I have been looking forward for a while to make this blog, this because the result is one of my favorite woodworking projects, it was like a sum of skills leaned and also a design and history challenge that I enjoyed.
The result is something I am proud of and that I think will stay with me for as long as I live.
Later another as a gift for a friend http://lumberjocks.com/mafe/blog/25015 .
But after I read Toshio Odate’s book ‘Japanese woodworking tools their tradition spirit and use’ I knew I needed to make myself a real traditional Japanese toolbox one day.
The first part here will be my thoughts about and pictures of Japanese toolboxes.
Or in other words why I ended up with the design that I did.
So sit back and enjoy.
One of the first pictures I ran into was this one, and it did confuse me…
This does not seem to be a traditional toolbox and the tools don’t seem to be Japanese…
The frame saw is used in China and Europe, the handsaw seems English!
So why do I show this picture?
To say that the research that I have been able to do is at the web and few books, this do not make a really well documented truth. Writers was perhaps not even woodworkers and even we have an old black and white photo showing someone with a saw, we can’t know if this is traditional or not.
The only interesting thing I can conclude from this picture is that the toolbox even the design is different seems to be quite simple and made from cheap wood to transport tools inside.
This picture shows a standard transport box, I think Japanese, but notice the design.
My guess will be that the traditional Japanese toolbox was made this way, that the inspiration came from this.
A simple low priced, fast to make transport box.
Here a later military one, now added hardware for strength.
The inside, elegant.
A classic example of the Japanese toolbox.
Pine for low price.
Nails for fast making.
Handles for carry.
Thin wood for light weight (low price).
The simple lid that locks without hardware (low price).
So these are my first conclusions, this because I believe you made your toolbox as young apprentice and so did not have money for something fancy, but also since the Japanese do not value things like we do, they have an approach that are more simple and yet much more sophisticated – you have to earn your status by proving you worth a tool. So a young starter will not go and buy the whole Lie Nielsen set if he had the money, he would buy his tools as needed, when needed and then upgrade as his skills improve. I believe some of us could learn quite a lot from this…
This one with a drawer.
This one I think is really classy, I like the long slim design.
Notice feet, handles with shape and that the bottom boards are sideways (not normal).
Slim and simple.
Larger, double drawers with lock.
How can you not love this.
If you hire this guy you will know you get a fair price – not like the one in a Van full of Festool power tools…
The box is used as a holder for the planes.
Or to store them.
Much like a traditional Scandinavian as here.
Quite amazing in a way.
The closest I get to a historical proof…
But quite an interesting museum, hope one day to make savings and go to Japan.
Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum:
Here from another museum, notice the ends are jointed with a big ‘finger joint’.
Not so elegant, but a good guess on how it should look today.
Screwed and nailed together, a mix of woods and plywood, fast low price and solid.
Perhaps the finger joints are a little overkill, but since it is from a school it is probably to learn.
Japanese woodworking school.
This might be a commercial for the green boxes, but it shows the simple and different types of toolboxes.
Back to the future…
This is where we are today – nice legs.
This might for me be a good proposal for a modern woodworker toolbox.
Lightweight, cheap, waterproof and easy to transport.
(Don’t remember where I saw this, sorry).
And this is a Festool insert – in this way you get both…
But back to our friend.
Back to the traditional toolbox.
Found this beginner set on a Japanese site.
And yes it is probably all we need to get started.
Here first day at a Japanese woodworker school.
And the basic tool set.
I can almost imagine how proud the young guy must be.
And here we start, making traditional toolboxes.
Pictures from school with students and then the set and box
The result – elegant!
And later one for plane storage.
Here my conclusion:
Low price light weight wood: pine.
Thin planed boards for low weight.
Size that I can easy carry.
Proportions slim for elegancy.
A drawer for small things, and for giving myself a challenge of traditional Japanese drawer making.
Finally I choose to buy a bag of bamboo nails, this to try the traditional way, for beauty and again for giving myself a challenge – this I know is not traditional at all.
This video is what made me want to take the extra challenge, to put some traditional cabinetmaking details into my box, and to make the drawer after these principals.
Hope this blog can bring some inspiration to others that play with Japanese tools and work methods.
I want to send a special warm thought to Toshio Odate, thank you for inspire ring me with your book, but most of all my sister who offered me my Japanese chisels and a Kanna that was the reason why this interest started.
Here an interesting one with different types and plenty of inspiration:
-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.