Schedule & Presenters List for 2024 Event

Schedule & Presenters

Schedule & Presenters List for the 2024 Kezuroukai National Event 

Both Saturday and Sunday stations will be set up to assist all skill levels in: sharpening, layout, shoji, joinery, saws, chisel, planes and more.

Saturday’s presentations will run from 9-5, breaking for lunch at noon. Sunday’s ongoing stations from 9-4, with lunch available on site from 11-1. Planing competition starts at 3 on Sunday!

Kez Saturday after party! With such a busy day Saturday we wanted to have some time to socialize! Stick around after 5 for pizza and drinks. (cash only).


Click on the presenter’s name, topic or the + to see their bio and a synopsis of their topic. We are still filling this list out as the presenters send us their information, in the meantime we are adding a * after the presenter’s name if they have more information listed.

Brooks will talk about Japanese boat design then demonstrate the essential techniques, showing specific tools to boatbuilding and how they are used. These include making a watertight fit between planks by running a special set of saws through the seams, and then edge-nailing with blacksmith-made boat nails. He will also give a slide lecture on his thirty years of research documenting traditional boatbuilding in Japan.
We are also planning on having a traditional 22-foot Japanese river boat on display for Brooks’ demonstration. It was built by students in his workshop at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in October of last year.


Douglas Brooks is a boatbuilder, writer, researcher, and teacher specializing in the construction of traditional wooden boats for museums and private clients. Since 1990, he has been researching traditional Japanese boatbuilding, documenting the techniques and design secrets of the craft. He has built boats with nine elderly boatbuilders from throughout Japan; he is the sole apprentice for seven of his teachers.

Brooks is the only non-Japanese listed in a 2003 Nippon Foundation survey of craftsmen capable of building traditional Japanese boats. In 2014, Brooks received the Rare Craft Fellowship Award from the American Craft Council in recognition of his work in Japan. His work has also been honored by the Japanese Ministry of Culture. He has built Japanese boats for the Urayasu Folk History Museum, the Niigata Prefectural Museum of History, the Michinoku Traditional Wooden Boat Museum, the Museum of Maritime Science, the Setouchi Festival, the Mizunoki Museum of Art, the Peabody-Essex Museum, and Lowell’s Boat Shop.

Brooks has published five books and numerous articles on Japanese boatbuilding. His 2015 book, Japanese Wooden Boatbuilding, is the first comprehensive survey of the craft. He is a 1982 graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut with a B.A. in Philosophy, and a 2002 graduate of the Middlebury College Japanese Language School. He lives with his wife Catherine in Vergennes, Vermont.

For more about his work see:

In the summer of 1987, The Brattleboro Museum and Art Center staged a summer of events focusing on Japanese culture and art. One highlight was the construction of two timber frame structures, one a traditional New England design and the other Japanese – and erecting them side by side in front of the museum on the same day. The Japanese house was designed by Karl Bareis of Santa Cruz, California. Carpenters Moriyasu Wada and Satoru Okazaki, traveled from Japan to work on the project as well. Paul Tuller heard about this project and helped raise the Japanese frame in Brattleboro.

Paul Tuller - HouseAfter 30 days on display, the Japanese frame was packed up and stored in a Vermont barn for 16 years. In 2004, the parts came up for sale, and Paul found the frame in a dust-covered jumble of 300 pieces. He made an offer to purchase the pieces “as is,” not knowing if all the parts were viable. After carefully washing and sorting the pieces, Paul determined that some frame parts would have to be remade due to excessive twisting. In July of 2005, a raising party of friends came together to put the frame on a solid foundation on Paul’s property after 18 years in storage. Roof planks and shingles were added, as well as concrete wall board which would eventually receive a layer of stucco. In 2017, Paul retired from his general contracting business with hopes of having the time to finish the interior details that remained.

That same year an old friend, Alef deGhize, moved back to the East Coast after working in California for over 20 years. Alef had worked for a year as an apprentice with Paul in 1994 before heading to the West coast. Between 2017 and 2019 Alef helped Paul with finishing details during the summer and fall. Together they installed custom-made Tatami mats, elm flooring, trim for the Kotatsu table, the Tokonoma, and built the entry, storm, shoji, and fusuma doors. They also made sitka spruce floor panels, a glass sliding window, and added an entry roof and porch to the exterior.

After 15 years, the interior was completed in the summer of 2019, one week before Paul’s daughter was married in front of the Japanese house.

In 2020, a garden plan was developed and the garden surrounding the house has been under construction for the last four years. 2025 will be the 20th anniversary of the house being in Dublin.


Paul TullerPaul Tuller has been designing and building custom furniture and architectural elements for more than 40 years. The majority of his work is inspired by traditional Japanese design and made using Japanese hand tools. From his workshop in southwestern New Hampshire, Paul has created interior spaces and furnishings that have been installed throughout New England and as far away as Florida and California.

Projects have included furniture, shoji screens, fusuma and wood doors, wooden soaking tubs, and tokonoma. Every element of Paul’s work features precise joinery, hand planed surfaces and carefully selected woods that produce a clean and sophisticated look.

Matt will be discussing nomi (Japanese chisels), mostly following his printed presentation but diverting now and again. He plans to bring twenty copies to give away and it will be available as a downloadable document as well.

The presentation is geared to the novice but seasoned craftspeople are encouraged to attend. It will include the setting of an iron hoop onto a wooden handle, methods to keep nomi from getting stuck in cuts, sharpening protocols and much more. Each of the several common types of nomi will be reviewed and examples of each will be present for attendees to examine.

The presentation will be given at Matt’s work station where he will make himself available before and after the presentation. He will have sharpening gear with him and show anyone who is interested how best to set hoops on their nomi, then guide them through the process. Please bring a tool or two to work on. This is a good opportunity to examine one carpenter’s methods of caring for and using nomi and he will be watching what you do and learning from you, too.


Matt ConnortonMatt grew up in a family in which providing children the opportunity to explore things on their own was a priority. From the time he was eight years old he was given free reign of all of the tools and equipment in the basement of his home on one condition: he didn’t hurt himself. A collection of interesting hand tools and terrible power equipment set the course for his lifelong and continuing love affair with fixing and making wooden things.

Having begun largely unguided Matt sought out opportunities to observe others as they worked, which got him chased out of a lot of shops and job sites but he was pretty fast and stole as many of the tricks he saw as he could. Layout became a passion and sharpening a talent.

As a young man Matt found many opportunities to work as an apprentice level carpenter and was frequently absent from school in order that he might work instead. Matt learned to say “yes” whenever anybody asked if he would like to try a new task or method. He said “yes” maybe a little too often. He still does.

Matt is relieved to say that he still has all of his fingers and toes and also has functioning ears and eyes. His experience ranges from simple furniture repair to complex layout to boatbuilding and yacht carpentry, door and window making, hanging and hardware installation, timber framing, traditional Japanese carpentry, tool making and lots of furniture and furnishings making. Matt was a reasonably accomplished martial artist, professional motorcycle road-racer and is the father of one and parent of two. He’s still playing in the shop and still learning new things every day.


Brian HolcombeBrian Holcombe designs and builds original work, drawing influence from Japanese Sashimono and furniture of the Ming Dynasty. Focusing on cabinetry, casework, tables, boxes, art framing and traditional Japanese sliding doors known as shoji.

Hand tools and traditional methods of work are an important part of his work. Hand tools connect the maker to the process while allowing freedom of form. Working by hand further encourages a constant pursuit of new facets and understanding of the material while continuously honing the maker’s personal ability and skill.

Interlocking joinery is a hallmark of his work. Brian uses methods of joinery traditionally found in furniture and those adapted from traditional Japanese timber framing.

Square to Round
In this talk, we’ll have a look at moving from square timbers to round, hand-planed planed posts. Topics will include layout, planing technique, and the setting up and sharpening of concave planes (uchi maru kanna).


Jeff BearceJeff Bearce began studying Japanese woodworking about twenty three years ago in Oakland, California. He runs 3 Sticks Design / Build, which focuses on traditional Japanese structures and furnishings.

In this presentation Toby will demonstrate and discuss log hewing with a Japanese Adze, or “Chouna”. The Chouna is an ancient tool, and holds a special place in the carpentry tradition of Japan. It is a seemingly simple to tool made from a curved branch fitted to a steel blade, but the subtleties of the tool and its use are numerous. The Chouna is traditionally used to shape round logs into square or faceted shapes. This not only removes the bark where the beetles tend to live, but also facilitates the drawing of layout lines for the timber joinery. As an aesthetic craft, the Chouna is also used to texture planks, handrails, fence pickets, etc. Various textures can be produced depending on the type of Chouna used, the type of lumber, and the practitioner. Some log layout methods will be shown as well.


Toby HargreavesToby is a carpenter and contractor living in Santa Cruz, California. He apprenticed with Karl Bareis at Santa Cruz Timberframes, and has since then followed his interests in Japanese carpentry, timberframe construction, and sustainable building practices. He loves living in the forested mountains near Santa Cruz, and gains inspiration from walks in the woods. Fun fact: Toby and his family are building their own house this year!

In this presentation, Jason will discuss teahouse-style architecture from Japan and some associated woodworking techniques. Special attention will be paid to the process of scribing natural rounds to each other as well as to stones. Jason is currently involved in the construction of an azumaya, a classic garden structure in teahouse gardens.


Jason ForsterJason started his woodworking career as an apprentice to Oakland daiku Jay van Arsdale, building over 70 bonsai display benches for the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt. Prior to becoming a woodworker, Jason was a postdoctoral fellow in materials science at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He holds a Ph.D. in soft matter physics from Yale University, where he researched the structural color of bird feathers. He holds several patents related to thermoelectricity and nanoscience.

Prior to his nomination to the board, Jason has been an active member of Kezurou-kai USA since he attended his first meeting in 2015. Since then, he has participated as a presenter and competitor – taking third place in the Kezurou-kai USA planing competition in 2019. That same year Jason represented Kezurou-kai USA at the 43rd Annual Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival. He continues to work with Jay at Laney College in Oakland as a teaching assistant for one of the only programs in Japanese woodworking and hand tools offered at the college level anywhere in the world.

In 2018, Jason and another Bay Area carpenter completed the installation of an original-design machiai in the Japanese Hill and Pond Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. He works both independently as a designer and woodworker, and with Joinery Structures in Oakland, CA.

Jason joined the Board of Directors in 2021.

Japanese Hand Planes
Japanese Hand Planes - Andrew HunterIn this presentation Andrew will cover Japanese planes, from getting started to competing in a Kezurou-kai planing contest. Japanese planes, unlike their western metal counterparts, do not come ready to use out of the box. The Blacksmith and Dai cutter leave the final adjustments to the user. Andrew will outline this process to provide the beginner with an understanding of what it takes to make a Japanese plane work. He will also cover more advanced techniques of using and maintaining these planes. He will demonstrate a variety of planes including roughing, jointing and smoothing planes as well as other specialty planes used for various woodworking tasks. He will finish up by demonstrating how to condition a plane for a Kezurou-kai planing contest, where a constantly thin shaving is the goal. Make sure you bring your Japanese planes with you! Andrew will be available all weekend to help you get them working to their full potential.

Andrew HunterAndrew is a custom furniture maker working and living in New York’s Hudson Valley. Best known for his use of traditional Japanese hand tools, Andrew demonstrates and teaches throughout the Northeast.

As a self-taught woodworker he offers a unique perspective to other Americans exploring Eastern woodworking. His workshops demonstrate that by understanding the fundamental principles behind other cultures’ tools and techniques all woodworkers can benefit. A frequent contributor to Fine Woodworking magazine, he is eager to share what he has learned in his twenty plus years of making furniture.

Andrew has been on the Board of Directors for Kezurou-kai USA since 2017.


Wooden joinery and its making

        Tools and techniques

This talk and demonstration will outline the use

of primary shapes that give joinery its interlocking


– these shapes give joinery its versatility and practicality-

from simple to compound and complex.

Tools and techniques will be discussed and demonstrated-

focusing on the basic 5 reductive processes

used to make all the shapes needed for all joinery-

a variety of samples will be on display-


Jay Van ArsdaleJay van Arsdale apprenticed early on in his family’s blacksmith shop in Kentucky. After graduating from Centre College in nearby Danville, Ky, Jay came to the SF Bay Area where he received an MFA in sculpture from Mills College in Oakland, CA in 1972.

Things came into focus in the mid-1970’s after seeing a demonstration by Japanese daiku Makoto Imai, who Jay learned from for a number of years.

Jay has worked and taught in the Bay area since the early 80’s. He has given demos/lectures and other presentations for many organizations including the Japan Society, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, the Exploratorium, Academy of Science, UC Berkeley School of Architecture, North American Timberframers Guild West Coast Conferences and numerous national wood working shows.

Jay is also the author of Shoji–How to Design, Build, and Install Japanese Screens, (Kodansha, ‘86), Introduction to Japanese Woodworking (video,’ 87) , and contributing editor on The Complete Japanese Joinery, (Cloudpress ‘89). He also has written numerous magazine articles, produced multiple instructional videos, and appeared on TV in Japan and the U.S.

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