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Japanese Woodworking Tools: Their Tradition, Spirit, and Use

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Review by mafe posted 08-20-2011 04:22 PM 2101 views 3 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Japanese Woodworking Tools: Their Tradition, Spirit, and Use No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Japanese Woodworking Tools: Their Tradition, Spirit, and Use
By: Toshio Odate

ISBN-10: 0941936465
ISBN-13: 978-0941936460

This book is one of the most inspiring woodworking tools books I have read.

Toshio Odate has a ability to tell what you want to know, what you need to know and still spice it with stories from his life, Japanese history and myths. This he do in the wonderful tone of a craftsman with a solid long apprenticeship under the wings of a master (his father) and a long life’s knowledge, he never over do, and never leave out the important, this is also the essence of the Japanese approach to the woodworking and tools.

The book is simply a short and interesting intro, and then he follow us through all the tools of Japanese woodworking one by one, the illustrations are a mix of photos and beautiful simple hand drawings, and this so you never feel left behind. It sounds simple, and this is also how you feel after, that you have seen a light, an understanding.

The book inspired me a lot and I have acquired few Japanese tools and learned how to set them up and use them with great joy.
Some will say the pull stroke when you use Japanese hand planes are not for Western people, and I completely disagree, I even disagree in those who say that you can’t use a mix of both types, this because it will make you use your muscles in different ways and in this way get less tired out, like you go to the gum not only to do pushups.
Personally I have a neck, shoulder and back problem due to a operation, and using the pull stroke makes me use my body weight much more effective and so I can work longer with less effort with the Japanese planes.

This book is a eye opener, a learning experience, like a travel in a new world.
I can highly recommend it, buy it!

Best thoughts,

MaFe

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.




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mafe

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17 comments so far

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llwynog

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#1 posted 08-20-2011 06:32 PM

Bought the book 2 weeks ago. Haven’t have time to read it yet but looking forward to it.

-- Fabrice - "On est bien bête mais on sent bien quand on se fait mal" - my grandfather

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racerglen

2303 posts in 1433 days


#2 posted 08-20-2011 08:28 PM

MaFe.. With all the projects you do…..
WHERE THE H E DOUBLE TOOTHPICKS..do you find the time to read, let alone review and
POST ?????/

-- Glen, Vernon B.C. Canada

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Dennisgrosen

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#3 posted 08-20-2011 09:18 PM

thank´s for the rewiew Mads

take care
Dennis

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mafe

9509 posts in 1742 days


#4 posted 08-20-2011 09:25 PM

Hi,

Fabrice, you will love it! That is a promise.

Glen, after I just read comments on my review of the Anarchist I might just stop reviewing…
I love to read, it is a sickness, it makes me relax and my brain full of ideas at the same time, and yes to learn new and never stop is like a wild river once we are in.

Best thoughts,
Mads

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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lanwater

3083 posts in 1587 days


#5 posted 08-21-2011 07:29 AM

I bought this one after you mention it in you chisel blog. I am still on chapter 2 since I am trying to read several books at the same time.
I will let you know how I like it.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

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mafe

9509 posts in 1742 days


#6 posted 08-21-2011 11:12 AM

Hi guys,
Ian, I will await with pleasure.
Best thoughts,
Mads

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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Don W

15029 posts in 1220 days


#7 posted 08-21-2011 03:24 PM

Thanks Mads. Any book that has that much inspiration to you is a must read for me. I’ve added it to my xmas list.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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RGtools

3302 posts in 1307 days


#8 posted 08-21-2011 05:31 PM

I have been considering this book for a while. Thanks for the review I might have to grab it now.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

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mafe

9509 posts in 1742 days


#9 posted 08-21-2011 07:20 PM

I have always (especially as an architect) had a soft spot for Japan, it is the spirit, the ‘zen’ or what ever it is called, a underplayed urge to perfect and still keep it simple, a respect for all the elements in life, and this shines through in their tools I feel.
Some of you know that I have been exploring the Japanese tools fo a while now, and even bought some tools, and this tour has just started, I can feel it getting under my skin, I’m working on a Japanese inspired workbench / board now so I will be able to get the full potentiale of my Japanese tools, and plan on a beam also, so yes I got the bug is here, perhaps he was hiding in some of the old Japanese tools I bought, but I was with no doubt infected by Toshio Odate.
Best thoughts,
Mads

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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gko

79 posts in 1897 days


#10 posted 08-22-2011 04:01 AM

I met a tool master in Japan and he said the best book about Japanese tools written in English is this one. Interestingly, after reading I called Hida Tools and asked for a more advanced book. The reply was “read it again. It was a tiny blow to my ego but I read the chapters on sharpening and read stuff I didn’t see on first reading. My sharpening improved greatly. Called them again and got the same reply. Again, read it and saw more detail that I had missed. Some things like putting a slight curve in the sole of my plane was so foreign and plain wrong to me but when I tried it my Japanese plane made a quantum leap in its shavings. His stories about his life and the Japanese spirit are so inspiring. Thanks for doing this review.

Grant

-- Wood Menehune, Honolulu

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fissionchips

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#11 posted 11-27-2011 06:25 AM

I’m really enjoying this book, especially the stories about the shokunin’s (craftsman’s) lifestyle. I like that in the new year they give an offering of rice cakes and tangerines to their tools as thanks for their year’s output.

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mafe

9509 posts in 1742 days


#12 posted 11-27-2011 04:30 PM

Grant, I’m reading…. Laugh.Yes I agree with you, a slap on the ego but the truth.
Fissions, yes we have to remember that this newyear.
Best thoughts,
Mads

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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colortones

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#13 posted 12-09-2011 09:36 PM

thank you for the review!

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mafe

9509 posts in 1742 days


#14 posted 12-10-2011 09:03 PM

;-)

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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Woodfix

323 posts in 1952 days


#15 posted 09-26-2012 05:50 AM

Great review Mafe. I agree with your point about using both. I have some fantastic western saws that i love but for some jobs you cannot beat a Japanese pull saw. I have considering getting this book and you have confirmed it on my purchase list.

Doug

-- Living is a constant gamble, life is about working the odds in your favour

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