Josei Moku Hanga To - From bottom to top:
Sho To (knife), Maru To (u-gouge), Hira To (straight chisel), Sankaku To (v-gouge)
Fourteen Josei Maru To (u-gouge) sizes are available, from 24mm through the tiny 1.0mm
Josei Moku Hanga To: Superior Woodblock Carving Tools
These superior quality carving tools come in the widest range of shapes and sizes available. These are the tools for the serious student, or professional artist on a budget, or for those who simply prefer the simpler, longer handle. In Japan they are used by relief carvers, sculptors and even furniture makers as well as woodblock carvers.
They are identical in appearance to Namisei (standard quality) tools. However, these blades are hand forged of the highest quality high and low carbon steels and they will hold an edge for a very long time. The blades are very symmetrical in shape and uniform in size. The blades used with Namisei tools are machine forged and may need sharpening more often.
Compared to Komaskui (professional u-gouge), the shape of the Josei Maru To (superior u-gouge) is more shallow, and compared to the Aisuki (professional bull-nose chisel, the shape of the Josei Hira To (superior chisel) has a straight tip with right angles at the corners. The Hangi To (professional knife) and Josei Sho To (superior knife) are the same shape, as are the professional Sankaku To and Josei Sankaku To (v-gouges).
The handles are honoki (silver magnolia) and are oval. The oval shape is comfortable to hold and helps you find the correct position for cutting. Total length is about 8 inches.
Many artists cut down the handles so the tools fit comfortably in their hand while they are carving. Measure from the web between the first finger and thumb to the top of the middle finger, and cut the tool to this length. If in doubt, cut long; you can always cut the handle shorter if you decide it is still too long.