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Giant Cypress

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A monk asked Joshu, “What is the meaning of Bodhidharma’s coming to China?” Joshu said, “The oak tree in the garden.”A monk asked Zhaozhou, “What is the living meaning of Zen?” Zhaozhou said, “The cypress tree in the yard.”
Updated: 58 min 56 sec ago

Upcoming talk on Chinese Furniture

Wed, 05/03/2017 - 5:58am

The North Jersey Woodworkers Association is nice enough to have me come back to give another talk. This time I’ll be covering Chinese furniture, and why western woodworkers should know and care about this great woodworking tradition from the other side of the Pacific.

The meeting is at 7 pm on Monday, May 15 at the at the Allwood Community Church, 100 Chelsea Road, in Clifton, NJ. There isn’t specific information on the talk on their website yet, but it should be there soon.

The NJWA is a great bunch of woodworkers, and if you live in the northern part of New Jersey and don’t belong to a woodworking club, you should join these guys.

Directed by Jonathan Demme.

Sat, 04/29/2017 - 2:48pm

Directed by Jonathan Demme.

Desirable brands Japanese wood chisels ?

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 3:18am

Pretty much all of them.

Here’s how I went about choosing the chisels that I use.

William, you have a good knowledge of Japanese woodworking tools even though you are base in America. I am from Borobudur, Indonesia but based in Thailand and Singapore. I like to ask where can I see your portoflio work that is done by Japanese tools....

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 3:58am

Thanks for reading! I really appreciate it.

I don’t really have a portfolio of the stuff I’ve built, but this is probably the nicest thing I’ve made so far. It’s a Bible box, an item that was common for 18th century Colonial American households to have, especially in the Pennsylvania region. Despite the western design, I made this all with Japanese tools.


I’ve only been in Singapore once, and that was for a meeting for work, so I didn’t have time to scope out woodworking resources. One thing I would highly suggest is to join a local woodworking club. Even if no one uses Japanese hand tools in particular, someone there will be into hand tools, and you can learn a lot that way. The internet is great, but there is nothing like seeing woodworking done in person to help you out.

Recently I watched a video of a Japanese woodworker using a glue called Shika TP-111 with great results. I have looked around for a supplier without luck. Have you seen this product or know where to get it? Thanks brad hanson

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 3:08am

I’m not familiar with that glue. From what I was able to Google (and I bet you did the same thing, with the same results), it doesn’t seem to be available in the U.S., which isn’t a surprise, since there are lots of things that are made overseas that don’t make it here.

I did find this page which describes the glue as an “isocyanate type wood adhesive”. Isocyanate adhesives are used in woodworking, and they appear to require a curing agent. It seems that its primary use is in making particleboard, OSB, and MDF, as opposed to joinery. The only suppliers of isocyanate adhesives that I could find are commercial agents, who don’t seem to be set up to sell to individuals.

That page also mentions this tidbit: “Since the curing agent reacts with moisture in the air, seal it immediately.” This makes this adhesive pretty similar to cyanoacrylate glues. There are some CA glues for woodworking available today for hobbyist woodworkers, so you might want to give that a try.

But I always say that liquid hide glue is the best.

An Apprentice Boat Builder in Japan

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 3:18am
An Apprentice Boat Builder in Japan:

If you’re in the New York area, Douglas Brooks will be giving a talk titled, “An Apprentice Boat Builder in Japan” on Wednesday, May 10, at 6:30 pm. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to go, but knowing his story, it should be a fantastic talk.

Tom McKenna, at the opening session of Fine Woodworking Live: I'd like to thank Rikon for sponsoring this event, and for donating the bandsaw that we'll be raffling off.

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 11:28am
Tom McKenna, at the opening session of Fine Woodworking Live: I'd like to thank Rikon for sponsoring this event, and for donating the bandsaw that we'll be raffling off.
Dyami: Can we fit that in the back of your car?
Me: We'll make it work.
Tom: I'd also like to thank Vic Tesolin for speaking.
Dyami: Can we fit Vic in the...
Me: No.

Celebrity sightings at Fine Woodworking Live last weekend: Larry...

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 10:28am

Celebrity sightings at Fine Woodworking Live last weekend: Larry David (top), Steve Jobs (bottom). 

Fully expecting that the Hardwood Derby at Fine Woodworking Live...

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 3:49am

Fully expecting that the Hardwood Derby at Fine Woodworking Live will be as entertaining as this. Be sure to watch through to the end.

Happy Friday!

Don’t know if I’m going to win the Hardwood Derby at Fine...

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 3:38am

Don’t know if I’m going to win the Hardwood Derby at Fine Woodworking Live this weekend, but I’m a shoo-in for the Most Kawaii category.

When is a plane not a plane? When it’s a car. Getting ready for...

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 8:48am

When is a plane not a plane? When it’s a car. Getting ready for Fine Woodworking Live this weekend, and the Hardwood Derby.

Using a Japanese plow plane to make an iPad stand

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 3:28am

A while back I rehabbed a 9mm Japanese plow plane. I needed it to make this stand for my iPad. Here’s how to do it.

First, I found some scrap 8/4 wood. This is walnut, but of course you can use whatever you want. You’ll need one piece about 1/2″ thick and at least 5” long, and another that’s about 1-3/4″ square, also at least 5” long. I was able to saw both pieces from this piece of scrap. The middle section is destined for our fire pit.


I squared up the pieces with a plane, and sawed the ends square as well. Here’s how they eventually will go together to make the iPad stand.


I set the fence of the Japanese plow plane to cut a groove. This groove should be closer to the front of the stand. Mine was set in a little over 3/8” from the front. Before committing to making the groove in my final piece, I prototyped this part using some 2x material to make sure that I was happy with the way the iPad would sit in the groove. If you have a different tablet, you may need to make a different size groove.

To make the groove, I first lightly ran the plane down the workpiece so that the nickers could establish where the groove is going to be. Multiple light passes are better than a single heavy pass at this point. If the plane is going to go off course, this is the time it will do so. I also started the groove at the near end of the board, working my way back as I took each pass. This is the same technique that’s used with western plow planes. Once the plane bottoms out, the groove is done.


The long bolts that hold the adjustable fence make it seem like the Japanese plow plane is uncomfortable to hold. Surprisingly, the forward bolt makes a nice handle. Other than wrapping my right hand around the bolt, I hold this like any other Japanese plane, with the left hand at the back and the right hand at the front.


Once I finished making the groove, the only thing left is to put the pieces together. There are many ways to do this. I used a quick dovetail for this part.


Knock off the corners with a plane, chisel, and/or sandpaper, apply your favorite finish, and you’re done.

If you want to make this iPad stand, please note that the dimensions are all approximate. Ultimately, the front piece wound up being 1-5/8″ wide and 1-3/8″ tall. I think that the only critical dimension is the length of the back piece. It should be long enough that it goes at least past the point where the top of the iPad is when leaning back in the groove in portrait orientation. Of course, the stand will also hold the iPad in landscape orientation as well.


All in all, this is a ridiculously easy project to make. You can get this done in a couple of hours without rushing. And as far as using it, it’s great for propping up the iPad if you’re watching videos or something like that. It may seem like a little thing, but it’s so nice that I can’t believe I didn’t make this sooner.

Happy Easter from Giant Cypress and the King of the...

Sun, 04/16/2017 - 5:08am

Happy Easter from Giant Cypress and the King of the Monsters.

(Photo from Graceful Grandma.)

325sqft: Red oak end grain, no problem. Except sharpening a...

Sat, 04/15/2017 - 4:39am


Red oak end grain, no problem. Except sharpening a little more, but that’s not really a problem, right? #japanesetools #planemaking #nankinkanna #compassplane #nishikanna #205collaborative #greensboronc (at 205 Collaborative)

Phillip Fuentes doesn’t know you can’t use Japanese tools on hardwoods.

Wilbur do you ever oil the dai? We oil everything else in our toolbox.... Love the blog.... Toni

Fri, 04/14/2017 - 3:18am

Thanks for reading, Toni, and for the nice comment! I really appreciate it.

I don’t oil my dai. I used to make sure that my plane blades were oiled (I have some camilla oil for this), but luckily my workshop is dry enough that rust really isn’t a problem, so I’ve stopped doing that.

I once bought a Japanese plane with an oiled dai from eBay. When it arrived, I found that the dai was a sticky mess, which didn’t help to convince me that oiling was a must-do item for my Japanese planes. This is not to say that there aren’t good reasons for oiling a dai. I just haven’t found it to be necessary.

WT371 – 10 Years of Madness

Thu, 04/13/2017 - 5:58am
WT371 – 10 Years of Madness:

Speaking of podcasts, I completely forgot to note Wood Talk hitting it’s ten year birthday this month. Congratulations to Marc Spagnuolo, Matt Vanderlist, Shannon Rogers, and Matt Cremona for turning out such a consistently excellent podcast over the years, and here’s to Wood Talk’s tween and teen years.

HTT001 – Back in the Saddle

Thu, 04/13/2017 - 5:28am
HTT001 – Back in the Saddle:

Bob Rozaieski gets back into the podcast game. So good.

If you like woodworking podcasts, you should subscribe to this one for sure.

See how the Men's Final Four court is made!

Wed, 04/12/2017 - 6:18am
See how the Men's Final Four court is made!:

The NCAA’s are over, but here’s a multimedia article on how the court is put together, from harvesting the trees to final assembly. The most surprising thing to me is that the article implies that it’s just 144 days from chopping the maple trees down to the end product. Given what we woodworkers know about drying wood (it looks like the boards sawn from the maple trees are 4/4 or 5/4), that’s a pretty impressive turnaround time.