Japan is a traditional, yet modern country.
While advanced, it values craftmanship and makes every effort to preserve and restore wooden structures and creations. Well thought out and careful craftsmanship are the hallmarks of Japanese woodworking.
It is an artform that draws upon Japanese philosophy to create meticulously crafted results. Japanese core values and culture shine throughout the process. They work with the nature of wood. It is believed that the material is a living thing that is to be honoured.
Whenever possible they make use of local trees that died. They respect and maintain nature’s order when selecting material. For example, the base building of a structure will be crafted from the base of the tree. Structures and furniture are fitted together with wooden joints via joinery.
They have the strength, durability and flexibility to last centuries. Everything is held together with the tightness of the joint to the end grains of the recess. This is a very practical approach given the propensity of earthquakes in the region.
Although fundamentally simple, Japanese woodworkers must be meticulously exact to ensure that each piece is a perfect fit with its partner. Traditional Japanese hand tools are ideally suited to this.
Their saws (noko-giri), planes (kanna), chisels (nomi), marking gauges (kebiki), and stones (ishi) rewards woodworkers with a perfect finish that brings forth the natural beauty of the wood.
These perfectly designed tools enable a precision that is difficult to achieve with their electric cousins.