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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. 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.

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. 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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