October 2008


President's corner

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This 'n That

This 'n That

Manny is so knowledgeable with Japanese tools and methods that I thought a profile on him would interest the membership. He is involved with Daiku Dojo and their web site www.daikudojo.com explains who they are. Manny's interest in woodworking started in high school where took shop classes way back before school shops were replaced with computer labs. He also took metal working classes. He much preferred the warmth of wood as opposed to the coldness of working metal. As with most high school shops most if not all work was done with machinery. There was a handtool cabinet full of paint can openers and various shaped hammers and pry tools. Nobody ever said that they were actually called chisels, planes, awls, etc, much less how to use them. He continued off and on doing some type of woodworking through college and early in his career as an engineer. He finally decided it was time for some formal training and took most of the classes offered at the Woodworking Academy in Alameda. It was during this time that he would wander into theJapan Woodworker, in the same building, and look at all the Japanese handtools. So, he took a couple handtool classes at the Woodworker Academy and got hooked on the quiet side of woodworking. Since then he has taken more woodworking classes at other schools to widen his exposure to different styles and techniques. In 2000 he took a 3 month leave from work and spent 6 weeks of that time in Maine at The Center for Furniture Craftsmanship taking various classes. One of the classes he took was Japanese Tools with John Reed Fox.

It's been about 10 years since he picked up his first Japanese tool. While he was spending time at the Woodworker Academy and Japan Woodworker, he saw a brochure on Japanese style woodworking classes offered by Jay Van Arsdale. After taking a few of Jay's classes he leaned more towards using Japanese tools. He likes the feel and look of Japanese tools. He still uses western style tools for some operations. He also wanted to learn the art of making dais (a wooden body for a Japanese plane), so he twice attended the dai making seminar by Inomoto sponsored by Japanesetools.com in Pepperell, MA. He can now cut his own dais and make serviceable Japanese planes but still need a lot more practice....

As to handtools, his favorite plane is a toss up between the Imoto Masao Dai Dogyu and the KandaMosaku blade in the dai he made at the 2004 Inomoto seminar. His favorite chisels are his small set of Hisasaku brand he bought at Japan Woodworker when they briefly carried that brand. As far as saws, the Yataiki saws are numero uno! (How do you say that in Japanese, Manny?). As to powertools, his 24" Aggazzani bandsaw, 20" SCMI planer and 16" SCMI jointer are priceless. He likes to buy rough-cut lumber and those three tools allows him to mill it down to workable size very quickly.

Mark Rand