The Varieties of Japanese Chisels Part 2 – The Mentori Oiirenomi (面取追入鑿)

42mm Hidarino Ichihihiro Mentori Oirenomi

The Oiirenomi (pr0nounced Oh-ee-reh-no-me) is the most common variety of Japanese woodworking chisel, and the style best known both inside and outside Japan. There are several types of oiirenomi. In this post we will look at the most popular type of oirenomi called the ”mentori oirenomi” ( 面取り追入鑿) meaning ” beveled” oirenomi.


As mentioned in my previous post in this series, nomi means ” chisel, ” but the term ”oiire” 追入れ” is not so straightforward. It is composed of two Chinese characters: ”Oi” 追いmeaning ”to chase” or ” to follow,” and ”ire” 入れ meaning ” insert” or ”place in.” I am uncertain of the origin of this word, but some hints of the original meaning may perhaps be deduced from the characters.

As the name suggests, this chisel’s face is beveled at both sides making it lighter and better able to get into tight locations than the older-style kakuuchi, which we will examine in a future post.

I think most people agree that the two bevels moving up the blade, curving around the shoulder, and feathering into the neck give this chisel a sculptural, elegant appearance. The bevels do sacrifice some stiffness and authority compared to the kakuuchi style, but clearly, these compromises are acceptable to most consumers.


A member of the tatakinomi family, it is designed to be struck with a steel hammer and has a hoop (called a “katsura” in Japanese which means “crown”) on the handle’s end to prevent splitting.

There are larger types of tatakinomi called atsunomi better suited than the oiirenomi to heavy cutting and wasting wood in applications such as timber frame joints, and most of those share the same mentori bevel detail, but oiirenomi are better suited to lighter tasks such as furniture work and interior installation work the same as Western bench or butt chisels.

Oiirenomi in general and mentori oiirenomi especially are light-weight, relatively inexpensive, and handy to use. All woodworkers in Japan own at least a few of these. They are sold separately but 10 piece sets are the most common arrangement.


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5 thoughts on “The Varieties of Japanese Chisels Part 2 – The Mentori Oiirenomi (面取追入鑿)

  1. Wow, I just find out about this site! I owned a small set of C&S mentori oiirenomi that I got through Chris Vandiver, with white oak handles( Chris told me they were the higher quality nomi in the ones you offer). I really like them, I didn’t do a great job on the back to keep the ura nice and even(some of them were like that to start with lol) but they work great none the less. If I want to buy more from you and directly how do I proceed?
    Thank you


    1. David:
      Just let me know via the “contact” block on each blog post what kind of chisels or planes interest you and I can send you pricing and pictures. The chisels I carry are all defined on the blog under “Varieties of Japanese Chisels.” There is a “Category link” at the right bottom of the blog with links to them. I think I’ve posted 13 in this category already.

      Thanks for your interest.



    2. David:

      There was a period where my sharpener was ill with cancer and his precision could have been better. He died earlier this year after a long hospital stay. And then I had to train a new sharpener. They are getting hard to find, believe me. Things have improved greatly.

      I have a 100% guarantee. don’t hesitate to use it! (ツ)



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