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Resources for building your own tools?

 
pollinator
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Location: Japan, roughly zone 9b - wet and warm climate
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One thing that has drawn me to this forum is how much of it is devoted to making things. Especially the making of things from scratch, including tools.

Even mainstream woodworkers make a lot of their own tools and jigs, but I have trouble finding resources, guides, and specifications for more traditional tools, especially green woodworking ones.

For example, I see a lot of the joinery in the green woodworking using tapered mortices... but I have never seen the tool that cuts them sold in stores. I believe it's called a tapered reamer? But I'm not even sure the names of a lot of these tools.

I have this problem here in Japan too, there are tons of traditional tools but finding the names is really difficult. Finding them for sale is nearly impossible.

I guess I'm looking for book recommendations, but websites can be just as good.

 
gardener
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Location: Nara, Japan. Zone 8-ish
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Lew Johnson wrote:
。。。
I have this problem here in Japan too, there are tons of traditional tools but finding the names is really difficult. Finding them for sale is nearly impossible.

。。。



I can't help with your main question, but I can help with this part of your post...

Sources for old tools in Japan:

Make friends with the people at your local dump, clean center, or metal recycler and ask if they can set tools aside for you.

Put the word out in your neighborhood and hopefully people cleaning out their ancient garages will bring you tools.

Find your local akiya (abandoned house) cleaning service, usually a non profit, and sign up to work or volunteer if they will let you take what you want out of the "trash" pile.

Search on mercari, (メルカリ)、or similar for old tools, vintage tools or old carpentry tools. A lot of people sell sets of the tools they have inherited without knowing what they are. A lot of times the tools names aren't listed anyway.

Tell me what you are looking for, or draw a picture or something, and I will see if we have duplicates. We keep all the tools we find cause I just can't let tools be thrown away. I'd be happy to send some to a person that would use them, if you want to pay shipping. Or come and get them, I'm not sure how far you are from Nara.

I googled tapered reamer and I don't think we have anything like that. I also found this illustration of some old carpentry tools with the names in blurry katakana.




 
gardener
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Take a look at "Lumberjack Tools" or "Rocklers" for the round mortise and tenon tools.
 
L. Johnson
pollinator
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Thanks for those ideas Amy.

The one place I do find some old tools is a "recycle shop" downtown. Most of them don't carry tools, but this one does. Apparently they go through their stock pretty swiftly though, and I rarely get a chance to see. Mostly chisels and planes though.

I did make friends with my local blacksmith and he told me if anyone comes to get rid of their old adzes (chouna) he'd set them aside for me. Apparently people do bring him things to melt down.
 
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Curtis Buchanon could become a very good friend of yours ;) He has a number of videos on YouTube detailing the construction of a couple of different chair designs. In the process, he introduces us to the tools, including the "tapered reamer" and explains its use and construction. If you like green woodworking, Curtis will help you ;) Peter Follansbee's blog might be useful to you as well, with a wide variety of insights into making useful things from trees ;)

Paul Sellers on youtube has quite a number of videos that address making your own tools. I forget whether he deals with a tapered reamer or not. Pask makes has a couple of videos where he makes both a tapered reamer and a tapering plane. The tapering plane makes the male part of the tapered mortise and tenon joint, the reamer makes the female part.

Mike Abbott has a couple of books on green wood working and Mike is one of the leaders of the renaissance of this craft.
Peter Follansbee and J. Alexander have a book, "Make a Joint Stool from a Tree"
J. Alexander's book "Make a Chair from a Tree" is part of what set Follansbee on his career path as a green woodworker and researcher into 17th century furniture construction.
Roy Underhill - his PBS tv show The Woodwright's Shop", any or all of his books. If you're in Japan attending classes at Roy's North Carolina school might be difficult ;)

Building planes is almost its own subculture in woodworking ;) I think some people get obsessed with the making of them ;) Depending on whether or not you have metalworking capacity, there are quite a few woodworking tools that it's possible to build entirely yourself. Chisels, planes, axes, gouges, adzes - the metal work on any of them is within reach of a competent hobby metal worker. I would suggest that saws and drill bits are best left to professionals ;) The wood work on all of them - it's worth making your own tool handles for things like chisels, axes, hammers - it's woodworking practice, you'll get handles that fit Your hands and you'll feel both invested in and rewarded by the work ;)

 
L. Johnson
pollinator
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Hah. Listening to Curtis talk sounds like going home.
 
gardener
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They had hollow augers, gimlets, spoons, bunghole borers, and probably many other names for tools that made tapered holes in wood. If you want to make one, a simple spoon auger would be easiest, most likely.
 
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