Japanese Woodworking Tools – Basic Tool Kit

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In this post, we going to do is give you a set of guidelines for getting started with Japanese woodworking tools.

Now there are a couple of other people that have talked about the specific types of tools that they use, such as the samurai carpenter.

Finally, I encourage you to check that out just for the information’s sake, but what we’re gonna cover here is just the basic stuff, not necessarily brands, but just what you actually need to get started in Japanese woodworking.

I’m gonna make this as general as possible. I’m not gonna get into the different specialized tools for different specialized crafts, just the basics, and just the stuff. You need to get your feet wet now, depending on what you’re gonna build.

You can kind of adjust this list of guidelines and you know get some different tools. I would highly suggest you look at the different types of crafts that there are, but anyway, to start up this list.

The very first thing you should get is a saw. Yes, the nine and a half inch where the saw is the most useful and most general-purpose saw and most of the Japanese woodworking that you’ll find yourself doing, depending on the space that you got.

You can get a bigger saw or smaller saw, and if you want to make bigger projects, you’re gonna need a bigger saw, but the nine and a half Ryoga I found is the most kind of you know best of both worlds sort of size.

You can get some smaller ones, but if you’ve got a bigger piece and you need to use something bigger than this is kind of a good mid-sized, you know all-around balanced approach to it and make sure you get a good way of a saw.

You can get some cheap ones, and you know it just depends on what you prefer. What your budget is, there’s no we’re a wrong budget for this, but make sure you get something at least nine and a half inches you’ll kind of find that will cover all the bases evenly and next up is a couple of squares.

I usually recommend getting at least one kind of tri squares for general work and for checking the planes, and I also recommend getting an adjustable square for you know various adjustable reasons you can think of all the different uses that that may come in handy.

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For now. You don’t necessarily need anything super complicated, but I do also recommend getting some sort of an angle gauge. This is an old machinist think this is called an inclinometer, so these are actually pretty handy just for making sure the angles on your things are correct.

If you’re gonna be cutting dovetails are very useful for that, so measuring tools are kind of a general-purpose thing. You can pick them up anywhere, whatever you get just to make sure you get something. That’S at least 17, maybe 18 inches long for your tri square and adjustable square.

You know you can kind of make do with whatever you got just get what’s within your budget and get at least one try square at least one adjustable square, and next on the list is a good hammer. This is called a Daruma hammer.

This is a chisel hammer, primarily and they’re, commonly found in a lot of Japanese shops. You’Re not going to find these as easily as you’re going to find something like a foo, not a hammer or a Gucci hammer.

But the general purpose is kind of the same as the other Japanese hammers. You have a flat face and you have a convex face, and these are nice for driving chisels because that big wide head gives you a lot of space to really you know, drive it through and do some damage with that now if you’re getting a good quality Head it will not come with a handle.

This one is made from Osage orange. That’S a really cool wood if you’re not familiar with it, and this is actually just a branch from a tree. I just cut it off and then made it into a hammer handle, but get yourself one in the range of 275 to 375 grams should work just about perfect, for you know just about any general task.

Remember we’re just trying to cover all the bases here. If you want to get a heavier hammer, something kind of in this range, then you know feel free to the same kind of deal with this one, except this one’s way bigger way heavier.

I call this one, the big trucker, because it just tends to really get stuff done, but a couple of hammers, or at least one good hammer in that sort of 275 375 weight range, should work great for just about everything you would want to do just getting Started out now, chisels are an entirely different thing and you can get whatever size you want.

Japanese chisels are just kind of nice to have and they are a gorgeous gorgeous thing with the scalloped on the back, but the general rule that I have followed is to have one small and one big one.

Now the purpose of the big one is twofold: not just to cut things that are wider, but also to tune the bottom of planes and I’ll show you how I do that later on, but anyway, two chisels at least one small one, one big one, the big One you can go, I don’t know 30 42 millimeters small one can be anywhere from 18 to 30.

It just kind of depends on what you have available and what your preferences are, but again there’s no wrong size. You just need at least two one small one. One big one and the other chisel you should definitely get is a three-millimeter chisel of some variety that you don’t have to get this long.

This is, I think, of framing length, as this thing is huge, but these are absolutely essential and needed for tuning planes. So if you think about it, a small gap on the side of a Japanese plane, it will cut that just perfectly and you can use it for small little joinery and small little crafts so make sure you get at least a three-millimeter little mid-sized one And a much bigger one, that’s really all you need to get started with chisels next up is sharpening now sharpening is a really really hot thing in Japanese woodworking.

I don’t really buy into all that. I just kind of make do with loga, but you do need at least one stone and a way to keep this stone flat. So a diamond plate of some variety that will keep your still decently flat is great.

Stone. Grit is kind of a preference thing. There are two-sided stones, but I’ve recommended keeping it to an absolute minimum goes once you go down that hole, it’s a very, very, very deep and very expensive radical to buy very nice stones, so keep it simple when you’re first starting out at least one stone and At least one diamond plate, now of all the things on this list, you can kind of get by with just getting cheaper versions, but the only thing I think you should really spend the money on is one very nice plain now.

This is where I’m just kind of a stickler, but I think that the plain is one of the most important tools you can possibly own. You should not buy a cheap plane to get started because cheap planes tend to take more work to get them set up.

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There is a pain to get started and there is a pain to get going and they usually are not made to a very high quality so buy at least one really good plane. This is a 70 millimeter. You can get kind of caught up in the sizes, but I’ll be honest.

I’ve really used a 70 for just about everything. The larger the plane is the more work and the more finicky they are to adjust. Keep that in mind, if you’re gonna, if you’re the type of person that is not a patient person, you should not get a larger plane, but if you can handle learning them, the larger plane is definitely rewarding and they’re very fun to use, but anything from the Kind of 50-millimeter range to that 65 is kind of considered a starting kind of a mid-range size, but I prefer the 70 personally.

But again, that’s just me doesn’t mean it’s gonna work for your situation. Not everything else on your list can be as cheap as you want it. You can be on a budget, but the only thing I think that you should absolutely spend the most money on is your plane.

This sucker here is the heart of most of the Japanese woodworking. This is kind of what sets it apart, just in form and function so get a good one. It will last you the rest of your lifetime and take care of it.

It’Ll take care of you in addition to that plane. You need a ways to adjust it. I do not recommend using a metal hammer on a fine, Japanese plane. I use a wooden mallet. This is just something that I kind of threw together.

Nothing too special. It’S just a plain old wooden mallet, but the nice thing is with a wooden mallet. You can still get some pretty good adjustments and the nice thing is you’re, not gonna put some mushrooms on the back of your plane, and if you do it’s just gonna take a long long time to do it.

Remember if I’m adjusting with this guy, I’m gonna really really mushroom that out pretty fast. So just keep that in mind, you can use a brass hammer too, but I prefer a wood hammer because they’re, cheap they’re, plentiful and they’re easy to replace.

Plus you get a chance to make something kind of fun, so this, ladies and gentlemen, is a complete, Japanese, beginning woodworking tool kit. I wanted to show you earlier what I mentioned about having a large chisel whenever it comes time to tune your plane, a large chisel.

Actually makes a fantastic scraper to tune your plane to whatever you prefer. Save you a little bit of time saves you a little bit of space instead of having to have a little scraper plane specifically for it.

Now, I’m sure a couple of you pessimistic thinking types are just saying: well what can you build with just that? Well, the real question is: what can’t you build with just that there’s a lot of stuff in the world that was built with a surprisingly small tool.

Kit and the only limitation is the way you can think it through. If you can learn to think creatively about things and think efficiently, then there is nothing that you cannot do. Think small. If you have to think big, if you have to just get the job done in one way, shape or form and honestly there’s not much, you can’t do with what you got here.

I mean with these tools. You could probably make any tool you would possibly need. If you recall from my previous beginning woodworking tool, video thingy thing I posted a while back you’ll. Probably remember me saying that you should probably buy tools that you can use to make other tools.

You could definitely do that with the tools that you got here, but anyway hope you found it enjoyable and educational, even if it’s just a little too practical.

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