Zen woodworking - no laser

I know my glowforge won’t be able to do this…

But I am okay with that. I hope as a civilization we never forgot how to do this.


Reminds me of the decorative boxes the Japanese make that I and someone else have posted.


wow. just wow…


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The sad part is almost the only craftsmen you see like this are seniors… Today people don’t have the time for much “hand work” if there is a machine or tool that can do it for them… Too many other things to occupy time like cell phones, social media, TV, internet, etc. ( Remember when only 4-6 channels on TV , only AM radio or a few fm local stations - news only at 11 pm and cartoons only on Saturday morning… I wonder what today’s kids will say 40 years from now ( remember only 200 channels?..):neutral_face:


So much admiration for that level of patience and dedication.


Intense I don’t have the patience and my hands are to sweet for this

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It just amazing to see how they create those patterns and the care they have for their tools. I can’t imagine to amount of work it takes to keep that plane sharp enough to cut such perfect veneers.


If you ever shook hands with that guy, it would be obvious that he uses them…


“You mean you have to use your hands? That’s like a baby’s toy.” - Back the Future II


I have a fascination with Japanese craftmanship. From swords to framing to craftwork like this, it is amazing how dedicated they are to perfection and to taking the time to do things right the first time. It points out to me how often the rest of the world doesn’t, which inspires me to try to follow their example.


This is absolutely stunning. Thanks for sharing it!


I can imagine a Japanese version of Mr. Rodgers doing a voiceover. The subject and the music are spot on.


Actually this is not necessarily the case in Japan though their ‘ancient’ arts are becoming rarer. Unfortunately it is mostly the economy and the sheer time/patience needed that make it less feasible for the younger generation. These Arts take time to learn and you are not making much money as you learn.
When you combine this with the Japanese style of teaching (‘watch what i do for years until it one day dawns on you the How It Is Done’) you can see that this gives little economic flexibility.

In my experience it is iether a father-son transmission or lesser sons in well-off families who learn the skills.

Anecdote Time (this was in 1998):
We used to have a man, Yasuo-San, who worked on our grounds. He was 1 of 3 Craftsmen in Okayama Prefecture who had the skill to be accredited to work in the Ancient Way. Because a lot of these building subscribe to the principle of Wabi-Sabi they had particular demands.
This particular demand was for a load-bearing post (solid unplaned pine) which was to rest on a rough-cut stone base. Because the stone was uncut and because the beam was a load-bearer it does not take much knowledge to know that the smallest mismatch between the base of the pole and the top of the stone would cause a catastrophic split. To fix this Yasuo-San had to carve the bottom of the post to fit the stone perfectly… i mean perfectly.

So he sat down in front of the stone, put the pole across his knee and his chisel by his side and looked at the stone… for probably 3 hours… barely moving, i brought him tea and kept my mouth shut and just left him to it.

Eventually he reaches down, grabs the chisel and starts to carve… carves pretty-much non-stop for 30-40min. An assistant brings a piece of Carbon paper which he puts on the stone and they lever the post into place. I kid you not, there were only a few spots where it was not a clear clean match… he tidies them up, sharpens his chisel and then gets on with the next job as though nothing special had happened.

I am hopeless at carpentry but i know a Master when i see one.


I’d bet 40 years from now it will be more like “what’s a channel? You mean you didn’t stream everything on demand?”

I imagine the idea of everyone just watching what was on, or even planning their schedule to watch certain shows, will generate the sort of shock I felt as a kid when my dad told me they didn’t have a colored tv when he was little.


If you are ever inclined to go all hand tool, check out Christopher Schwarz but especially Peter Follansbee and the collaboration with Jennie Alexander. The wood working forums go nuts discussing artistry, mastery, authenticity and handwork. The following book is a good lesson on using simple hand tools to make a stool.

I know that these arts aren’t practiced by as many today as before, but masters are still around and new ones are being born.


Actually they didn’t have color. Color really came about in the 50s. According to my dad it was amazing when all the paintings and windows and everything suddenly went Kodachrome :grinning:

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"In my time we didn’t depend on high-tech gadgets like you do. We didn’t need a mechanical washing unit to wash our clothes.

We just used a washing machine."

-Phillip J. Fry

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For years, I’ve noticed that some people seem surprised that the world was “in color” before the 1930s (introduction of color motion pictures). Now I wonder when people will be surprised that the world was “high definition” before the 1990s…

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We have no true appreciation of the extent the medium of our representations of the past determine our understanding of it. Can be said about the present too.