A while back, in >> THIS THREAD << Bill Satko mentioned that >> Garrett Hack << was coming to Japan, which made my ears perk up
Bill was so very kind to get hold of Garrett and introduce us. I asked Garrett if he was planning to do any classes over here, Garrett replied that he was not, but would LOVE to
Garrett was coming to Japan, invited by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) to speak on a panel about wood working and in particular furniture building, he was also going to attend the International Furniture Fair held here in Tokyo. Initially, he would be going back to the US after only a few days, but once we got he ball rolling on a class and then a trip up to Sanjo (a famous town in Nigatta for blacksmiths), Garrett was able to extend his trip for a few more days.
I got hold of my friend Sugita San, the woodworker who introduced me to the DoPa magazine a while back, and we started talking about venues and groups of people that we could introduce Garrett to, remember, the western hand-plane is not highly regarded here, as the Japanese hand-plane the "Kanna" is king. Sugita san and I set out to challenge that idea, with Garrett's help. Eventually we were able to set up a class for Garrett to teach, with about 20 woodworkers, most of them are just weekend warriors and really at a beginner level, with one or two notable exceptions. The class would be held in Chiba, a city across Tokyo bay, about 1 1/2 hours drive from my house.
Next we had to figure out what Garrett needed to teach the class, a kind of "Introduction to Western Hand planes". We had to get some materials together and some tools, as well as sharpening stones and a bunch of other stuff too. The e-mails flew back and forth from Tokyo to Vermont, as we figured it all out. In the end, Garrett sent over a big box of tools from Lie-Nielsen to use for the class, preferring to NOT use his own tools, as they could be lost or damaged in transit. He did bring his own blades for the planes, and this made a very big difference.
With the Sunday class basically set up, we then turned our efforts to a trip up to Sanjo, to see some tool makers. Garrett had a contact, one Stanley Harrelson of >> www.japanesetools.com << who set up a meeting with a plane Dia maker (the wooden plane body) Inomoto san >> LINK << to videos of him making a Dai, great videos. We got hold of Inomoto san and set up a meeting with him at this workshop on Monday the 7th of December.
Things had finally come into focus, we were very much looking forward to this weekend of woodworking fun!
Alex Reid from this site came along too, and did a lot of translating as well.
On Thursday the 3rd of December, Garrett was finished with the AHEC, and I met him for dinner that night, we had a great time and both were looking forward to the weekend. On Saturday, Garrett came to my house to stay the night and to get ready for the class on Sunday.
Here is Sugita San, Garrett and Alex down in the Dungeon going over some tools.....
We all had a good chat, and Garrett showed us what really sharp tools are like