11 March 2016

Blind mitered finger joint boxes

This quest has been about finding a reliable way to make small boxes that are clean looking, reliably precise, and readily made. This is all relative, of course, and it is a hand tool project. These boxes are about 3" x 3" x 6" but are constructed like large ones I have made recently.  

20 February 2016

Kikai-jyakuri rebuilds

The kikai-jyakuri-kanna (機械決り鉋 or 機械作里鉋) is a handy style of plane for cutting continuous grooves of widths from about 3mm up to 15mm. Max cutting depth is about 12mm . It is similar to the western grooving planes in function (cuts a rectangular groove), but not in construction. These are (were) typically used for cutting the grooves required to insert thin panels or glass into shoji doors or similar items. It is a special purpose plane that has limitations. The router has really replaced these planes but these are a lot more pleasant to work with and are still available new and used. 

25 September 2015

Kyoto natural sharpening stone shop visit

While at the Kezuroukai in Odawara, Japan last year I was a bit overwhelmed by the number of natural sharpening stone (ten-nen-toishi) sellers there. Most were from Kyoto, the epicenter of the natural stone mining business, and where we were heading in a couple days. 

Most sellers at Kezuroukai brought select stones to sell, but nobody was set up for you to actually try the stones in a meaningful way. When we spoke to a few of the more talkative sellers, they were quick to invite us out to their shops where they have their full inventory and encourage visitors bring blades and try everything. 

09 August 2015

Cedar storage box

OK, so this project is a lot like the elm hassock just posted. Dimensions are very similar (14" x 14" x 15" high), but instead of blind mitered dovetails it uses blind mitered box joints. Not sure that change saved me any time, but that was the hope. This box includes a lid with a raised panel that added some steps. It will not receive a finish. 

Elm hassock

Elm was a wood I had not worked with so when I came across it at an urban salvage yard, I bought some. The main board was 1 1/8" x 14" x 8' rough. After picking out the best section of it, I ended up with a piece about 60" long. My objective was to attempt mitered blind dovetail corners all around and learn about working elm.

09 January 2015

Cabinet hardware shop - Tokyo

Display case with workshop beyond.

A recent visit to the Tokyo shop of a traditional Edo sashimono maker (see Mogami Kougei) led to questions about where the delicate hardware comes from that adorns many small cabinets and items that sashimono makers create. It was no surprise to find out that there was a small shop nearby that sold only such hardware. Mr. Saito Ichiro is the owner of Saito Shoten and has been both making and selling such hardware for many years. 

01 January 2015

Kezuroukai 2014 Odawara, Japan

Odawara Arena main floor.
The Kezuroukai (essentially a planing contest with shaving thicknesses measured in microns) takes place roughly once a year at a different host city in Japan. The 2014 event, the 30th, took place November 7 and 8 in Odawara Japan - a bit south of Tokyo. This is a national contest that draws hundreds of competitors from across Japan - and even a few foreigners. It is not sponsored by large machine tool manufacturers and bears little resemblance to the commercialized shows in the US. Organized by woodworkers and crafts people for woodworkers and crafts people who love their trades - and a bit of friendly competition.

23 November 2014

The new Takenaka Carpentry Museum


I had never visited the former Takenaka Dougu Kan (Carpentry Tools Museum) but I just spent a couple hours at the brand new one in Shinkobe, Japan. The museum has also updated their English webpage (http://www.dougukan.jp/) to reflect the new facility, exhibits, and events.  I did not interview any officials there, so these are purely my observations. 

I will readily say this is a first rate facility designed for a broad audience and worth a trip if you are ever nearby. Getting there was relatively easy - take the Sanyo Shinkansen line. The museum property is within several hundred yards of the Shin-kobe Station. You walk out the main entrance doors of the station and take a left. See the website for a map. Admission is 500 yen for adults, less for students and seniors, free for children.