There is a reason why Japanese hand tools have such a great reputation—solid craftsmanship. And when it comes to chisels, John Reed Fox says, Japanese varieties simply work better and for a longer period of time. The key is their laminated bodies. A thin layer of very hard, high-carbon steel that forms the cutting edge is welded to a thicker piece of iron or low-carbon steel that forms the body of the tool. The thick layer of softer metal provides mass and shock dampening and prevents the hard, brittle steel from fracturing. There are a few things you need to know when choosing and using these tools. Fox has been using them for more than 30 years, and if you follow his advice you can't go wrong.