In this post your humble servant will introduce this blog’s purpose, my qualifications and motivations for writing it, and a description of the sort of subjects to be discussed.
The blog’s purpose is simply to share sound information regarding woodworking techniques, woodworking hand tools, and construction work with an emphasis on Japanese hand tools and techniques
Although woodworking and construction are universal human activities, Japan has unique history and traditions that have produced woodworking and building techniques many find interesting. Indeed, most Japanese woodworking hand tools are different in some ways from their Western counterparts, and must be setup, maintained and used differently.
Unfortunately there is a lot of blather on the internet and even in print on these subjects that, pound for pound, is as valuable as road apples and smells as sweet. I intend to provide a more professional viewpoint.
The content of this blog will not be a regurgitation by an amateur of things learned or plagiarized from books, magazines, NoobTube videos, or heaven forfend, stinking, troll-infested woodworking forums, but will be based on real-world professional experience.
What relevant professional experience do I have, you ask? To begin with, I worked as a joiner, cabinetmaker and carpenter for many years. I have worked in the construction industry most of my life as a contractor and direct employee of some of Japan’s largest general contractors. You could say I know the trade.
Much of what I know about woodworking and tools I learned directly from the professionals I worked with and tool makers whose opinions I sought out, most of whom have gone to the big lumberyard in the sky. You could say I had good teachers.
I no longer use tools on the jobsite, but I am still involved in the Japanese construction industry. I have lived, studied and worked in Japan off and on for around 30 years since first coming here 46 years ago. You could say I know the neighborhood.
I have a masters degree in architecture and engineering from a prestigious Japanese university and am bilingual in both written and spoken English and Japanese languages, so you could say I know how to research and ask intelligent questions about technical subjects and understand the answers.
But what about the quality of the information on this blog? In this question Gentle Reader’s blazing intelligence shines forth! You must judge the quality for yourself, but here are a few things you should keep in mind when doing so.
We live in a confusing era of fake internet experts, absolutely corrupt journalistic standards, and blogs and publications authored by lazy opportunistic shills. Is this evaluation too harsh? I don’t think so. But whether opinion or so-called scientific research, a wise man will consider the writer’s motivations which inevitably skew the focus, quality, and sometimes even the veracity of information he presents, especially in the case of blogs.
I think there are three common and not mutually exclusive motivations for people to write blogs. One is a desire to share useful, interesting information. I like to think this is my motivation.
Another motivation is a desire to be popular and make money in the process. For these gadflies, success is partly measured by the number of “clicks,” “likes,” and subscribers they get, and of course the acreage of banners and adverts on their webpage. Both their self-worth and income relies on infrastructure controlled by monstrously unethical companies like Google, facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Patreon, and the funding of viewers and sponsors. I pity them.
I have no problem with people touting a product or service or belief. Who knows, the information may be useful, so long as it doesn’t include too many lies or exaggerations and the touter is honest about his relationship with the item or service he is touting, as I am with my products. Sadly, too many bloggers, BoobTubers, and “Influencers” don’t reveal sponsor contributions in cash or goods but pretend their opinions and reviews are unbiased. Such behavior is indisputably unethical. I think a famous French soldier expressed my thoughts about such dishonest people well when he said: “I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal-food-trough wiper! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!”
C&S Tools will never accept sponsorships, contributions, banners, or freebies. We have no SEO goals. Those who want to read the things I have to share must find this blog without guidance from the Silicon Valley decepticons.
Perhaps the third blogger motivation is a disease called “writer’s dysentery.” This horrific affliction makes the victim feel sick in their guts unless they write and post something, anything, everyday regardless of relevance or quality. Many scribbler-types suffer from this frightful disease and practically gush like a trash pump. Thankfully, your humble servant is not infected with this malodorous malady. I spend too many hours every working day writing boring but necessary documents for my company and clients and the construction projects I run, so I feel no compulsion to spend my free time writing for free.
Therefore, I will not subject Gentle Reader to diarrhetic descriptions of my vacation, hobbies, car, boat, motorcycle, kids, grandkids, pets, my grandkid’s pets, retirement plans, medical adventures, or rambling step-by-step descriptions of landfill-ready woodworking projects imitating those eternally recycled in woodworking periodicals, subjects which make up 80% of the content of most blogs.
Now that it’s clear what I won’t write about, let’s look at what I will.
The craftsmen that make and use the tools that are a major subject of this blog are located far from most English-speaking readers, both culturally, technologically, and as the crow flies. Communication with these people on technical subjects can be especially challenging since the most experienced of them have no social media presence, zero computer skills, and almost as many smartphones. To most of them, a Fax machine is high-tech sorcery. I am not exaggerating.
During my years living and working in Japan I have built relationships with these craftsmen and learned much from them. I will share that knowledge with Gentle Readers and Beloved Customers.
As a construction-industry professional in Japan, I routinely evaluate and hire Japan’s top general contractors and subcontractors for my Client’s projects. We will share some of those stories too (non-disclosure agreements permitting).
Some of the how-to subjects we intend to discuss will include tool setup, sharpening, maintenance and proper usage, as well as how to make some tools. And of course, woodworking techniques.
Regarding the frequency of posts, your humble servant dislikes wasting valuable time with pointless drivel, so I will post only what I think is worthwhile, measured by my standards and your requests, time permitting. No schedule commitments.
The one thing I do wholeheartedly promise is that the content of this blog will be worth more than you pay for it. You won’t find a better deal anywhere at twice the price.
If you have relevant questions, please ask. If you have suggestions or corrections, all are welcome. But to those who would use the internet’s anonymity to morph into snapping orcs or bellowing trolls, I say Go back to the Shadow!
All others I welcome with bunny hugs.
Your Most Humble and Obedient Servant
If you have questions or would like to learn more about our tools, please click the “Pricelist” link here or at the top of the page and use the “Contact Us” form located immediately below.
Please share your insights and comments with everyone in the form located further below labeled “Leave a Reply.” We aren’t evil Google, fascist facebook, or thuggish Twitter and so won’t sell, share, or profitably “misplace” your information. If I lie may a thousand moth eggs hatch in my nose.
6 thoughts on “Welcome to the C&S Tools Blog!”
It’s been far too long since I’ve read your writing Stan, you are missed at SMC (at least by me and a few others). You probably don’t miss SMC too much though! Interviews with Japanese craftsmen would be really something special, an in depth (not to mention properly translated) look and talk with Shokunin is rare. Smithies…. I drool. The more the better, from Konobu to your old school chisel smith; the deeper the rabbit hole the better. Good, detailed explanations from a professional view (in EN) about things like Japanese joinery planes are next to non existent. Just an idea off the top of my head. I’m sure you’ll have an unending stream of potential topics.
Hi Vincent, thanks for kind words.
No, I don’t miss SMC: too much like Mordor.
But I do miss the stimulating conversation with people like you. Perhaps we can have similar discussions here among humans that know how to read, and without all the snarling, biting and defecating from the resident trolls and orcs.
I will indeed do the interviews, with English-language translations, starting this summer. Part of doing business in Japan is face-to-face relationships, so I need to travel and meet them regularly anyway. Probably Takeo Nakano-san first. I need to do one with Inomoto-san then too. He’s not getting any younger. I do have him on video, but the quality is not good.
I have several shokunin in mind, gentlemen I have known for a long time and buy from regularly. This includes several chisel-smiths including Ito-san (Hidari no Konobu) and Usui-san (Sukemaru), Watanabe-san (Koyoshiya), Takijiro, a famous sawsmith here in Tokyo, and of course, Aida-san (Hiroki) of gennou-head fame. There are also saw sharpeners, blade sharpeners, knife makers, and handle-makers too.
There is a famous, genius tategushi (joiner) in Nagano I have not met in person yet but intend to meet and interview. His kumiko zaiku skills are unrivaled. That would be an interesting interview. Heck, it would be an interesting book!
I’m not good at video and would appreciate guidance if you are. I hope to be able to borrow a professional crew from Nagaoka City in the not-too-distant future, but that will take some frikkin politikin, which I am not ready for yet.
You can help me by providing detailed questions you would ask these shokunin if you were there. Your perspective is more important than mine since I tend to get overly technical and detailed.
Stumbling across this shiny new blog was a wonderful way to start a new week! Glad to see that you are still committed to connecting Western woodworkers to Japanese smiths and providing valuable information along the way – and in troll free environs to boot! I will be happily following along.
Brian, thanks. Please continue to visit and comment. And keep up the great woodworking! Stan
Stan, nice to see your website up and running. I have been checking every so often. Really appreciate you sharing your insights and knowledge.
Thanks Todd. Please continue to check in. Always appreciate your insight and advice. Stan