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But I understand Japanese shop practices as much as I understand all the acronyms my 12-year-old daughter uses when texting. So I’m always eager to learn about Japanese woodworking from people who have studied and practiced it in Japan.
Stanley completed the furniture program at the premier North Bennett Street School as a very young man and then went off to Japan to study the traditional lacquering and woodworking trades.
This weekend at the Northeastern Woodworkers Association’s annual show, Stanley was demonstrating his new Sharp Skate honing guide, teaching people to sharpen edge tools and helping people learn to wield a handplane on his Japanese bench. The bench consists of two trestle-style sawhorses that are topped with one massive slab of a top.


This particular bench was built by James Blauvelt, a Connecticut cabinetmaker, joiner and carpenter who runs the company Bluefield Joiners. Another interesting feature of the benchtop is a triangular notch cut into the slab up near the planing stop. Chris is a contributing editor to Popular Woodworking Magazine and the publisher at Lost Art Press.
One logical departure is that Japanese shops are small and often use specific fixtures for whatever is being made. He came back to this country with a Japanese wife and a deep desire to spread the traditional Japanese practices among Western woodworkers.


Except for the teak planing stop, all the bench’s parts are made using Port Orford Cedar, Stanley says, a durable and strong member of the cypress family that grows in the Pacific Northwest. This notch holds Japanese planes with their soles facing up so the craftsman can dress the tool’s wooden sole with another plane. Typically, the Japanese woodworker would place a thin board across the two trestles and place the tools he or she needed on that board.



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