Articles

My First Kanna

I wanted to write to the newcomer to Japanese woodworking, the folks who attended the Kezurou-kai event last fall and saw for the first time Japanese woodworking tools in the hands of masters. It doesn’t feel that long ago I was standing in those same shoes. Attending my first Kezurou-kai, 15 years ago, was a pivotal point in my learn- ing process. Since then, each Kezurou-kai I have participated in has left me with the same feeling of connection and inspiration as the first. Read More …

Mini Kez

This past November’s in-person Kez event in Santa Cruz reminded me how important connecting with my community is. The pandemic was hard. One of the biggest challenges with it was the isolation. This year I’ve made a resolution to connect with more people in the Kezurou-kai community. For a guy who spends most of his time alone in his shop, even the occasional meet up with other woodworkers has a significant positive effect on my mental health. Being together in Santa Cruz refilled my tanks. I left with even more enthusiasm for what I’m doing than I did going in. Read More …

UCSC Hay Barn Event November 20, 2022

As I unfold and refold the washi-paper coverings of my own precious tools I think back on the experiences of this most recent event. The polished steel glimmering in the bright Autumn sunlight seems a fitting way to remember the Hay Barn Event. Over and over again that day I was struck by the connections we share. With one another as a team, with those who came from far and wide, and with humanity itself – stretching back in time and forward in hope. Yes it was all there on Sunday. Read More …

Why Kezurou-kai?

Our organization is a place where seasoned professionals, tool makers, and hand-tool enthusiasts can gather and share their love for hand-tools. It all started in the year 2000, with carpenters in Japan, looking for ways to interact with a dwindling population of tool-smiths. The first gatherings started when tool merchants invited carpenters to try out their best quality hand tools before buying them. Usually in Japan the finished tool is not yet honed to razor sharp, that’s done by the individual craftsman using water stones of differing coarseness’s. Read More …

Hakone Gardens Redwood Arbor Project – Mortise and Tenon

As you may recall from the Kezurou-kai last October, there was work taking place throughout the day on a redwood arbor that was to be installed at Hakone Gardens at a later date. Well that later date was February 18 – a rare day with no rain and no mudslides. Read More …

The Learning Spiral: Hearing, Seeing, Doing

Late last century, Daiku in Japan realized the need to expose and promote their ancient crafts and industry to the larger population. The goal they had in mind was to interest more young people to consider joining their ranks. What started out as local shop gatherings and demos, inviting people into a world that was essentially closed off to them for centuries, networked over a few years to become semi-annual gatherings across Japan. Attendance at these events now reaches 10,000 attendees and has cities across Japan vying for hosting these events, with much government assistance. Read More …

A Craftsperson’s Path—The Bigger Picture

It seems that we, as craftspeople creating shelters, are aiming to satisfy our human need to stay close to the land, as deeply embedded in our physiology as our need to breathe. More and more of us around the world are drawn to lend our attention to the task of fulfilling this need, our enthusiasm feeding off of one another. When earthen plasters are a common choice in the US and beyond for conventional wall finishes, we will be closer to the land. Read More …