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At Woodworking in America, a Jet bandsaw was raffled off to a lucky attendee. Since I was lucky enough to be a presenter, I was asked to sign it along with the other presenters. I couldn’t help adding a little extra note.
I blame Patrick Edwards. You can see what he wrote in the top picture, just to the left of my note.
For my talks at Woodworking in America, I created a document of resources for folks interested in Japanese woodworking. Originally, I was going to provide this as a handout, but in an effort to save trees so we can all have more lumber to use, I created a downloadable PDF file. You can download the list here. I hope you enjoy it.
Packed up and ready to head off to Woodworking in America. I am simultaneously convinced that I have brought too much and not enough stuff to demo.
At Woodworking in America 2015 2014 (for which I leave in one week…and to which I’m possibly driving the truck with the benches), in addition to the education sessions in the classrooms from such woodworking luminaries as Will Neptune, Roy Underhill, Drew Langsner, Phil Lowe, Patrick Edwards, Don Williams and more, we’re offering a variety of hour-long Shop Talk sessions in the Marketplace (included with admission).
One of the Shop Talk sessions will be Phil Fuentes showing how to set up a Japanese plane on Saturday, Sept. 13 from 2-3 pm in the Marketplace area. If you’re going to Woodworking in America just for the Marketplace, catch Phil’s talk. He knows his stuff.
And here’s a coupon, because who doesn’t love a bargain?
I had a fantastic time at the Kezurou-Kai hosted by Yann Giguère last weekend at his shop, Mokuchi Studio, in Brooklyn, and thanks to Yann for giving me the opportunity to give a talk. It was a terrific experience to be able to talk about Japanese tools to a crowd that was so knowledgeable about them, and to get feedback and engage in a discussion on these tools and their use.
The high point of the Kezurou-Kai was the planing contest, but to characterize this event as being all about gauze-like shavings would be like saying the Woodworking Shows are all about $1 router bits. Sure, $1 router bits are there at the show, and some people go to the Woodworking Shows specifically to buy $1 router bits, but there’s so much more.
The best part of the day was meeting and reconnecting with other folks that were also interested in Japanese tools and woodworking, including (but not limited to) Phil Fuentes, Jay Speetjens, Jim Blauvelt, Harrelson Stanley, and Andrew Hunter. I really hope that Yann is able to make this a regular event. I know that I’ll be in support of it, as well as others who were there.
So what did you miss? Just this.
Yann (left) welcoming the attendees as the day got underway.
Yann demonstrating marking a log for milling and cutting into slabs. Here he’s making kerf cuts in preparation for the next step.
Yann using an axe and a chona to remove waste from a log in the process of establishing a flat face.
Of course, there was a gigantic Japanese plane, called an okanna. Jim brought it along for people to try. Here’s Phil putting it to work, with Jim spotting the shaving, and the shaving that he got.
Yann made the super long nagadai kanna on the right. It’s 29” long, and was specially made for a project that required flattening a particularly long workpiece. For scale, there’s a regular kanna and a regular nagadai kanna next to it.
Yann had said that he planned on cutting down his super long nagadai kanna to a more normal length after that job was done, but never got around to it. Jim took care of that for him as a favor.
Spot the interlopers. (Confession: they’re mine. I brought them as props for my talk.)
Of course, eventually we had the planing contest.
These are the shavings from the folks that participated in the planing contest. There was a surprise entry from the Kimberly-Clark corporation, second from the right, hence the title of this post.
Jay won the planing contest, and won the prize, a 3” wide Tasai chisel with a hammered finish. These pictures can only approximate how wonderful this chisel looks in person.
Afterwards, we enjoyed some terrific ramen at Shinobi Ramen, only one block away from Yann’s shop.
Again, it was an incredibly great day. Here’s hoping it happens again next year.
My son demonstrating the interlocking mortise and tenon joint often used for connecting a leg with the rails and the top of a table in Chinese furniture, at the Red Sandalwood Museum in Beijing.
On our recent trip to China, we had a chance to visit the Red Sandalwood Museum, located about 7 miles east of the city center of Beijing. This museum had some incredible examples of antique and reproduction Chinese furniture. This model was an example of the type of mortise and tenon joinery that could be used to connect a leg to the rail and top of a table.
Regarding the recent revelation about Hello Kitty, here’s Colin Stokes:
Winnie the Pooh is not a bear. Winnie is actually a young man who dresses up as a bear in order to humor his friend Christopher Robin.
Spend the minute it will take to read this article for the shocking conclusion.
hello Wilbur, I've been looking around on Japanese workbench and realised that most of them actually work sitting down and for planing, they usually have a planning beam or if not on their workbench which is just two sawhorses and then a narrow board...
First, it’s not necessarily true that Japanese woodworkers only work on the floor or with a planing beam. Many woodworkers in Japan work using a workbench recognizable to western woodworkers at typical workbench height, such as these guys: here, here, here, and here).
Edge planing is easy with a Japanese plane. There are a couple of approaches you could use. First would be to clamp the board in a vertical position, and edge plane the top edge, much as you would with a Stanley #7. That’s what I do most often.
Another method would be to place the board to be edge planed on top of another board to elevate it off the workbench top, turn your Japanese plane on its side, and use the workbench surface as a reference to shoot the side of the board. This method assumes that the side of your plane is square to the bottom.
A third method is described in Toshio Odate’s book, where a strip of wood is nailed to the side of the planing beam about an inch or so below the surface of the planing beam. This provides a surface that the plane can ride on its side, and the edge of the board is squared that way. This would be more difficult with a wide board as you describe.
One thing to remember is that Japanese woodworkers probably didn’t have to deal with wood that wide under most circumstances. Tansu chests were usually 16” deep at most, and many times the sides were built up from narrower boards. In fact, one of the reasons Asian woodworking adopted the methods and joinery that they did was due to the relative lack of large trees from which wide boards could be obtained. The frame and panel approach seen in much of Asian woodworking gets the most out of relatively narrow pieces of stock.
One of woodworking’s enduring running jokes is about how Ikea furniture is made from termite barf. As it turns out, 75% of the furniture in Ikea catalogs isn’t even real. Kirsty Parkin:
Every year, CGSociety goes to SIGGRAPH, one of the premier conferences on innovation for the computer graphics and VFX industries in the world. In 2012, we watched as Martin Enthed, the IT Manager for the in-house communication agency of IKEA, gave a short presentation. He told us how their visualisation team had evolved from the use of traditional photography for the IKEA catalogue to a system today, where the bulk of its imagery is CG. I remember leaving the auditorium (which was packed) thinking, “Those natural-looking photographs in the IKEA catalogues are amazing. I can’t believe they’re mostly CG. It’s incredible.”
I guess the new joke will have to be how Ikea furniture is made from electrons. Which is sad, because “electrons” is not nearly as funny as “termite barf”.
Hello Kitty turns 40 years old this year, and there’s a retrospective which opens in October at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. Carolina Miranda, in the L.A. Times:
When [Christine] Yano was preparing her written texts for the exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum, she says she described Hello Kitty as a cat. “I was corrected — very firmly,” she says. “That’s one correction Sanrio made for my script for the show. Hello Kitty is not a cat. She’s a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it’s called Charmmy Kitty.”
Wow. You learn something new every day.
While in the Wangfujing Xinhua Bookstore, which is said to be the largest bookstores in Beijing, I found the section with books on crafts and hobbies. The small green box in the lower left hand corner outlines the woodworking books.
The rest of the books? All on knitting. Figures.
Hi Wilbur! Does one use a bench hook in Japanese traditional woodworking? Have you seen one being used or do you use one? If so would its design be something like the reverse of a typical bench hook design? Do Japanese traditional woodworkers rely on...
There are methods of setting up what effectively is a bench hook for shooting the end of a board or for jointing an edge so that it is square to your reference face. Stay tuned for more information.
I do have a more traditional-looking bench hook with an adjustable fence that I use for shooting the ends of a board with a Japanese plane. It’s made by Rob Hanson of Evenfall Studios, and it’s terrific.
On the other hand, being Chinese is pretty awesome.
David Savage starts a series of articles detailing his experience with rehabbing a used Japanese plane on the Lost Art Press blog. This will be a great read.