lots of various cryptos with a few pine mixed in that are currently kicking my ass.. next week is box karikomi:)
If you want pics just pm me and I’ll give you a tour...
 
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HRC_64

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Thanks for all the Info niwaki-boy. The Tobisho 270s you noted are pricey but are on my radar :)
I'm really trying to budget for them, because they look so incredibly useful....

As for the Kanenori/Masamune, the catalogs in Japan are extensive. The classic debates here seem to be white/blue, A vs U type handles, and a variant of "laser vs workhorse" grinds. I'd be curious if you have any more colour on what your personal favorites are for style/layout. :)

This blogger below (a local japan) and seems to roughly have similar feedback as to how you outlined it. [He has a mix of everything (blue/white steel, long/shor, gate type/a-frame, etc)...]

https://translate.google.com/transl...niwaijiri.com/amazon-uekidougu-karikomibasami

The Oka i've used so far I agree its sort of beater-duty...but capable so good to have around.
 
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niwaki-boy

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You’re welcome.
Gotta love google translate...
upload_2018-7-6_22-48-51.jpeg


Mostly like the short handles for box and the long handles for tree work and always have the barracudas in a holster.
I know my masamunes are white but not sure about the kanenori maybe blue. I bought okastune okubo basami from Dallas bonsai a few years ago and the steel had a flaw which caused the blades to run into each other. They replaced with their house brand which are better but still want to pick up a pair from Watanabe:) They also let me keep the old pair so I got a pair of beaters. So I guess the theme is get good stuff but also have good thrashers. Where you located?
What links for Japan do have?
 
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HRC_64

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I was digging around and found several articles
that may make useful references for future readers.

First, this article on the handle-types of Karikomi Scissors.
(Explaing pro/con of the 'gate type' vs A frame styles.)

Original> https://moritazouen.com/okatune-mongata/
Translated> https://translate.google.com/transl...F-8&u=https://moritazouen.com/okatune-mongata

Second, this is a shop with a detailed Masamune catalog listing (in Japan). I found this useful in the sense that they have almost every variation spelled out, iwith different options for steel, handle length, etc in certain models. There are also variations where change the model number for things like polished vs KU finish.

http://www.zouen-dougu.com/ryoute.html
https://translate.google.com/transl...TF-8&u=http://www.zouen-dougu.com/ryoute.html

Last but not least, Here is also a complete kit for a crafstman in japan, with something like 10 pairs of one-handed pruning tools, and 6 pairs of two-handed type Karikomi shears (which covers trimming and leaf-cutting)

I guess this is why I was having such a hard time picking one pair from all the options ;)

Original> http://www5e.biglobe.ne.jp/~ikedaya/sample/prune.html
Translated>https://translate.google.com/transl...ww5e.biglobe.ne.jp/~ikedaya/sample/prune.html

This was kind of a long post but I thought it might be useful for people doing research as not much in english is available outside of a couple western vendors.
 
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HRC_64

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As a bonus, Here is one more Local (japan) craftsman review of Masamune vs Okatsune.

Again confirming what Niwaki-Boy posted upthread--Masamune is a more refined product, perhaps a benchmark above Oka, but Oka is still useful (and a great value) for heavier duty work, even by Professionals.

[edit: I'm not sure how to make the whole quote show up?]

This time I will introduce the two-handed scissors used by me. I use three depending on the tree species to be pruned and the thickness of the branches.By using scissors differently, it is possible to increase work speed, prevent spilling of blades, extend the life of scissors.

Let's start with the first one: Kihachi 300 mm of Kashiwa Masamune

Personally I like the short handle, so I am using the 270 mm Nata pattern. This scissors are mainly for cutting "leaves", such as Maki · Kaiki, Satsuki Azalea · Character Boku etc, I think the leaves are suitable for delicate tree species.
Thanks to a considerably long blade of 300 mm, work efficiency has also been increased to Gun.


Okae 65 short handle

It is a classic Oka-Hen.
This is also a short handle.
It is basically used to trim a slightly thick branch that can not be cut with the above scissors.
It is useful because it is one piece that can be used with grinding and gang gang, and cost performance is also wonderful.


Masamune Araki

In this Okaedo impossible thick branches are trimmed with this scissors.
Because it is single-edged, thick branches can be cut easily.
I'd recommend it when you want to finish cutting the hedge tightly.
 
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niwaki-boy

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Thanks H! Gotta run out now but I’ll give those a look in a bit. Do you do ladder work in the garden? If so we can get Hasegawa ladders stateside now.. just a heads :)
 

niwaki-boy

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I was digging around and found several articles
that may make useful references for future readers.

First, this article on the handle-types of Karikomi Scissors.
(Explaing pro/con of the 'gate type' vs A frame styles.)

Original> https://moritazouen.com/okatune-mongata/
Translated> https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=https://moritazouen.com/okatune-mongata

Second, this is a shop with a detailed Masamune catalog listing (in Japan). I found this useful in the sense that they have almost every variation spelled out, iwith different options for steel, handle length, etc in certain models. There are also variations where change the model number for things like polished vs KU finish.

http://www.zouen-dougu.com/ryoute.html
https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=ja&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http://www.zouen-dougu.com/ryoute.html

Last but not least, Here is also a complete kit for a crafstman in japan, with something like 10 pairs of one-handed pruning tools, and 6 pairs of two-handed type Karikomi shears (which covers trimming and leaf-cutting)

I guess this is why I was having such a hard time picking one pair from all the options ;)

Original> http://www5e.biglobe.ne.jp/~ikedaya/sample/prune.html
Translated>https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=ja&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http://www5e.biglobe.ne.jp/~ikedaya/sample/prune.html

This was kind of a long post but I thought it might be useful for people doing research as not much in english is available outside of a couple western vendors.
That page with the masamunes is awesome.. haven’t seen that many on one page. Dammit now there’s a couple more I want. I didn’t realize they did a curved blade shear... and the prices are very nice. Gotta figure out a way to order from this vendor.
Hrc you need more than one pair.. those are the rules :)
 

HRC_64

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Hey Niwaki, do you have any recommendations for good stones/sickle stones?
 

niwaki-boy

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Somebody asked the same question in another thread and I recommended broken stones cause you need to shape them to accommodate for the various curves that some blades have, hamaguri and actual blade curve. I’ve always paid super close attention to the way the og edges come ootb, looking for micro bevels is important, then maintain accordingly.
I also didn’t address your query about knuckle busters vs. bumpers. Some say the bumpers add shock to hands and arms because one can go very fast. On the other hand the free and unobstructed shearing action of kb's gives complete feedback about cuts and because of the potential for that meeting of digits you will slow down thusly develop a better technique. But of course that’s theory and from the peaceful garden expletives can and do fly freely. And as a side note if somebody threatens you while gardening this person would be in deep doodoo with the complete bypass nature of knuckle busters. I’ve always said don’t mess with Japanese gardeners cause the amount of sharp sh*t they have within reach... old ladies with horihori's, tree guys with silky's , karikomi dudes.. it would be a mess :)

So anybody reading this thread if you have broken stones, yeah I know :oops:.... please pm us. Tia if you do!
 

niwaki-boy

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This post cost me money... thnx dude! I went to tobisho's site and they have sales links now. Niwaki wasn’t on there way back when and neither was tetsufuku, an' they have the very good crap I couldn’t believe there was a Kanto version of his curved shears (btw low stock = 1). I already knew he only makes like ten of these things a year in off time and that number probably includes the yamagata version. This guy is a legend in the trade... very innovative. This was always one of my favorite pages... http://www.tobisho.jp/process.html for the sheer manipulation of metal :)
 

HRC_64

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Those tobisho's are gonna be sweet...Hinoki handles as well?
 

Keith Sinclair

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Love this thread thanks for the links. Planted plugs of grass in one yard now doing another by same owner. Use a a small Japanese curved sickle to cut mats of grass into plugs and a hand held japan hoe to dig out the hole in prepared soil. Both tools work great.

Like the Japanese carbon hand clippers too use them a lot in my yard.
 

niwaki-boy

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Love this thread thanks for the links. Planted plugs of grass in one yard now doing another by same owner. Use a a small Japanese curved sickle to cut mats of grass into plugs and a hand held japan hoe to dig out the hole in prepared soil. Both tools work great.

Like the Japanese carbon hand clippers too use them a lot in my yard.
Are you using the hori hori style trowel? Those things are viscous in a good way! I also use some very simple thin carbon trowels that sharpen up really nice. I love the simple Japanese garden stuff and so many of our beloved knife smiths also make these things... chef’s knives have only been around so long ;)
 

Keith Sinclair

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The hoe is very similar to the carbon Planter Tool sold by Japan Woodworker. Mine is 6" long blade 2.5" wide with 15" wood handle. They sell some Japanese garden tools at city mill here that's were I got mine. Extremely useful tool perfect balance.
Shoot the dirt off with hose & let dry in the sun. Been using it so much lately don't bother to oil the carbon. I do sharpen up my carbon gardening tools & oil them on occasion. I talked to an old Japanese guy who uses carbon tools he fills a bucket with saw dust soaked in oil & sticks his cleaned dry tools blade first into the bucket.
 

niwaki-boy

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Yeah those are good. The sawdust bucket is simple genius! When I get done with the cutting tools I use warm water to get the sap off then use heavy duty aluminum foil with camellia oil, tightly wadded up, to get any stray stuff off. It acts sort of like a rust eraser, plus it lets me know off any edge damage.
Btw, just received my order from Tetsufuku.. very fast shipping and a very nice note from Mr. Urata. A pleasure dealing with him!

Also going to post this page on sharpening for anybody interested... https://translate.google.com/transl...en&u=http://www.zouen-dougu.com/togikata.html
 

niwaki-boy

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Awesome will you be shaping tree branches with these shears?
Hey Keith, those particular shears are just for fresh leaf like boxwood, azalea etc.. , no branches/hard stuff. When the going gets tough the okatsune come out which is always a bummer cause they just don’t feel as good the others..
 

Keith Sinclair

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I knew this thread was going to cost me some coin. Ordered Okatsune shears. Figured can use them on my Isora hedge and trimming greenery on a tree trying to shape.
 

niwaki-boy

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I knew this thread was going to cost me some coin. Ordered Okatsune shears. Figured can use them on my Isora hedge and trimming greenery on a tree trying to shape.
Those will be good Keith, they’re workhorses. The steel is a little soft (dents not chips) so give your edges a check every now and then. I got three pair of them a short w/short blade $25, a short w/long blade $35 and a long w/short blade $49 from a place in Oregon a few years ago.. couldn’t believe the prices so I drove down and gave them money!

Yeah lol.. I did not think this thread was going cost me but I was wrong, very wrong.. just a simple link on Tobisho’s site.. doh!

Enjoy your new tools!

-Porter
 

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I can't recommend Tobisho enough...

I have the A-type No. 9 (200mm, blue steel). It can get insanely sharp. I was cleaning it absent mindedly one day and sliced my thumb right open. Ive had them for two years now and put them to good use. In that time I have only sharpened them once - more because I could than because I needed to. The edge retention is quite something. I haven't had any chips yet but I am careful to latch them shut and most of the cutting I do is on live branches. Given how impressed I am, I have been eyeing off the Tobisho No 3 and No 7 shears (barracudas).

High on my list is a hand-hoe. Any recommendations? Given the talk about hoes, on a side note, the family mattock has been in service so long that the blade has been polished by the digging!
 

Keith Sinclair

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As mentioned above really like the carbon planter tool similar to one sold at JWW. It is not a wide hoe 2.5" but is a serious digger. 15" handle gives a good swing. Used it to plant grass plugs in three yards including my own. I have quite a bit of red ginger, When the flowers mature they send off shoots. I cut off the flower part bend the stalks over dig a hole with the hoe & plant the young shoots. After about a month when roots are in cut off the bent over stem. Use this hoe for everything.
 

niwaki-boy

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I can't recommend Tobisho enough...
Me too! And yes edge retention is impressive.. actually amazing!
Don’t know what your going to cut with those shears but being that they are the same length I went the barracudas because they can handle a much tougher branch and still do what the #3's do... more workhorsey. If you get them definitely get the holster.. trust me :)
 

niwaki-boy

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Here’s what is inside my tool bag (everything can be holstered)... the pvc holds oil, foil, small oil rag and a wrench to take apart tools. Karikomi shears need their own photo :) then there are the saws and the ladders ;)

704134D7-B83D-49B0-92BD-91939C2C481C.jpeg
 

Luftmensch

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Keith! Thanks for the reply. I did see that recommendation. I am trying to canvas some options. As niwaki-boy said, blacksmiths have been producing these things for years. In times gone by the local blacksmith used to make many things for the town. The export market for agricultural J-tools seems to be growing slowly (I suppose it is following on the coat tails of cutlery and carpentry tools).

As mentioned above really like the carbon planter tool similar to one sold at JWW. It is not a wide hoe 2.5" but is a serious digger. 15" handle gives a good swing. Used it to plant grass plugs in three yards including my own. I have quite a bit of red ginger, When the flowers mature they send off shoots. I cut off the flower part bend the stalks over dig a hole with the hoe & plant the young shoots. After about a month when roots are in cut off the bent over stem. Use this hoe for everything.
It sounds like you have a stunning garden! The form factor does interest me. Im probably going to be doing a lot of weeding later in the year. A narrow profile is perfect for this sort of thing.

Me too! And yes edge retention is impressive.. actually amazing!
Don’t know what your going to cut with those shears but being that they are the same length I went the barracudas because they can handle a much tougher branch and still do what the #3's do... more workhorsey. If you get them definitely get the holster.. trust me :)
You are right - the 3# would just be an indulgence! It has the appeal of being good for soft shoots - and possibly even edging grass in hard to get corners. The barracudas would be better suited in pretty much every other scenario!

That is quite a collection! As you say! Don't mess with a Japanese gardener :confused:
 
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