One of our favorite authors, Toshio Odate, is featured in an article in our October 2013 issue. In the story, Toshio relates his experience as an apprentice in Japan and builds a latticed entry door to his studio. The project is similar to what he was making in the 1950s. It isn’t exactly a how-to … Read more
Tag Archives: Toshio Odate
This is a model of a dining table featured in an article in the August 2010 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. Read more
This is a model of the undercarriage and drawer Toshio Odate added to the dining table featured in an article in the August 2010 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. Read more
The fear of a sagging tabletop leads to a solution that incorporates Western joints and Japanese aesthetics.
By Toshio Odate
From the October 2010 issue # 185
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Many countries have their own woodworking traditions, which are often a combination of mythology and ideology. The Japanese are no exception, and those traditions are part of the foundation of my work.
There is a temple that ancient Japanese carpenters built. Its columns, hewn from trees, are positioned as when each was a standing tree. That is, the south side of the standing tree, when used as a column, also faces the south.
Though the tree’s south side has more knots, period Japanese carpenters believed that, if these trees had faced the sun for 1,000 years, as columns they would stand another 1,000 years if positioned the same.
Japanese woodworkers also try not to use wood upside down, even on small objects. And the heart side of the wood should always face the inside of a carcase or object. As a result, Japanese carpenters do not bookmatch material. Even for table legs, the core side should face the inside.
I follow these traditions as much as possible, especially the ideology used to indicate the two lives of a tree. Today, when making a sculpture or cabinet, I use materials that mostly come from my surroundings. There must be a strong reason to make an exception.
I don’t just hope – I carefully construct a table to exist at least 300 years.
Video: Learn to calculate the sizes of the drawer needed for your project.
Article: Discover how to sharpen your chisels properly from long-time sharpener and author Ron Hock.
Web site: Study the Tansu style and read about the history of the Japanese chest.
To buy: Purchase a set of Japanese chisels and other woodworking tools.
In the store: Pick up “The Drawer Book” for information about drawer construction. Read more
A table built for a ‘rags to riches’ patron becomes the perfect project for an accomplished protégé.
By Toshio Odate
From the August 2010 issue #184
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All these years, my assistant, Laure Olender, has not only been working with me doing woodwork, she also takes photographs (including those in this article), edits my articles and assists me at lectures and demonstrations. I thought she was ready to do her own large project from beginning to end. I brought up several traditional Japanese woodworking projects, but every one of them had some small, complicated, technical detail that did not fit well for her first large project.
I came up with the dining table idea and thought this to be the perfect project for her, so we made a plan. I explained all the necessary concepts to her before she started on the project, as I have many wishes, thoughts, traditions and ideologies about this dining table.
Article: Christopher Schwarz takes Toshio Odate’s sharpening stones for a test drive.
Article: Build an Asian-inspired coffee table with step-by-step instructions.
Web site: Learn the history behind traditional Japanese woodworking techniques.
To buy: The best way to discover Japanese woodworking is with a Toshio Odate book.
In our store: Discover how to hand cut traditional woodworking joints. Read more