What happens when woodworkers meet?


The first meeting of the little Japanese Daiku study group I formed was great! I’m late to writing of it because of the greenhouse, almost finished, so close.  That and every once in a while its healthy to take a break from the computer and let your vision drift to the far away.


Thanks to Peter and Eric who were in attendance we had a lot to discuss, starting with Peter’s excellent set of sharpening stones. Unfortunately I can’t remember the names, perhaps naniwa for the colored ones? They were softer than my Shapton ceramic/glass, and very fast. With the addition of a nagura stone the slurry gave a beautiful polish for the grit range.

This is a great example of how woodworkers immediately benefit from getting together. No woodworker can afford to buy a bunch of same grit stones to compare, so naturally the sharpening stones are the first thing of interest when woodworkers meet, regardless of place or time.


Eric brought an excellent set of honing films, which cut more slowly than the water stones/ but left a very bright clean polish. If you’re looking at what to get for sharpening, something between the cheapness of sandpaper and the healthy expense of a set of natural stones, it is honing film. Works great, seems to be holding up okay for Eric, and is available in a nice range of grits and very moderate costs.


The beauty of the day? A large natural stone, comparable to 1000/3000 grit range. Didn’t work on it too much because it didn’t have enough soak time when we first started. It felt very coarse in use, but the polish had character, very nice stone!


Somehow aviator sunglasses and sharpening stones look cool together, notice the concentrated but relaxed look on Peter’s face, perfect attitude for sharpening.


As part of re-organizing the shop to make room for more people I put together this bench set-up. I locked my trestles together with a diagonal brace on either side, the beams are 4×6 screwed to the trestle  with a couple smaller boards thrown across the middle to put tools on. Pretty solid in use too. The 4x6x8′ are about $16 dollars a piece, something like that, so this is a very affordable setup, and easy to keep the beams flat. I was a little worried that having two people pounding on it at the same time may make it difficult to work, but it really wasn’t a problem. Haha, Sebastian advised me not to make it too nice, hopefully this is okay.


Peter had to take off after the sharpening stone shoot-out to prepare curriculum for the start of classes at CSU. The city of Fort Collins is repopulated with young eager minds, ready to throw a party.

Anyway…Eric and I got started with the layout for stepped dovetail splice.


This is the first time that I used a level in combination with my center lining. In this case I really only cared about the flatness of the top face, and after leveling that top face, dropped a vertical line across the end grain with a level. The implication is that perpendicular marks across the top for the joinery layout are marked out square from the center line, not the edge of the timber. I’m still learning the potential of this center rule method, its a very powerful technique.


Eric got right to work after layout, showing a natural speed that had me concentrating to keep up. So cool to work together, always watching out the corner of your eye for some new technique, like the apprentices of old.


This is a good example, body position relative to the chisel locked together by connecting the hand with the chin, paring an end grain surface.


The joinery came out well for me, and we learned a lot finding the hiding surface that was proud in Eric’s joint while drinking some refreshing iced white tea.  Even though the timber was uneven, the center lines came together nicely.

The next meetup has been scheduled, I look forward to it greatly. It is these personal connections that lead to real growth in our craft.

Cutting wedged mortise and tenon/ box joinery.

Saturday, Sep 5, 2015, 12:00 PM

Location details are available to members only.

2 Members Attending

The first meetup of the Japanese Daiku study group was a blast! Let’s continue on with the exploration of classical Japanese timber joints, to cut the wedged mortise and tenon. All of the basics of good joinery are included, accurate preparation of the lumber, center line layout technique, use of the saw and chisel.What tools should you bring? Goo…

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2 thoughts on “What happens when woodworkers meet?”

  1. That greenhouse looks stunning…I’ve always wanted a greenhouse, as the growing season in Rochester is maybe two months, and almost everything we try growing from seed gets frozen in winter before it’s ripe, and what does grow fruit in the summer gets eaten by deer and bunnies!

    I saw honing film in a catalog before, didn’t think it would actually work!

    1. Thanks for the compliment on the greenhouse, it was a pain in the but to get done. Your growing season sounds like its about the same length as mine. And we have the same problems with the deer and rabbits, just put up an eight foot game fence to protect the food forest and now the rabbits are going like crazy. I think some of them will have to be subject to acute lead poisoning, haha. Seriously though, this greenhouse is a huge deal for our food production because of the intensiveness with which we can work the space and the length of the year that it can grow something.

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