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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

An aggregate of many different woodworking blog feeds from across the 'net all in one place!  These are my favorite blogs that I read everyday...

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Giant Cypress

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Wilbur Pan lives in New Jersey, and is responsible for what goes on here. This is mainly about Japanese woodworking tools and other wooddorking things. Plus stupid jokes.You can ask a question using the “Ask” link above, or through the contact information at the bottom of the page.
Updated: 2 hours 51 min ago

Yes, There Are Still H.O. Studley Exhibit Tickets

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 3:38am
Yes, There Are Still H.O. Studley Exhibit Tickets:

Don Williams, on the H.O. Studley exhibit at Handworks 2, May 15-17, 2015:

The truth is there are still plenty of tickets available, and you can order them now.  I do not have the spreadsheet in front of me right now, but I am pretty sure there are still time slots that could accommodate a woodworker’s guild or any other groups who wanted to purchase tickets and make it a shared experience.

Barring some disaster, I’ll be there. This is a once in a lifetime event, and should not be missed if at all possible. Get your tickets here.

"Design critics now look back at the birth of the Jobs-Ive partnership as the dawn of a golden age in..."

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 3:58am
“Design critics now look back at the birth of the Jobs-Ive partnership as the dawn of a golden age in product design, when manufacturers began to understand that consumers would pay more for craftsmanship.”

- Robert Sullivan, in his Vogue profile of Jony Ive. This is something that woodworkers might want to consider.

Dear giant Cypress, I have become a regular visitor of your blog. I thank you for your opinion on the Lee Valley plywood saw. Alas it isn't being sold in Europe. I could not find the Gyokucho S-410 you mentioned either. Your link to the Razorsaw...

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 3:48am

Thanks for reading, and thanks for the nice comments. I really appreciate it.

You may want to try contacting Tools From Japan. They don’t list the S-410 on their site, but they carry many other Gyokucho saws, and may be able to order one for you. They do ship all over, so getting the saw to you in Europe shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

Lee Valley can ship to Europe as well. It’s worth contacting them about that possibility.

Have you ever thought, “I wish Food Network would incorporate...

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 3:58am

Have you ever thought, “I wish Food Network would incorporate more fantasy characters.”? If so, you’re really going to enjoy “Cooking with Sauron”.

This video was made by my niece after completing her Sauron cosplay costume. You can check out how she made the Sauron costume here. It’s very impressive.

Sauron’s knife technique does need improving, though.

Hi Wilbur, I've been enjoying your blog for years - long enough to remember your multi window saw. Do you know where to find them nowadays? If not, can you recommend something else? I'd like a saw(s) to break down stock, rip mouldings off boards etc....

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 3:18am

Thanks for reading, and for the nice comments. I greatly appreciate it.

Unfortunately, the multi-window saw doesn’t seem to be readily available anymore. Too bad, because I really liked that saw a lot for breaking down stock.

Today, for the types of tasks you’re describing, I’ll use either a 270mm ryoba or a 270mm Mitsukawa “Hat Trick” saw. The Mitsukawa saw has a hybrid tooth design that makes it reasonably good for crosscuts and rip cuts (think something similar to a ATB circular saw/table saw blade), although dedicated saw teeth will do a better job. I’ll post more details later, as Tumblr’s back end makes posting pictures in an answer to a question difficult.

By the way, the Lee Valley Japanese plywood saw you mention is the Gyokucho S-410. I’ve tried it out, and it’s a very good saw. It is 240mm in length, so getting a longer saw like the 270mm models mentioned above will make longer cuts easier.

Lamination: not just for Japanese tools anymore

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 3:08am



I had the chance to visit the Peabody Essex Museum a little while ago, where I saw the Yin Yu Tang house. The Yin Yu Tang house was built by the Huang family in the Huizhou region of Anhui province in China sometime in the early 1700’s. In 1997, the Huang family decided to sell the house. Rather than simply tear down the building, it was disassembled and transferred to the Peabody Essex Museum where it was re-erected. Visitors to the museum can have a close up look at how families in this part of rural China lived.

One of the exhibits that I saw was examples of the tools used to build the house. There was the usual variety of woodworking tools that you might expect: a chisel, a plane, an axe, an adze, a frame saw, a square, and an ink line.








These tools were marked as being from the 1900’s. It’s pretty clear that these tools were not really well-refined. Although they were in a case, I was able to get a closer look at the edges of the chisel and the adze.


Note the difference in shininess between the metal at the cutting edge of the chisel and the rest of the blade. Also note the difference in the rust pattern. I think this is evidence that this chisel was made with a laminated construction, most likely a relatively hard steel for the cutting edge, and a softer steel for the remainder of the blade.


There’s a similar difference in the rust pattern between the cutting edge and the body of the adze, and a difference in the sheen of the metal similar to that seen in the chisel, although not to the same degree. There also seems to be a split at the corner at what I can only assume is a lamination line.

I’ve heard it said that you can make a laminated tool if you’re willing to go to the extremes that Japanese toolmakers are willing to take, but for your garden variety tools, that sort of process would be too expensive and labor intensive to do, which is why the western toolmaking world has gotten away from laminated steel construction in favor of modern day tool steels. These tools would suggest otherwise.

Remember, these are regular carpenter’s tools made in China during the 1900’s. Yet the toolmakers of that time still thought enough of this approach to toolmaking that they took the time and effort to do so, and the woodworkers of that era still bought the tools, despite the relatively poor pay for workers of that socioeconomic class in China.

In light of Chuk Tang’s terrific video series on fixing up a...

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 3:38am

In light of Chuk Tang’s terrific video series on fixing up a used Japanese plane, here’s a nice observation on Japanese planes while rehabbing a Stanley #29 transitional by chiisai-fukurou:

Every time I have to tamper with an old European or American/British plane I learn to appreciate Japanese planes a bit more (^-^;)

I mean they don’t need a handle, no difficult fixtures and no screw that annoys me every time I need to get out the chip breaker or the blade :D


Vergennes Boat Builder Keeps A Japanese Tradition Alive

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 5:08am
Vergennes Boat Builder Keeps A Japanese Tradition Alive:

Vermont Public Radio has a story on Douglas Brooks, who builds wooden boats in the Japanese tradition. Sage Van Wing:

Now, you might imagine that a boat – especially a wooden boat – would need some caulking, or glue to keep the water out. But not a Japanese boat.

“By repeatedly running, passing a saw between the planks, they get an absolute watertight fit,” Brooks explains. “It’s really quite remarkable. And in the Japanese tradition, to have the boat even leak a drop upon launching is a huge loss of face.” 

Listen to the audio embedded in the link. It’s completely worth the time.

(Thanks to the reader who sent in this link.)

Chuk Tang is back with a terrific series of videos on rehabbing...

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 3:28am

Chuk Tang is back with a terrific series of videos on rehabbing a used Japanese plane. Here’s part 2 and part 3.

One of the most common questions I get is “What Japanese plane should I start with? I don’t want to spend a lot, because $300 is a lot of money.” The vast majority of the planes I have were bought used from eBay, and that’s a great way to go. The process of rehabbing a used Japanese plane is very similar to setting up a new Japanese plane out of the box, with the exception of knowing what to do if the blade protrudes too much because the bed is too low and knowing how to tighten up the mouth if it’s too wide.

What japanese slick do you recommend for timberframing both soft and hardwoods

Fri, 09/26/2014 - 5:08am

A sharp one.

Seriously, I don’t have any experience with timberframing, so I don’t think I can intelligently answer this question. I would imagine that the usual chisel toolmakers are able to make good timberframing slicks, though.

I have to say, if there was anyone I would want to videobomb me...

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 3:08am

I have to say, if there was anyone I would want to videobomb me while I’m talking about sharpening a Japanese saw, it would be Matt Vanderlist.

(Thanks to Matt for generously sending me the video.)

Hi Wilbur, I have always wanted to try a Japanese plane and chisels. I currently use Stanley planes. I am hoping some advise from you would help a newbie. Would you recommend a smoother or scraper plane to start with. Also what would you advise for...

Tue, 09/23/2014 - 3:48am

Hi Bill,

Thanks for reading. I really appreciate it.

As far as the plane goes, if you’re feeling confident, start with a 70mm smoother. If you’re feeling less gutsy, try a 60 or 65mm plane. The narrower plane blade is a little easier to set up. A scraper plane is good for conditioning the sole of the smoother, but there are other ways to do that.

For Japanese chisels, there are a ton of good options. I have the Fujihiro brand chisels made by Imai, available at Hida Tool. I like those chisels a lot.

I think that the best way of figuring out which brand/dealer/blacksmith to go with takes a bit of a different mindset than what woodworkers are used to, mainly because no one is going to do a Fine Woodworking-style Japanese chisel shootout and award Best Overall and Best Value titles. We’re used to comparing and contrasting features and performance, and that information is not really going to be forthcoming in a way that’s meaningful.

I think that we should keep in mind that Japanese tool sellers are really not out to screw woodworkers over. All of them know that if they do a good job selling one chisel, then that woodworker is likely to buy ten more from them.

So talk to all of the dealers, and ask them for advice on a Japanese chisel. You’ll get varying answers, but one of them is going to resonate with you more than the others. Buy tools from that dealer. Again, this takes a different mindset, and requires a bit of a leap of faith. But the rewards will be great.

(Disclaimer: I don’t get any kickback for recommending tools. The Christopher Schwarz ethics policy is in effect.)

Fibonacci cabinet, by Wang Peng, Studiout: The design idea...

Mon, 09/22/2014 - 3:38am

Fibonacci cabinet, by Wang Peng, Studiout:

The design idea comes from the traditional Chinese medicine storage units, where all the drawers are the same size. In order to satisfy the multi- functional requirement, the designer Wang Peng from Studiout apply the principles of the Fibonacci sequence to rearrange every size of these units in series.

At Woodworking in America, a Jet bandsaw was raffled off to a...

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 10:48am

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 couldnt 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.


Mon, 09/15/2014 - 7:08am


Mon, 09/15/2014 - 3:08am


Scene from my Japanese saw and chisel talk at Woodworking in...

Sat, 09/13/2014 - 3:18am

Scene from my Japanese saw and chisel talk at Woodworking in America. Photo by Sean Wisniewski. Staging by Stanley Kubrick, again.

Japanese woodworking resources

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 3:58am

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...

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 3:08am

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.


by Dr. Radut