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A Woodworker's Nature... #1: Learning the Wayo (Japanese Craft of Woodworking)...

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Blog entry by Paul David Soto posted 876 days ago 3695 reads 1 time favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of A Woodworker's Nature... series Part 2: Woodworker Portrait: This man may be onto something... »

Good Evening Fellow LJ’ers!

After an usually long hiatus from LJ, I’m finally back home and behind my woodworker’s desk again. While deployed to mainland Japan, I realized how much I loved the simplicity of woodworking while using Japanese tools. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing like the sound of lumber going through the ol’ TS. But while there visiting quite a few Temples and Shrines (They are not the same, I’ve been reprimanded and remediated for this several times…lol), I realized that with the simplest of tools, they’ve been able to create structures that have lasted well over 1300 years (Yes, maintained over the years…but stilll impressive!). With that being said, I remember my mentor leading me in that direction prior to my deployment into the land of the red sun. “I just cut them dovetails out with a Dozuki,” he admitted. Now I’ve got to admit that the thought of using a tool named “Dozuki” was as daunting as drifting through Tokyo in a Ford Mustang! Nonetheless, I’ve come to realize what he has been onto this entire time. After overcoming a slightly steep learning curve and learning how to use them correctly, I’ve come to realize that using Japanese tools gives you a unique bond with a project that using most power tools just doesn’t. What brings me to this conclusion? Well lets just say that I spent many hours making paper thin, quilt-like shavings with a 60,000 Yen Kanna plane and it was therapy to my soul. I also had the pleasure of using some chisels and even got to learn how to spend 4 hours sharpening one (Let’s just say I may have mutilated one in the process of “Beating the…” as my mentor puts it :) After that experience, I wanted to thank him for keeping me open minded enough to seek out a few Japanese Woodworkers and trade a tip or two for some ballcap and patches. As soon as I got home, I purchased a read that was recommended to me by a few of them woodworkers. One for me, and of course, one for my mentor and friend Superdav! I hope you enjoy it when you recieve it brother. I wish you could have been there to enjoy the experience!

-Paul

-- - As a woodworker, it could be interesting sometimes waking up in the morning and asking, "Lord, what will you have me do today?" -Noah



26 comments so far

View David 's profile

David

81 posts in 1265 days


#1 posted 876 days ago

What life lessons you learned and will never forget. Wish I could go but I am not getting my feet no higher than the roof of my house, no I don’t swim either. Thanks for the post.

-- David, Center,Texas

View Dave's profile

Dave

11159 posts in 1471 days


#2 posted 876 days ago

Paul you leave me speechless. I would have loved to be there walking the streets and enjoying the craftsmanship of the buildings. There is a Zen in the craftsman of Japan. We have a tendency not to look and listen to the wood and project.
Place a blade of grass between you fingers, pull it with the other hand. It does not bend and pulls straight out. Place it again in between your fingers and push it, it bends and buckles.
Thus there is strength and true-ness in a pull stroke.
Now photography is another little thing I like and it is good to see someone using black and white. Nice.
Thanks Paul you are to kind.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

View GrandpaLen's profile

GrandpaLen

1494 posts in 904 days


#3 posted 876 days ago

Sounds as though you had several great and lasting experiences while in Japan, Grasshopper. ... :-)

Old School Sawdust.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View jschmitz1949's profile

jschmitz1949

40 posts in 1692 days


#4 posted 876 days ago

Would you mind sharing the name of the read that was recommended to you? I love a good read from time to time.

View Paul David Soto's profile

Paul David Soto

141 posts in 1237 days


#5 posted 875 days ago

jschmitz1949 – PM Sent…I hope you enjoy it as well! Perhaps we could all comment on it on this thread.

-- - As a woodworker, it could be interesting sometimes waking up in the morning and asking, "Lord, what will you have me do today?" -Noah

View Paul David Soto's profile

Paul David Soto

141 posts in 1237 days


#6 posted 875 days ago

GrandpaLen -I sure did Sir! It was quite a refreshing experience. I love timber framing the European way as well. My dream would be to be able to help out on a project like that one day. Thanks for your comment.

-- - As a woodworker, it could be interesting sometimes waking up in the morning and asking, "Lord, what will you have me do today?" -Noah

View Paul David Soto's profile

Paul David Soto

141 posts in 1237 days


#7 posted 875 days ago

David -I used to be scared of flying myself…then the military came along and made me fly everywhere and sail the rest. Go figure huh? Perhaps I could share woodworking across the pond through my blogs with you. It would be my pleasure.

-- - As a woodworker, it could be interesting sometimes waking up in the morning and asking, "Lord, what will you have me do today?" -Noah

View Paul David Soto's profile

Paul David Soto

141 posts in 1237 days


#8 posted 875 days ago

SuperDav721- I sent it this afternoon. Be on the look out for it in the next few days. I’m just anxiously waiting to start reading it with you. Walking into some of these temples and shrines was amazing. To think that woodworkers were once skilled Swordsmiths and even Samurai back in the day is pretty impressionable. Word in the prefecture (City) is that they were unemployed after they were abolished and turned into skilled artisens and crafters to make ends meet…Woodworkers evolve out of warriors… :)

Just a perspective shot of an entrance…Massive!

-- - As a woodworker, it could be interesting sometimes waking up in the morning and asking, "Lord, what will you have me do today?" -Noah

View Dave's profile

Dave

11159 posts in 1471 days


#9 posted 875 days ago

Most amazing Paul. I await your package. I don’t know if I have shown you this.


You have to dig a bit but there is good stuff on his channel
http://www.youtube.com/user/handicraftsjp/videos



http://www.youtube.com/user/japanwoodworker/videos
Thank you Paul for sharing
And I to await the reading.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

View hydrohillbilly's profile

hydrohillbilly

132 posts in 942 days


#10 posted 874 days ago

Great stuff Paul welcome back

-- Russel C

View boxcarmarty's profile

boxcarmarty

9167 posts in 991 days


#11 posted 874 days ago

Welcome home Paul…..

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View Dave's profile

Dave

11159 posts in 1471 days


#12 posted 873 days ago

I got your book today. I can’t wait for this evening, for all to get silent and sit down for a good read.
Thank you for your gift.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

View Paul David Soto's profile

Paul David Soto

141 posts in 1237 days


#13 posted 873 days ago

@hydrohillbilly & @boxcarmarty – Thank you kindly for the warm welcome home. I just got up after a long night of work…I can’t wait to hit the shop. There’s a old painted cabinet that has been looking at me funny…sounds like it needs to be turned into a chisel chest a’la’ Superdave and Mafe! LOL!

@superdav721 – Sweet brother! Can’t wait to get practicing and sharing ideas!

-- - As a woodworker, it could be interesting sometimes waking up in the morning and asking, "Lord, what will you have me do today?" -Noah

View Paul David Soto's profile

Paul David Soto

141 posts in 1237 days


#14 posted 871 days ago

Spent an entire day failing miserably in the shop…Sharpened chisels, bought japanese saw all fails…trying really hard not to become discouraged. Thank God for tommorrow…oh wait…it’s the Lord’s day. I digress.

-- - As a woodworker, it could be interesting sometimes waking up in the morning and asking, "Lord, what will you have me do today?" -Noah

View Dave's profile

Dave

11159 posts in 1471 days


#15 posted 871 days ago

I got stuck making picture frames.
With planes and chisels and square nails. They still wore me out. Almost finished.
I started the book. It is going to take some serious study.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

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