Japanese Woodworking
Japanese Woodworking

Making a Folding Shoji or Room Divider


with Carl Swensson

As a woodworker you have probably seen Japanese hand tools, and possibly wondered what is so special about them. Perhaps you have purchased Japanese tools and experienced mixed results. Almost everyone loves the saws, but Japanese hand planes can be quite mysterious. The chisels and sharpening stones seem more straightforward, but there is much more to learn that makes these tools particularly effective and a pleasure to use.

This course solves the mystery. Japanese tools don’t look like western tools because they are meant to be used somewhat differently. Once introduced to these techniques, you will find that the design of Japanese tools is not only logical but also very efficient. For instance, Japanese saws and hand planes are meant to be pulled toward the body rather than pushed away from yourself. This means that you become more centered and controlled during each pass, rather than shifting yourself off-balance. With the saws, a pull stroke allows use of a much thinner blade, which makes a narrower kerf, but also requires less effort to use.

In response to requests from Carl’s past students who wish to return we are introducing a different project for this summer’s Japanese Woodworking class. Class participants will make a free-standing shoji screen, with double hinges between the sections, and a washi paper covering. Students will design their own projects, within parameters of size, complexity and individual work skills. Although the shoji is a specialized piece of furnishing, many aspects of the construction are fully applicable to making other types of furniture. The class is suitable for beginning and more advanced woodworkers.

The tuition for this 6 day class is $1050. This includes materials, meals and lodging. Because tool preparation and sharpening is a major component of the process, students bring their own basic set of tools to this course. This includes: 3 chisels, a hand plane, a set of Japanese water stones, and measuring/layout tools. We will help with suggestions on how to keep costs reasonable, and to prevent mistaken purchases.

www.japanwoodworker.com Phone: 1 800 537 7820
www.hidatool.com Phone: 1 800 443 5512

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Drew Langsner

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