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Thread: Stu & Peter's Excellent Tokyo Wood Tour 2012

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Nova Scotia, 45N 64W

    Stu & Peter's Excellent Tokyo Wood Tour 2012

    Stu and I had a great tour yesterday and spent the whole day doing woodworking stuff. Saw lot's of cool Japanese tools, materials and ideas. I'd like to load up a marine container to send home!
    We went out north of Tokyo in Stu's trusty Subaru mini van on the expressway (double decker in places, of course, to save space so they could put it above the city streets between the skyscrapers Just like driving around home, except on the other side ) to his favourite spot - Super Viva Home. Sort of like a HD/ Woodcraft/Costco hybrid on steroids. Serious materials and tools for pros at one end and consumer goods, even pets at the other end. Maybe a couple of acres of building.

    Stu had a shopping list for some current and upcoming projects and I was on the lookout for more cool little Japanese tools or gadgets to amuse visitors to the shop

    After lunch we headed back into the city ( we never really left the city in an hour's drive) and stopped at a "Wood shop" lumber store in Shinkiba, an industrial area east of Tokyo near Tokyo Bay. Awesome slabs and specialty woods, at awesome prices (480,000 yen - $6000 for one big burl slab). Highly figured Asian hardwoods I had never heard of. With Stu's nifty iPhone translator we were able to figure out a lot of the species. Larry, you need to send some of that chocolate over and Stu could set up a little shop, you could retire on a piece of that action!

    After that, it was back to Shinjuku and the Dungeon to unload the van, maneuver some plywood down into the shop (just 3x6 sheets, thankfully) and see what Stu's been up to. There's some very impressive stuff coming off the third generation of a machine he's been working with, and some great cutting edge ideas for future development. I had an eye-opening demo of the Incra iBox (?) box joint jig on the table saw, which laid to rest all of my less than satisfactory attempts at "simple, accurrate" jigs from ww mags. One of these is definitely in my future. Stu got some amazing results just with a regular blade and some scrap mdf. I can only imagine how it does with the proper Forrest box joint set installed.

    Finally there was a formal presentation (Japanese-style, of course, lots of bowing and courtesies!) of an official Spanish Tour de Wood Round To It, which I delivered on behalf of the Ambassador himself (I think I was his junior lieutenant for this occasion) in recognition of Stu's vicarious participation (via Oovoo video link), in the wonderful Michigan woodworking weekend a few weeks ago. We even toasted the event properly with some excellent Japanese brewed products, again courtesy of the Ambassador himself. There had actually been an elegant plan in the works to transport, through the magic of the internet, some of Jim Niemi's own brew, made especially for the Michigan gathering. Sadly, through some technical and logistical challenges, this part was just not meant to be, despite the best efforts of an elite team of international experts. Next time, for sure!

    Stu, thanks for a great day! I really enjoyed our tour and all the excellent conversation over a wide range of topics. Looking forward to next time.

    Here's some pics to certify that it all really happened. Maybe soon I'll figure out how to expertly blend them in with the text.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    San Antonio, Texas
    Wow! Looks like y'all enjoyed it. I know I would have.
    Billy B.

    "It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first." - Ronald Reagan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Reno NV
    You really get around Peter! What a great get together!
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Looks like another great family meet and a great day
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Peter it was a great day, I really enjoyed myself, I don't often get to spend a whole day with a native English speaker, Canadian to boot, and a woodworker just to add to the whole mix, certainly a great day!

    We met up early for breakfast and then headed out to Misato, in Saitama to go the the Super Viva Home I frequent, if traffic is light, it is a quick 45 minute ride, that costs only 900 yen/$11.60 each way! (life in Tokyo!)

    I picked up some plywood for the build of the top unit of the Humidor, I usually buy the Shina 18mm Lam-ply that I very much loathe, but it usually all that is up for grabs. That day they had something I'd not seen before, 16mm/5/8" Shina plywood, not Lam-ply that I usually buy, we shall see how that works out, and it was cheap too, the regular sheets of the lam-ply at 18mm are 3280 yen/$42.25 these sheets, while being a bit thinner at 16mm were on sale for 1980 yen/$25.50 a sheet. On the way home I decided to take a detour and show Peter a famous wood shop called Moku-Moku, they are famous for having seriously wonderful wood, at heart stopping prices!

    A view inside, 90% of the stuff on the rack is for sale finished on four sides, one reason it is so freaking expensive!

    Lots of very nice slabs of wood for sale too.

    Here is a monster slab of Karin or Burmese Rosewood burl, they want 480,000 yen or about $6200.... ouch!

    A close up

    Here is a nice little turning blank, about 12" in diameter, maybe 4" thick, certainly a nice chunk of wood, but they wanted 48,000 yen or $620, can we save coring tool?

    Finally here is a shot of all 60 of the lace bobbins I made for Peter's lovely wife Debbie, I hope they go over well.

    Peter was kind enough to give me another piece of ebony, that I'll put to good use, and to give me some beer and a Round-to-it as well, all courtesy of our very own Ambassador Larry" One wil be enjoyed, the other treasured!

    Thanks Larry!

    Peter also gave me a new Lee Valley hat, the one I have is getting a bit dogeared.

    Again thanks Peter, it was a great day!

    PS anyone want to guess (not peek) at what kind of saw Peter has his hand on in picture #3 of his post?

    Last edited by Stuart Ablett; 10-01-2012 at 01:26 PM.
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    new york city burbs
    yep, peter certainly gets around, looks like a great visit.
    Human Test Dummy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Spitting distance north of Detroit Michigan
    Great get-together, thanks for sharing!
    Stu, I'm going to guess{or at least hope} that is a veneer making saw {guess inspired by those lumber prices, Yowser Wowser }
    The perception of perfection is perfectly clear to everyone else

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Looks like a great time guys, truly would be a treat to spend a day doing that.

    Not a clue on the saw, but those are some big teeth on it.

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word boo. Robert Brault

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks for sharing the pics. Great visit.
    Chinese Proverb: Man who eats many prunes gets good run for the money.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    glad all went well stu and peter,, have a safe return trip..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

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