September 14, 2018

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Using our Chopstick Jig to make your own Chopsticks

Our chopstick-making jig is ingenious in its simplicity, but does require a little bit of practice to get it turning out perfect utensils every time. Here are the steps to producing a chopstick in our jig, as well as a couple of tips or tricks.

1. Our jig accepts timber blanks 8mm tick in both dimensions, and about mm long. There is some adjustability in the locking mechanism to allow for slightly shorter or longer lengths. Many blanks can be produced quickly and easily on a band saw or table saw. If you don't have access to these tools, we now stock blanks in a variety of timbers. Click here to browse our selection. 

2. Once unpacked from the box, the Japanese plane may need some tuning to get it into working condition. This is a quick process requiring simple tools - a hammer, a pencil and a file or sharp chisel, and a great way to learn about your new plane. Click here to view our plane setup page for detailed information.

3. If you own a sharpening stone, feel free to give the blade a touch up before putting it to work. If you don't own any sharpening equipment, not to worry - the edge will be sharp out of the box. Bear in mind that if you're thinking of making a lot of chopsticks, the edge will dull. A 1000/3000 combination stone will allow you many years of use from your plane and any other edged tool. Click here to view it as a single item or here as part of our sharpening kit. 

One you have your blanks and the plane is ready to go, it's time to make some shavings!

4. Take a pencil and number the sides of your first blank from 1 to 4, working around the four sides. Sides 1 and 2 will be worked on the first side of the jig (showing numbers 1-2) and sides 3 and 4 will be worked on the second side of the jig (showing numbers 3-4).

5. Start with the jig's side that read 1-2 facing up. Ensuring the top wedge of the jig is completely open, place the blank in the rail of the jig with the blank's number 1 facing up, and slide the wedge across to bring the locking mechanism into contact with the end of the blank and hold it securely in place.

It is easiest to keep the numbered end of your chopstick at the numbered end of the jig. If you turn the chopstick end-for-end in a subsequent step, the taper will cancel itself out, leaving you with a very nice normal stick instead of a chopstick. 

6. Place the plane at the end of the jig farthest from you with the edge ready to cut on its way back towards you. Placing one hand on top of the plane and one hand at the back, take a slow test cut. 

If the plane does not take any timber off the blank, the blade may need to be gently tapped further in. If the blade jams in the blank, the blade may need to be backed off with gentle taps to the back of the plane. 

Use the first stroke to determine the grain direction on this side of the blank. If the surface is rough, turn the whole jig and take a shaving or two in the opposite direction. A little trial and error should produce a smooth finish on the timber.

7. Once you are confident of planing with the grain, run the plane along the jig repeatedly, taking shaving after shaving. Allow the plane to keep working until no more shavings are produced and the plane bottoms out on the jig. Congratulations! You have finished the first side of your chopstick.

8. Release the wedge, remove the blank, turn it to side two and place it back in the jig, resetting the wedge. Work the second side in the same way as the first, until plane no longer takes shavings.

The first two sides require the most material removal and will take the longest.

9. Remove the blank from the jig and flip the whole jig over to reveal the face that reads "3-4". Reinsert the blank with the number 3 facing up, take a couple of test passes to check for grain direction, and work the blank in the required direction until the plane bottoms out on the jig once more. 

Note: As the blank is now quite thin, placing excessive force on the wedge can force the blank to bend in the jig. This will produce a bent or excessively chopstick. Apply only the necessary force to hold the blank, not compress it.

10. Remove the blank, turn it to the final side 4 and replace in the jig. Check for grain direction, and work the side with plane. Once the plane bottoms out, remove you chopstick, give it a good look and admire your handiwork. Now all it needs is a pair!

 

September 14, 2018

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Understanding the Japanese Saw

Japanese saws are distinctive from western hand saws in a few crucial ways, most of which rely on the fact that they cut on the pull-stroke. Since the blade of the saw cuts as it is drawn towards the user, rather than as it is pushed away, the blade is constantly in tension while cutting. This means that the saw plate can be made of very thin metal, even for saws designed to rip boards. In turn, because these saws leave a fine kerf, they remove less material as they cut and therefore are extremely efficient, requiring less effort and time compared to a similarly sized Western counterpart with a greater blade thickness.

The sizing of teeth in Japanese saws is generally proportional to the size of the saw itself. A larger saw usually means a larger tooth pattern, meaning a saw can cut faster and more aggressively, but the finish it leaves will be rougher. The smaller a Japanese saw is, the finer the teeth, which are capable of leaving extremely fine surfaces, but require more strokes to achieve the same cut. Japanese saw teeth are also graduated along the saw blade — often, the teeth closest to the handle are smaller and finer than the teeth farthest away, which are intentionally larger. This allows the user to start the cut with the fine teeth and progress to the more aggressive teeth once a kerf has been established.

A noteworthy exemption to this rule is our range of Silky saws. Silky has chosen to adopt the Western method of manufacturing uniform teeth on their sawblades, and offering different saws with finer or more aggressive tooth sizings in the same overall length. Click here to view our Silky saws.

Pull saws in the Japanese tradition range widely in use and specialisation.

The Ryoba Saw

The ryoba saw is prized by Japanese carpenters for its versatility, as it combines two specialised functions into one highly capable tool. Ryoba blades feature two teeth patterns on either edge of the blade — one set for cross-cutting across the grain of timber, and the other for rip-cutting with the grain. A Ryoba saw can be used to rip a board to the desired width with one edge and cut it to length with the other, or pressed into service on larger joinery if required.

If you are considering a first purchase of a Japanese saw, we recommend the Ryoba style as being the most capable of handling whatever is thrown at it, whether in the workshop or on a job site. The absence of a spine makes the ryoba appropriate for deep cuts or ripping, and the sawplate and teeth are quite tough and robust. We find that once a woodworker has tried this workhorse of a tool, it is destined to become part of a growing collection of Japanese saws.

The Dozuki Saw

The dozuki pattern of saw is a specialised saw for joinery and fine cuts. The word dozuki in Japanese refers to a tenon shoulder, and it is from this saw’s specialisation that it takes its name. Dozuki saws use extremely fine blades and their teeth are given very minimal set, meaning that they barely protrude past the side of the saw plate. Because the blade is so extremely fine a dozuki saw uses a steel or brass spine as reinforcement, and is capable of cuts only as deep as the distance from the teeth to the spine.

Given the thinness of these blades, dozuki saws are ideal for fine work and the surface they leave does not require refinishing with either a chisel or plane. With a little practice, they are capable of following extremely precise lines and excel at detailed joinery, whether for dovetails, tenons, or any of the more specialised Japanese joints Western woodworkers are continually discovering.

A dozuki saw depends on its owner using a sawing motion that moves both directly forward and directly back, exactly parallel to the desired cut. If any left/right twist is introduced into the user’s action, the teeth of the saw may give way as they are driven into a quantity of timber they are not capable of removing. A lost tooth will not generally affect the performance of the saw greatly, but a greater strain will be placed on the tooth behind it as it is required to do the work of two teeth instead of one, and this tooth may also fatigue and detach.

As such, though they are capable of cuts beyond compare, Dozuki saws should be used with patience and care in order to maximise their lifespan. If you are familiar with Japanese saws and are able to follow a line with a Ryoba or Kataba style saw, you should have little difficulty and will certainly enjoy using a Dozuki. And, if worse comes to worse, we offer replacement blades for all of our saws so that you can get back to making cuts with less hassle and fewer profanities.

The Kataba Saw

Kataba saws are literally any type of saw that has teeth on only one side of the saw plate and strictly speaking this category includes spined Dozuki saws. However, we choose to separate the two, as the uses of the non-spined Kataba are more similar to the Ryoba.

Instead of incorporating both cross- and rip-cut teeth, the Kataba includes only one set. The advantage here is most easily felt when ripping long boards. Though the Ryoba employs a perfectly good set of rip teeth, the more heavily set cross-cut teeth eventually have to travel through the thinner kerf of the rip-cut teeth, and are prone to scratching the previously clean surface.

Kataba style saws eliminate this problem by shedding one set of teeth and specialising as either a robust cross-cut saw or a rip-cut saw, capable of ripping boards to width while leaving unmarred smooth surfaces.

Flush Cut Saws

Perhaps the most widely adopted Japanese saw in the West, the flush-cut saw is named for its function. By cutting teeth with zero set into a ductile, bendable blade, Japanese saw makers were able to invent the perfect tool for removing excess material protruding through completed joints. Through-tenons, dowels, wooden nails and plugs are easily trimmed to the height of the surrounding surface without damaging it.

September 04, 2018

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Making the Most of Our Complete Sharpening Kit

If you have recently purchased our Complete Sharpening Kit as an introduction to the world of hand-, jig- or waterstone-sharpening, congratulations! With a high quality ceramic Japanese waterstone and the ability to flatten it, you have in front of you the basic equipment with which to make your knives or tools very sharp indeed, and to keep them that way. We’ve put together this guide to help you get the most out of your Kit.

The Glass Plate and Sandpaper

The function of the glass plate is to flatten the waterstone. Your Kit ships with two different grades of sandpaper, and we recommend adhering a sheet of each grit to either side of the glass plate, giving you a two-sided flattening plate. The glass is of a size that will allow you to cut three flattening sheets from one piece of sandpaper.

Use the lower grit sandpaper to flatten the coarser stone (#1000) and the higher grit for the finer stone (#3000 or #6000, depending on your kit).

Always flatten your stones before beginning the sharpening process, while they are dry. This will give you more life from the abrasive and is quicker than flattening the stones while they are wet. Flattening wet stones with the adhesive backed abrasive can lead to the paper swelling and going out of flat, or the adhesive coming free from the glass plate.

Draw some pencil lines on the stone to see which ones are abraded off and which ones are left on as you flatten. If the process of flattening is not removing your pencil marks, the sandpaper may have captured too much stone dust to work properly. Remove the built up dust from the sandpaper with a brush or broom and continue flattening.

For best results use circular motions while flattening, or work your stone in several directions (across, diagonally, top to bottom). Once your pencil marks have been worn off, your stone should be nice and flat. Before placing any tools on the stone, it is important to wash your stone very well after flattening. This will ensure that any grit from the abrasive can’t be embedded in the stone and ruin the edge of your tools or knives.

The Camellia Oil

The camellia oil is never to be put on the stones — lubricate and soak the stones with WATER ONLY. Use the camellia oil to lightly coat your tool or knife after sharpening, washing and drying. This will protect the edge from moisture. The Camellia oil does not have a use-by date and, barring a tragedy involving a lost lid and 180 degree inversion, should last many years in normal use.

The Cerax Waterstones

Soak the stone for around ten minutes before use— the coarser the stone, the less time is required. When placed in water, it is usually possible to see small air bubbles escape from the stone. Once the air bubbles no longer appear, the stone may well be ready to be put to use. If your stone quickly becomes dry during the sharpening process, it is too dry and is soaking up the water that is necessary to act as a cutting agent. Resubmerge the stone for a couple of minutes before continuing.

We find a plastic spray bottle filled with water to be the easiest and cleanest way of lubricating a stone during use, though a rub down with a wet hand or rag works just as well. Some users prefer to sharpen while retaining as much slurry as possible on top of the stone, while others deliberately remove it. We suggest you experiment to figure out whether it makes a difference for you.

Freehand sharpening undoubtedly requires practice to deliver consistent results, but don’t be put off by the idea that you may not get it right the first time. Sharpening is a skill that is acquired with practice and patience. We hope you enjoy this first great step along a long and fulfilling road, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@japanesetools.com.au.

September 04, 2018

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Using Waterstones - The Essentials

It is essential to follow a few basic principles to get the best out of any waterstone.

Keep your stone flat by dressing its surface with a flat, coarse abrasive. Adhesive-backed sandpaper stuck to a piece of appropriately sized glass gives good results and is inexpensive. Using a coarser grain waterstone to dress finer grain stones is a well known method, but for best results a third stone should be introduced to the process, as two stones can begin to mirror each other's undulations. Finally, a coarse diamond stone can be used - as long as it is flat.

Avoid cross-contaminating your stones while sharpening, and be sure to rinse your workpiece as well as your stones thoroughly when moving between grits. Introducing coarse abrasives from a sharpening stone onto a fine-grained honing stone will slow down your sharpening, undo your good polishing work as fast as it happens, and potentially impregnate your stone with the wrong sized abrasive.

Maintain a constant angle as you guide your workpiece across the stone. This is especially important when sharpening kitchen knives without a guide, as any differences in geometry are accentuated. Sharpening guides can be useful when sharpening tools, however with practice freehand sharpening will also yield great results.

Aim to raise a burr across the entire length of your blade's edge, at least on the lower grits. Only move on from the #1000 and coarser stones once a burr is noticeable, and even on finer stones a small burr is preferable (though it can be hard to detect).

Browse our japanese waterstones
August 14, 2018

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Tuning Your New Japanese Plane Before First Use

Our planes, like all Japanese planes, ship from the manufacturer with a small amount of tuning yet to be done. This allows users to tune their plane for use in the conditions it will be continually used in, eliminating the problem of wood movement between climates. 

 

Most traditional Japanese planes and chisels will require some knowledge and tuning to use them to their full ability.

In Japanese craft tradition, a blacksmith manufactures only the blade of plane or a chisel. In some cases they may manufacture a chipbreaker to match a plane blade, but most of the time a separate craftsman will be asked to manufacture a chipbreaker. In either case, most Japanese planes and chisels are finished by craftsmen who are not the blacksmith, whose job it is to cut the wooden dai for a plane, or fit a wooden handle to a chisel.

The belief that permeates and underpins this system is one of specialisation – traditionally, Japanese craftsmen will only learn one trade in order to master that skill and material totally. Blacksmiths do not work with wood, toolmakers do not forge their own blades. What this means is that when a woodworker purchases a traditionally made tool, he holds the sum total of several artisans’ work in his hands. It is left to the new owner of the tool to tune and refine it, allowing all of its parts to work together in harmony.

A Japanese chisel will require 1-2 hours of preparation before it can be used. This includes flattening the back of the blade, sharpening the bevel and then fitting the iron hoop to the handle.

A Japanese plane will also require about 1-2 hours of work to tune it for use.  This includes flattening the back of the blade, sharpening the bevel of the blade and flattening the chipbreaker to ensure a precise fitment against the blade and in the plane body. The blade will also need to be tuned to the plane body. This is a more time-consuming task, as the blade acts as a wedge in two ways – against the sides of the plane body, and against the supporting timber beneath it.

Plane makers in Japan, whether mass-producing or doing small runs of bespoke tools, universally size their plane bodies to be too tight to fit the blacksmith’s blade. This is because if a plane with a tightly fitted blade were to move to a drier environment (which is especially a concern if a plane is being shipped to Australia), it would become too loose to use.

For a woodworker, there are many wonderful benefits that come from tuning your own tools. The first and foremost is learning about the relationship between timber and steel and how they relate to each other. Ultimately the process of woodworking revolves around using steel to shape timber, so holding a well-founded understanding about how a blade can be held in place with only pressure from a simple wedge, or how a chisel can withstand a lifetime of striking thanks to well-fitted hoop, deepens a craftsperson’s connection with his work and his appreciation for the tradition that he is continuing.

The journey of woodworking is a long and rewarding one, not only thanks to the beautiful forms that are created along the way, but also because of how they come to be created. Learning about these tools and understanding how to get the best out of them makes for better craftspeople. For those who prefer to pick up a tool and get straight to work, western style planes and chisels are available from many fine makers and are often ready to go straight off the shelf. We own western planes and also some hand-made Australian planes and enjoy using them all.

One more important point on tuning Japanese planes, is that there are many ways a plane can be set up to achieve different tasks. The traditional planes we sell are setup as a smoothing plane, however they can be alternatively be set up as a jointer or as a roughing-out plane to remove larger amounts of material. Traditional Japanese furniture is finished off the plane and not sanded - a smoothing plane can leave a piece looking and feeling perfectly flat. A chisel can also be setup for paring or, by placing a micro-bevel on its edge, the same chisel can be used to strike through Australian hard woods. With a detailed knowledge of how these tools work and what can be done to change their attributes, they open up a world of possibilities in the craft of woodworking.

Tuning a Japanese plane before first use

The aim of tuning any Japanese plane is simple - to seat the blade squarely inside the plane body, and so that it will be held firmly in position with the appropriate amount of the cutting edge available to the wood.

Tools required

The tools required are few but can be specialised. They are;

  • A small hammer or mallet for gently tapping the blade or the plane body while adjusting the blade. A crowned striking face will remove the likelihood of damage to the wooden body, along with gentle, repeated taps.
  • A method of flattening the back of the blade. We recommend our glass plate with adhesive sandpaper, used in conjunction with water stones.
  • A method of sharpening the bevel. We use our range of Cerax waterstones.
  • A fine tool for paring the sides of the plane that  may constrict the blade. A small 3mm chisel or fine file are ideal.
  • A lead pencil
  • A way of paring away timber in small increments from below the back of the blade. A flat file or sharp chisel of about 12-18mm works well.
  • Finally, a metal file for tuning the rear corners of the chipbreaker to seat it close to the blade's edge.

Flattening the back of the blade

A flat back of the blade is fundamental to forming a sharp bevel across the length of the cutting edge, and also a prerequisite to seating the chipbreaker tightly to the blade.

 

We use a flat glass plate covered with adhesive sandpaper to flatten our water stones when they are dry. After rubbing the back of the blade on a flat stone, the high spots that have been abraded will be visiblly dulled on a coarse stone, while the low spots that have not been touched by the stone will retain their factory finish. A 1000 stone is usually sufficient for this first step, though if a blade is severely out of flat, it will be significantly quicker to use a harsher stone, or begin by flattening the back on the stone itself, and then moving on to the water stones.

We flatten less than the front 10mm of the blade - that is, the cutting edge, and only enough material behind it to keep it flat and balanced on the stone.

Once the back of the cutting edge is uniformly flat, move on to the next grit available. This applies regardless of the brand of waterstone or oil or diamond stone you use, as long as the surface is flat. Diamond stones are designed to retain their flatness and so are especially god at this job while requiring little maintenance.

Sharpening the bevel of the blade

The skill of maintaining sharp tools is fundamental to working wood, and is one that can be acquired, honed and practiced over a life time. There are many different tools and many different techniques that people employ in pursuit of "sharpness", but we would consider this a "quick-start" guide for those looking to get good results from Japanese water stones.

All our tools ship with a ground bevel, but are far from as sharp as they can be made to be. Depending on the manufacture of the tools, these bevels may be nice and flat, or they may have a "hollow grind", but either form will allow them to be balanced on a flat sharpening stone with hand pressure.

Used blades may suffer from heavy gouging or rust pitting, which would require regrinding the bevel, but a new blade should be free from nicks or dents, and often would be ready to be presented to a 1000 grit stone. Place the blade bevel down on the stone, holding it in such a manner as to support the angle of the tool.

Applying gentle pressure, move the tool back and forth while keeping the angle of the tool on the stone uniform. This is, in one sentence, the simplest and most difficult aspect of sharpening a tool on a waterstone. Be patient, experiment with what works for you. Work the stone evenly, moving your strokes around the stone to spread out the dishing that will occur as the stone is worn away by the sharpening process.

Depending on the function of the tool, you may wish to tune the form of bevel. Chisels benefit from a flat, square bevel. Plane blades that will be used for smoothing benefit from a very slightly curved bevel that presents the middle of the blade to the work surface but does not allow the edges of the blade to protrude past the plane body.

If you begin to sharpen the bevel of the blade and find only the centre of the bevel is contacting the stone, the blade has been intentionally shaped at the factory to suit it to smoothing. If you want to keep this profile, work on different segments of the blade at the time, placing pressure alternately at the centre and at the edges. Once the whole length of the bevel has been worked, the process can be repeated on higher grit stones.

If you would like to tune your plane for heavy material removal, increasing the curve of the blade will allow you to take bigger 'bites'. Work the edge more than the centre.

If you would like to tune your plane to leave very flat surfaces, work the centre of the blade harder in order to bring it back to the same plane as the edges. A rougher stone or diamond plate will be a great help in this.  Adjusting the sole of your plane will also be necessary to use it as a jointing tool.

Moving beyond the 1000 grit stone gives you a higher polish on the bevel and a finer edge. If you do not have any higher-grit stones available, the slurry that has been worked up on the 1000 stone can be transferred to piece of softwood to turn it into a sort of strop. By working the slurry on wood the 1000-grit particles are broken down to smaller and smaller sizes, transforming them into 2000 or 3000-grit abrasives and lending a polish to your blade.

If you do own finer grit stones, such as as those provided by in our 1000/3000 and 1000/6000 combination stones, repeat the process above for each grit until you have a uniform finish on the bevel. Once finished on a 3000 grit stone, a plane or chisel blade should certainly be able to shave hair - though testing their sharpness on a piece of wood instead may save you some explaining later.

For those interested in highly polished tools, final honing can be done with a leather strop.
Inserting the blade - sides

When inserting the blade into the plane, the first concern is to ensure that it is not being constrained by the sides of the plane body. Tap the blade in (leave the chipbreaker aside for the moment).

When the blade is in position and almost out of the sole, hold the plane up to the light to see if the plane blade is touching either side of the plane body. It needs a half-millimetre gap between the sides of the blade and the plane itself to squarely seat the blade to the sole.
If there is no gap on one of the sides, this can be fixed. Remove the blade and use a 3mm chisel or a thin file to shave off some material from the interior of the plane body where it is contacting the side of the blade.

Ideally, you would like the blade to be parallel or square to the sole with 0.5mm space on each side of the blade. Once the blade is bedded and the cutting edge is exactly where you want it, re-check these dimensions, especially if your blade is not settling square.

Inserting the blade - depth

Chances are that your plane blade will now be sitting in the plane body about 3-5mm from the actual mouth, a long way from actually working wood of any sort. The timber of the plane body that sits directly under the blade will need to be carefully pared away in order allow the blade to drop far enough to protrude from the mouth, taking care to maintain its tight fit to allow fine adjustments.

Rub the face of the blade that sits face-down in the plane (the side with the bevel) with the lead pencil, covering it with a layer of graphite. Then insert it into the plane and gently tap the blade as far as it is willing to go. Remove the blade by tapping the back of the plane, keeping a steadying finger over the blade. The pencil that was left on the blade should have rubbed off onto the timber of the plane below it - but only onto the high spots. These high spots, easily visible thanks to the layer of pencil covering them, are ready to be pared down gently with a sharp chisel or flat file.

Slice away the pencil marks left on the plane body and insert the blade once more. It should slide in slightly further, but still may not protrude. Remove the blade again, check to see where the high areas are and pare them off once more.
Repeat this process until the blade draws level with the mouth of the plane, testing it as you go. Feeling (carefully) or testing on timber is much more reliable than using sight. It's important not to pare away too much timber from the plane body - if this occurs, the blade will be too loose, present too much of the cutting edge and be impossible too use. We have heard of people gluing a piece of paper into the plane to rectify this, but have not tried it ourselves.

By now, if the blade is gently protruding from the plane and well-honed, you are holding a tuned tool that is ready to be used on timber. With the preparation of the chip breaker, its capabilities are greatly expanded.

The Chip Breaker

The chipbreaker sits between the metal cross-pin of the plane and the blade. For the breaker to work effectively, it needs to have a flat front edge that sits just behind the cutting edge of the blade - 0.2 to 0.5mm behind it. As it ships, however, the chip breaker may not be close to the edge.

Insert the chip-breaker into the plane and tap it lightly into position. If its front edge does not seat close to the blade's edge, it's rear corners will need to be adjusted with a metal file. Gently remove material from the rear corners, reinsert it into the plane and observe if it now sits close to the desired position. The chip breaker should not be required to wedge the blade in place - that is done by the plane body itself. If the chip breaker is still tight, take it out and gently file the rear corners once more.

For the chip breaker to function properly, it is useful to flatten its back face in the same way as the back of the plane blade. If you are concerned about it being warped, place it on a known flat surface such as a glass plate. Hold the front flat on the surface and tap each of the rear corners - if you hear a noise, it means that corner has had more material removed than the other.

 

Click here for our printable colour pdf with instructions on how to tune your plane. 

July 26, 2018

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Whetstones, Wetstones, Waterstones & Water Stones

We are often asked about using whetstones, wetstones and water stones for sharpening tools and knives, so we thought we’d take a moment to clear up the confusion. Water stones are whetsones, and also wet stones. Some would call them wet whetstones. The word whetstone is derived from the verb, “to whet”, according to the oxford dictionary;

whet
VERB — whetted, whets, whetting
Sharpen the blade of (a tool or weapon)
‘she took out her dagger and began to whet its blade in even, rhythmic strokes’
Excite or stimulate (someone’s desire, interest, or appetite)
‘here’s an extract to whet your appetite’

Any stone that is used to sharpen an edge becomes a whetstone, whether it be natural, artificial, lubricated by oil or water, or used dry or wet. A wetstone is not really a stone, just a misspelled whetstone, and a wet stone can be a Japanese waterstone, or a pebble skimming across a lake.

Japanese Tools Australia sells a number of whetstones, most of them to be used with water, never oil (our only exceptions here are the versatile Dual Stones). Our Cerax waterstones are perfect for whetting the cutting edge of a kitchen knife or woodworking tools, but probably not great for whetting your appetite.

The important factor to consider when purchasing a waterstone is balancing how long the stone will maintain its flatness with the speed at which it cuts by revealing new abrasive, as well as the obvious consideration of cost. Click here for more information on sharpening stones.

July 26, 2018

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Sydney Knife Show 2018

Once a year JTA ventures beyond the boundaries of the traditional woodworking community and finds itself wide-eyed and somewhat warily setting up shop at the Sydney knife show, which this year falls on August 4 and 5 at Rosehill Racecourse. Of course, we soon get used to all the heavy metal on display and always have a great time.

Knife- and blade-making is enjoying something of a renaissance in Australia as makers from both metal- and wood-working backgrounds delve into this area of craftsmanship that so elegantly brings the two worlds together. 

We'll be slicing down our exhibit to focus on our range of Japanese kitchen knives and premium sharpening stones for this one. If you're interested in seeing for yourself what people all over Australia are making for use in the culinary arts, check out the event website here and we'll see you down there.

July 26, 2018

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WA Woodshow 2018

The Western Australian Woodshow on the 3rd, 4th & 5th of August at Claremont Showgrounds will be our final event on the west coast for the year, but promises to be another great event with fantastic exhibitors and a great turn out. 

The WA event features continuous demonstrations from experienced woodworkers, turners and luthiers too numerous to list, and also a great range of premium tool makers and sellers such as Chris Vesper, Lie-Nielson Tools Australia, Timbecon, Woodcraft supplies and many more. We'll be there with a selected range, and whatever we don't stock at the show can be shipped via regular post free of charge.

Manning the JTA stand in Perth will be friend of JTA and master woodcarver Hape Kiddle. Always up for a chat and a mine of information on all things carving, drop past and say hi. 

For all the particulars and details of the show, visit the site here.

September 14, 2017

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Using Japanese hand tools course with Hiroshi Yamaguc

Early this year I was privileged to attend a wood working class run by a Japanese craftsman at the ANU in Canberra.

Hiroshi Yamaguchi was wonderful at describing how to use Japanese hand tools and the methodology behind them.

I have been using Japanese hand tools for many years but I was still hanging off every word Hiroshi had to say. It is rare that a person could get this leave of experience outside of Japan and with out knowing the language.

To give you an idea of the detail, we spent a few hours in class on how to fit the iron whoop on top of the chisel which was fascinating.  

The first part of the course was to set a chisel, fitting the iron whoop, flattening the back and sharpening. The chisel was then used in the class to make a Japanese plane (kanna).

Below you will see the two planes I made and the chisel (nomi) used to make them.

There are two 4 day intensive classes in early September, one is run by Hiroshi and the second is run by a visiting Japanese artist. See the link below for details.

http://www.anu.edu.au/cce/vaacourses/wood

 

 

 

 

 

February 05, 2015

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THE JAPANESE TOOLS AND LEGACY NAUTICAL SET DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR BOAT BUILDING

Japanese Tools Australia and Legacy Nautical Boat Builders proudly present the first Japanese Tools Set designed specifically for boat building.

View it in the shop here.

This set contains 19 pieces (tools). Each tool has been carefully selected and successfully tested to maximize the performance, enjoyment and efficiency for building timber boats by a qualified shipwright.

 

These hand tools provide the foundation for the craftsman to take on timber boat building.

  • Kakuri Universal Saw Set
    • Japanese Red Oak Handle
    • Heavy Duty Canvas Bag
    • 4 Blades
  • 3-piece set of Kakuri Hybrid Chisels
    • 12mm
    • 25mm
    • 32mm
    • Heavy Duty Canvas Chisel Roll
  • Japanese Style Timber mallet
  • Shinto Saw Rasp
  • Japanese Precision Square
  • Nail Puller / Nail Punch
  • Japanese Sliding Bevel
  • 30mm Japanese Smoothing Plane
  • 52 mm Japanese Smoothing Plane
  • 30mm Rebate Plane
  • Heavy Duty Canvas Carry Bag