Japanese Woodworking tools - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 10-16-2017, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
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Japanese Woodworking tools

Hello Everyone,
I have a question for you experienced guys. I am a beginner in woodworking and slowly building my tool collection. Currently I am in Japan for work and will be here for a short time. If you had a chance to get woodworking tools in Japan what if any would you get? I would like to get a set that I can use but also have to display. I am also looking for info on Japanese Water Stones. I would like to take home a nice set. What types do you recommend. Any ideas would be appreciated.


Thank you,


Hipolito
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post #2 of 17 Old 10-17-2017, 12:25 AM
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DID SOMEONE SAY JAPAN!?!?

In all seriousness though personally I would seek out a nice handmade Japanese plane. Those things are wonderfully made. Either that or a traditional wood carving set.
I've never really used water stones before but I have heard great things about them. Happy shopping mate!
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post #3 of 17 Old 10-17-2017, 01:13 AM
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I was in Japan on business also ....

I was in Fujisawa City for about 10 weeks, and stayed at an English speaking hotel paid for by my Corporation. I had an English speaking co-worker who would drive both of us to work. One day while driving to the headquarters, I'm looking out the window and I asked "What is that store?" in a line of small shops. He said "it's a tool shop." We entered to find an slightly built elderly lady who stood behind the glass counter that was fill with chisels which had several years of dust on them and their boxes. The prices were at least 10 to 20 years old and they were a great bargain. Long story short, I bought many beautiful chisels and a few "slicks" which are used in timber framing. My friend said "You really made her day, She probably had never sold so many in a single day before." I was as excited as humanly possible to get them back home. :smile3:

I also shopped at Japan Woodworker for additional gouges and chisels when I returned and was so inspired:
https://www.japanwoodworker.com/categories/chisels

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f13/c...age-box-36553/

You probably already know this, but the Japanese style of woodworking is physically opposite to the English version, where they pull their thin bladed saws and their wood based planes rather than pushing them as we do. When pushing on a hand saw, the blade can bow out from the force causing it to wander from the line. If you pull on it, it will straighten out from the tension and cut straight.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 10-17-2017 at 01:17 AM.
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post #4 of 17 Old 10-17-2017, 02:15 AM
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I personally wouldn't buy the Japanese Water Stones while over there, they are fairly inexpensive here in the states. You might want to read up on the water stones also, they are pretty soft and need dressing before each use. They are good but I don't care that much for them for that reason.

I would go especially for their saws, planes and chisels, they are not cheap here and are second to none IMHO.
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post #5 of 17 Old 10-17-2017, 10:32 AM
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We should do a group buy. A set of chisels has to be half the price over there.

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post #6 of 17 Old 10-17-2017, 01:47 PM
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As a novice, I can't claim much knowledge about tools, but from what I have read, Japanese tools can be wonderfully made. There are different grades of Japanese tools - some are mass produced, while others may be exquisitely handcrafted, and much in-between. I have been to Japan on extended business trips (several weeks at a time).

From my reading, I learned that it takes matching experience and skill to take advantage of the highest quality handmade Japanese tools. Few people are qualified to take advantage of the highest grades of Japanese hand tools.

I do have a two-sided 1000/6000 grit Japanese water stone that I bought for less than $20 from Amazon. I use it as the final stage after courser grit diamond stones. I knew I was buying a cheap water stone, but I don't know if you can find better quality water stones in Japan, or what "better quality" means in the context of a water stone.

If I were you, I would be looking for chisels, hand planes, saws, and other quality steel tools to bring home. I think that the water stones are more easily obtained at a reasonable price in the US.

If I were you, I would be sure to understand the different types of Japanese tools, how to tell quality from "overpriced", and how much they cost if you were to buy them here, so that you can recognize bargains when you get there. In other words, get some learning first, and have a plan.
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post #7 of 17 Old 10-17-2017, 02:09 PM
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If I had the time, I'd look for a woodworking class. (In English).
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post #8 of 17 Old 10-17-2017, 05:03 PM
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What you buy should be related to the type of woodworking that you intend to do. I would not be useful to buy tools that you are never going to use.

George
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post #9 of 17 Old 10-17-2017, 07:26 PM
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Or buy a ton of tools or stones and sell them online when you get back home

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post #10 of 17 Old 10-18-2017, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
What you buy should be related to the type of woodworking that you intend to do. I would not be useful to buy tools that you are never going to use. [...]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saw Dust Sniffer View Post
Or buy a ton of tools or stones and sell them online when you get back home [...]
I agree with @GeorgeC. I understand @Saw Dust Sniffer's reasoning, but I doubt that @Hipolito wants to get into the Japanese tool import business. If it were me, I would pick up tools that I am likely to use or buy as gifts (nice gifts!!).
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post #11 of 17 Old 10-18-2017, 02:38 PM
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Or pick me something up 😀

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post #12 of 17 Old 10-19-2017, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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Well after the comments I am going to hold off on the Water Stones and pick up hand tools. Planes, saws, chisels to start with. I am doing research and looking for a local woodworker that can help me out.

Thanks again,

Hipolito
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post #13 of 17 Old 10-20-2017, 12:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hipolito View Post
Well after the comments I am going to hold off on the Water Stones and pick up hand tools. Planes, saws, chisels to start with. I am doing research and looking for a local woodworker that can help me out.

Thanks again,

Hipolito
Sounds very sensible to me. I hope you post photos of your choices when you get home. Have fun and good luck!
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post #14 of 17 Old 10-20-2017, 03:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hipolito View Post
Well after the comments I am going to hold off on the Water Stones and pick up hand tools. Planes, saws, chisels to start with. I am doing research and looking for a local woodworker that can help me out.

Thanks again,

Hipolito
Worth mentioning, but make sure the stuff you get youll be able to get through customs. I cant imagine a chisel or two in a checked bag would be much of a hold up, but a suitcase full of chisels and saws and planes will probably get you stopped

I need cheaper hobby
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post #15 of 17 Old 10-20-2017, 08:29 AM
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Customs is not the only problem. He will probably need a circus strong man to handle his baggage.

George
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post #16 of 17 Old 10-20-2017, 04:02 PM
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beware of customs

Quote:
Originally Posted by epicfail48 View Post
Worth mentioning, but make sure the stuff you get youll be able to get through customs. I cant imagine a chisel or two in a checked bag would be much of a hold up, but a suitcase full of chisels and saws and planes will probably get you stopped
It's been years, since my visit but I didn't declare everything and they don't like that. I can't remember the undeclared minimum you can bring in, but I was way over. I was a bit nervous, but it all worked out. :smile3:

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #17 of 17 Old 10-21-2017, 12:07 PM
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Whenever I see Japanese tools I think, "very expensive for something different but not better." Hundreds of dollars for a handplane you pull instead of push makes me love my vintage Baileys picked up on the cheap and refurbished in my shop even more. If the original poster is a beginning woodworker his funds wood be much better spent on some classes when he gets back to the USA....
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