Thursday, July 30, 2015

Starter Kit

Ok, say you want to take classes with me but you got no tools.

You are in Chile, so there is no woodcraft or whatever to go buying. You need ebay, buyee and a month and a half wait.

What to get? Two saws, two chisels, two hammers and two planes. Why two? Why not.

First of all, you want sharpening stones. Sharpening stones are like wine in the party, you drink em all, and you want more.

I use naniwa, king, suehiro and nameless stones. Get them cheap and get them coarse. You can live the first 6 months sharpening only till 3000, your skill is anyway not good enough to use 6000 or 12000 at it's full potential so why bother. If you got money get them all and sharpen, sharpen and sharpen till they wear. You want them wide, that's for sure, so at least 60mm wide. And at the very least, 1000 and 3000. Or something like this which in the long term will be a 6000 stone only since the 800 wears faster, way faster. Get a heavy chino/japanese diamond stone too, to flatten them, or sandpaper and glass. Again, low skill needs low gear. You don't want to pull 3microns shavings just yet.

These are the saws you want:

Dosuki 230 in ebay link

and a ryoba (EDIT: I've tried this one now and man it's a sweet saw and can be sharpened. Best you can get for 20usd that I know of.)

Then some hammers

Some kanna

This is a particularly nice combination: hira-kanna, conejo plane, scraper for the sole and short block plane.

and two  or 3 chisels

Or 10 if you are buyeeing.

You don't need to buy em new, you can get in buyee in big chunks and we repair them in classes. (I run out of old chisels to fix, they are all cool now.) Same with saws and kanna.

If you want to buy in buyee the best is call your friends and get lots of tools at the same time so you pay less commission and internal shipping.

Those basic tools will let you make the exercises of the first 3 days of classes at least, make some wooden lay out tools, practice lots of sharpening and you end up with a kind of usable kit for a few hundred usd.

If you want to get something in buyee, and not sure if it's worth it, drop me a line and I give you my "expert" (aka I spent lots of money on it) opinion, takes just a minute for me and can save you from a stupid buy. (Which reminds of this beautiful set of saws I saw the other day...)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Break one tooth and you are an idiot

Break 20 and you are creating the Gonzalez™Universal Random Matrix tooth pattern. Created by your humble blogger (did you know that in germany blogger is a clothing style too?) myself.

The Gonzalez™Universal Random Matrix saw consists of gullets arranged in the same pattern as the first 12 eigenvalues of a random matrix. It's like the Fibonacci series but cooler and made precisely to cut well. It also solves the basic levels of an hydrogen atom when the chromodynamics equations are taken into account.

It also presents a carefully filed curve in the top part of the saw that both dissipates heat while cutting and compensates the movement of the hand at the end of a stroke

Let's see it closer

The depth of the gullets follow a catenary function to improve sawability

Here is the dissipation zone

It does cut like it is expected from a Gonzalez™Universal Random Matrix saw, as soon as Julia brings her Ipat i shot a video of it.

All this thanks to 1 single sided file I found in my box. Man they are sweet for dozuki. I used to think dozuki were difficult to file. I was simply using the wrong tool.

On the other news I'm moving to Valpo for a few weeks, second carpentry course will have sushi it seems. I'm building the structure from the previous exercise and taking Keiran with me to continue his apprenticeship

I also made a dai sunday, but chilean roble doesn't have "rays", is the one on top without sub-blade. The endgrain

 We also thought about acacia, but no rays either, extremely hard though. (Also, the left side is planed, the cuts directly from the dosuki I sharpened today.)

 American oak does but I don't like it

 Japanese white oak

 some other wood, more metallic, for a blue paper steel blade

 And I've been making some handles of old smelly oregon pine (or something like that)


In case you ask... I bought the dozuki originally form fine-tools, before moving to Graz. I tried to make a bed in douglas fir with it, construction market lumber. Then it broke. The saw can be found here: Shirai Sangyo Dozuki however, after seeing more carefully how I broke the teeth, like 90% of them broke on the same side, which indicates to me that the set was not properly made in this saw.

If you want to get one, bring me a dozuki, a single sided file, and a few beers. Let's say 30 litres. Or 20 litres and 5 kilos of meat that you need to bbw while I file.

Now, if you don't think on visiting chile in the near future, you always can get one from nagakatsu, but he doesn't have the random matrix pattern. Take a look:

Another option would be to make a small workshop in Germany during October, not in Munich though, too many drunkards and too close to the Reich in October. In Celle instead. Saw vice making, saw sharpening and madonoko making. I got 34 hits from Germany last week so I guess somebody over there is reading this.  Wir konnen ein kleines bischen Deutsch, and I guess Julia would be trilled to work as a translator. Shall I put an ad somewhere?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Project Mayhem 2.0

Now that Jason finished, it's time for the real fun.

Problem 1:

Cut the following joint. Page 60 in the book Jason linked.

Problem 2:

a) Using Pitagoras' theorem ("the square of the hypotenuse (the side opposite the right angle) is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.") compute the raise and run of a normal hip rafter if the roof rafter pitch is 5/10.  The answer is also in the book but you need to explain how you did it.

this is the book:

b) If your layout is made with a 0.2mm line. What's your maximum precision in inches? This will tell you what makes sense to write in your plans and calculations.

Problem 3:

Design the joints to use in the following structure, and justify your choice.

Frontal view:

 And lateral view, on the left the horizontal members will rest in the stone wall

This is where the structure will go

And this is my "sketch" with my poor 3D skills.

This is the plan.

I hope you get the idea, I've never been able to use sketch up or the like, that's why didn't try it.

You need to make a diagram showing the joints to cut in the columns B1, A1, A2 and A3. Why? Because that's the way they do it in Japan according to the complete japanese joinery.

You need to draw the four surfaces of each post

And it would be great if you could also make the horizontal ones on top

My idea is that we learn how to design a somewhat larger architectural project. For Jason this will be soon useful and for the rest of us, well, you never now.

You think we can finish in a week or do we need more time? If you think I went crazy just give it a try, cannot be sooooooo difficult. And think of the advantages of it, when it's your turn you will have 3 other "designers" working for you for free. Plus, I really think we will learn a lot. What ya think? Open source world here we come.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Graduation day

The day started like this:

Sharpening saws + uradashi was the menu. Leftmost saw was the victim

Grabbed a branch and handled my file

Any idea why the wedge don't stick? Inside the house yesterday it did, outside today didn't, we had to use a clamp. Keiran arrived with empanadas today, white bag in the back.

At 12:30 (we started at 11) this was the try out saw.

Not bad for a first timer. The saw was previously filed all from one side, so there was a particularly annoying side

 this one:

There was some control lost at the gullets but the rhythm and sound was of a good filing.

Then some joinery.

 Planed flush

and gappy at one side. First dovetails of the man.

 That wood is olivillo, real green, light, beautiful planing. It was used in chile for flooring.

After lunch it was box time.

 another shot ad the dovetails

 Rauli wants to be treated with care, loves to split if you are too hard on him.

That was it. We got another sharpening junky in the world. If sharp tools are needed for a better world, well, we are one step closer. Cheers for that.

"So what did you do saturday?"

"I taught a kiwi how to sharpen japanese saws in santiago de chile while eating empanadas..."


Friday, July 24, 2015

Japanese carpentry classes here and there

This one is more of brainstorming, if you have any ideas please comment. In the spirit of open source woodworking I want to crowdsource some ideas. (Soon I will be crowdsourcing tools for poor chileans too.)

Today, I got the 6th student who wants to take the carpentry course, in november. They guy is in Hong Kong right now. Which got me thinking... we are in a really globalised world, we can buy in buyee last week and EMS would be here monday if the package were not again in the warehouse since we were not here when they came. The thing is, for a 40% more in shipping than americans, we can have the same quality tools that you have there in the north with your all your dealers and stores and big cars. I still cannot get a shitty red king here but whatever, we are not so backwards.

What I mean is... there are not so many places in the world where you can learn japanase carpentry, and I'm not talking of roof or pagoda building, but the basics, simple joinery, get your crap sharp and the like.

So this is how it goes around the internet:

Dictum 130eur/day for saw horses and sharpening, slightly more for roof. Max 8 participants, they use shitty dozuki to cut joints.  Das scheisse ist deutsch auch. 10 days of classes per annum

Chris Hall 175usd/day no tools, no food, best teacher?  8 participants

Daiku dojo 115/day Big project, nice weather, fat guys.

Gonzalez 30eur/day best saws in town, food, you get to use my tools. Max 4 participants.

To put things in context:

(58 usd/day minimum wage USA)
(57 eur/day minimum wage DE)
(13 eur/day minimum wage CL)

Dictum teaches in one day saw horses and sharpening. Chris Hall has 3 days in set-up and sharpening. I do one or two hours of sharpening each of the three days. You cannot make people who never used a plane before square the wood for the saw horses and cut them in a day, so they must learn with machine-squared wood in dictum. I'd say they do 3 hours sharpening, 2 theory, 3 saw horses. I guess that Chris in 3 days explains you all there is to know about japanese tools. How much of that can enter into a novice is something I don't know. I guess he's thinking of people who has the tools but haven't been able to take the full potential out of em.

I did sharpening, planing and squaring, and I think that was it first day. Second day the saw horses were finished, I did some glue up to show them, and made them cut a double mortice. Third day should be a box and how to sharpen saws and tap the ura. (My rationale was: don't over complicate things. Give them a tool that works, and once they are used to it, tell them how to set it up.) I'm thinking of people who never had a plane or a kanna in their hands before, they haven't read all the blogs, check all the instagram and watched all the videos.

More math. Germany has 80million people. Dictum gives 1 day classes for 80 people per year, that's one class per million people a year. Chile has 17million, I gave 3 days clases for 2 people, that's one class per 2.8 million people a year. I'm making another one in August with 3 people it seems, so that would put chile on top of germany measured as days of japanese classes per capita. (I'm sure we are beating them already in number of hand made ryoba per capita.)

Now, continuing with the idea... project mayhem joints take between 2 hours and 4 hours. Dictum has an "advanced" class with more complex joints. You cannot teach more than 3 joints in a day I would say, people cannot absorb so much.

And would that work? If somebody comes and does the lay out for you and you cut only the joint, are you learning? I like project mayhem "open" problems. We do not need to stick to the millimetre to a plan, but see what works best with what we have and try to understand it. And fail a lot, each failure is a well learnt lesson, one that you won't forget.

Perhaps give the joint for the next week as an exercise, people need to bring it done next class, and then talk, compare and give the correct solution and cutting order? That way you would get the "aha!" moment that we get when somebody else does one joint better than we did. That's also very important.

Why I'm thinking of this? Well, Francisco, that's the guy in HK right now, says he would like to take the 3 classes per month for a few months. That got me thinking on how to organise something more long term education.

Eventually I think the solution is to give an introductory course, 3 maybe 6 classes, and that grants you access to the workshop. The workshop has some communal equipment and you are free to use it. Of course you need to pay for it too, we need to renew the sharpening stones, kanna, files, etc. You also need to pay in time: sharpening for others, keeping stones flat, preping some wood for the next class. You pay for what you use, quite literally. Blades are used up, so are files. Should not be hard to estimate the cost for keep it sustainable. Invest surplus in the workshop. Keep a lab book, note how much you sharpen in a stone (or how much hollows in one session) and that gives you the cost of one sharpening. Same with kanna. And you pay it forward: after using the planes, they go to bed sharp, so next person finds a perfectly usable kanna each time.

Opa used to have in the good times 3 or 4 apprentices at the time. Now it's just him and Frauke, and sometimes me, and the workshop feels lonely.

Ok, to recap. Let's think how the ideal course would be. I like the way Chris has it, with days, so I'm gonna do the same and put it here. Comments and suggestion always welcome

Day 0: (Meet up to check the tools, people, pay the fee)
- Take a look a the tools.
- Plane one face each.
- Saw something.

Day 1:
- Sharpening plane blades.
- Set up japanese workshop (planing beam and others).
- Squaring sawn timber with kanna.

Day 2:
- Sharpening chisels.
- Lay out and cut saw horses.
- Show edge joint and glue up.
- Female double mortice for large saw horse.
- (After classes, make oak wedges and split some wood with them.)

Day 3 (tomorrow):
- Sharpening saws.
- Ura-dashi and repair old kanna.
- Resawing wood by hand.
- Dovetailed box. ( I don't think we finish it :/)

Day 4, 5, 6?

Joints from the saw a la Jason. 1 day of project mayhem. Hopper? (for what kind of people is the hopper useful? Keiran wants to make a marimba and fix some guitars, Jose is making tables and the like...) Shoji/precision working?

I will ask the guys tomorrow what do they want to learn next, if they would like another session and what about a community workshop.

Finally, all these planing is very person dependent. First day Keiran was sharpening a few hours while Jose was just practicing sawing, so they develop in different paths, which I think it's really valuable for them. And one of the reasons I don't want to have more than 4 people, I want to have focus enough and make it personal so each one is able to go at his own pace.

So, what ya think? Will you start offering lessons in your workshop too? Remember, 3000 daiku for Edo 1800.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Cleaning day

I'm waiting for Jason to finish his joint to post the new one.

Today was cleaning day. A few blades' ura, my room and the stones. Oh, and in the morning I touched up those top facets. This is the before picture so you see the colour of the vice with some oil

For the ura I was using my dad's dremel with an orange stone, and lots of dressing with my diamond dresser. The stone gets clogged with the rust. Small movement parallel to the blade edge, raising the tool when you reach the edge. Clean the whole surface, go to a flat stone to check your progress.

This is what one year ago I really afraid of doing, my hands were more stupid back then. Today it's a piece of cake, and a really good economy. Grinders are cheaper than whetstones, so better use a grinder to have a nice looking ura and make your stone last longer.

It takes time though, it was like 2 hours for 4 large blades and one small not pictured.

I bought that blade for peanuts in ebay, it reminded me of some Tanaka has, for the skin colour, it kinda has the same feel of it:

The bottom mark, I think it's a guild mark. Mine has also the lines in the back (different pattern) and a beautifully made lamination line, no numbers though. When It's sharp I put a pic of it. I don't think it's a famous blacksmith or anything, but it's really nicely made, and super light. Very easy to sharpen too. I need to get a dai for it, and I'm really thinking of buying white oak from japan. Did I say that yesterday already? (Reading more from Tanaka's blog, maybe my blade with no number is from Sato-san 佐藤さんの鉋 brother of the blacksmith of Tanaka's picture.)

Last one, this is the one I took most off

it actually kind of retained its ugly shape, you can see two flats next the the sides of the ura. All that was polished before.

It was really nice to feel how faster the flattening goes as you take more material from off from the blade.

Now, the stones:

I'm using in general the red unknown brand bought in paris like a century ago with my sushi knife. Then the 3000 white/yello cerax? suehiro? I got it from fine tools. It's slower than the naniwas but I'm starting to like it slow. In the middle a natural my dad had complete glazed that I've been cleaning and trying out. Cuts fast and feels like something between 1000 and 5000, still cannot figure out well. On top a cheap dictum natural stone that works for shit without a nagura. On the left small 330mate and murakami black nagura. Then the 400 naniwa that is like 3 microns thick by now. (That's why I started to use the brandless red, I was running out of "coarse" stones.)

We really need Jason to finish his joint, I'm running out of tools to fix by now, need to start cutting joints again.