Mr. Matsumura’s smithy is only a few square meters large. He works alone. From his hands comes a very limited quantity of chisels that we sell under the name "Koshimitsu." From the point in time in these photos, he is looking back on 55 years of living and working as a blacksmith.
In the first photo, Matsumura heats steel in a forge at a temperature of more than 1,200 degrees Centigrade. He usually starts work at night to take advantage of the cooler air.
Matsumura uses the traditional leaf-spring hammer. This type of hammer is part of the tool kit of every blacksmith in Japan. He uses no die or form to help him shape the steel into a chisel. All is done by eye, using only hammer and anvil. There is only the skill of the smith to forge the "Hagane" hard carbon steel that forms the cutting edge to the softer iron used for strength in the body and tang.
The quality of these chisels could only come from the hand of a master. In the bottom right of the photo there are a number of forge-finished chisels waiting to be ground and fitted with handles.
The tang, which projects into the chisel's handle, is hammered out of the same piece of metal.