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83 posts in 4489 days

Location: Hawaii

I am just an amateur and consider myself a beginner. Father was a carpenter and taught me a bit way back when I was little. About 30 years ago (late 70's to early 80's) started making really rough things for the house - cabinet above the washer, shelving, etc. Then moved in 87. In the new house I refloored bathroom with sheet vinyl, refinished the vanity and changed the counter top. Then about 05 helped do a complete redo of my kitchen. Reconfigured the walls, all new cabinets and appliances and sanded and finished the oak floors. Moved on to build a vanity with Corian countertop and closet from scratch for my daughter's bathroom. Friends were amazed that it looked like I bought the cabinetry. Used grain filler to minimize the grain and sprayed using my HPLV paint sprayer that I used to paint cars.

Last year 08 the toilet feed pipe burst in my back house and messed the floor up so project started as reflooring two bedrooms and the living room with Pergo which evolved into painting the three rooms. This led to completely redoing the kitchen and finally the bathroom. Had to raise and lower parts of the house because it was extremely crooked. I had a carpenter help out with some of the major projects like taking out walls, building a ramp and other stuff that would either be too dangerous or too much for my back. Had a tile pro do the walls for the tub.

In October, 2008 went to Japan as a tourist and happen to walk into a tool shop in Kyoto. Met a tool master who showed me all kinds of techniques for setting up and using Japanese tools. Bought a plane, sharpening blocks and two chisels. When I got back home I spent a few weeks setting up the plane because in Japan the tools are not set up to be used right out of the box and because the plane is made of wood it was recommended that I leave it out in the high humidity of Hawaii to adjust to the climate. I read Odate's Japanese Woodworking Tools and combined it with what I learned in Japan to setup and sharpen the tools. I was amazed at how these tools worked. With the plane I was able to get shavings that looked like lace and it left the wood feeling like glass with a shine I've never seen before. I had a 1200 grit sand paper and it dulled the wood terribly.

He said in the US he gave his highest recommendation to Hida Tools and when I got back began emailing them and they are extremely helpful both in what to buy and how to setup and use the tools. I've have bought a number of things from them. They also recommended The Complete Book on Japanese Joinery by Sato and Nakahara (actually two books combined) and Understanding Wood by Hoadley which I am just starting to read (7/7/09). These have really helped immensely. I notice I have to read the book and then do a project. Then go back and read it again and I find things I somehow missed the first time. I kept doing this and found my skills have improved greatly.

This is getting long. Just for information I am a band director and do woodworking projects just during weekends that I'm not too busy (rare) and summer. Since going to Japan I have come to seriously study Japanese tools. I spend a lot of nights practicing sharpening tools and setting them up. On weekends then I use them on varous projects and try to notice what the effects of the sharpening was. Then either read or ask Hida if I was on the right track. There is a part time worker, Milford who has been extremely helpful with my adventures in wood. I would love to share what I've since learned but with the understanding that I'm just a beginner. But I feel lucky that I stumbled across a most helpful tool master and was able to learn so much from him and friends at Hida.

-- Wood Menehune, Honolulu

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13 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 5066 days

#1 posted 07-08-2009 07:25 PM

Hello GKO,

Let me welcome to LJs. I am sure that you will find being a member of this group to be both a rewarding and an inspirational part of your woodworking adventure.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Bigdogs117's profile


1864 posts in 4865 days

#2 posted 07-08-2009 08:49 PM

Welcome to the shop. I look forward to seeing your projects and I hope you enjoy the site. There is alot of good information available from both professionals and amateurs who are willing to share their craft. God Bless!

-- Rusty

View Max's profile


55999 posts in 5518 days

#3 posted 07-08-2009 08:52 PM

Glad to see that you have made Lumberjocks a part of your Woodworking experience… Welcome

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View Todd Thomas 's profile

Todd Thomas

4969 posts in 4693 days

#4 posted 07-08-2009 10:14 PM

Welcome to LumberJocks….This will be a great resource for you and your projects. There are a bunch of great people here willing to help……have fun….

I’m looking forward to seeing your projects and posts…..

WARNING: Visiting LumberJocks has proven to be addictive

-- Todd, Oak Ridge, TN, Hello my name is Todd and I'm a Toolholic, I bought my last tool 10 days, no 4 days, oh heck I bought a tool on the way here! †

View cabinetmaster's profile


10873 posts in 4803 days

#5 posted 07-09-2009 12:39 AM

Welcome to LJ’s. We are here to help you with your woodworking endeavors. Feel free to ask for advise. But Be aware…this site can be very addictive…………LOL

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View Occie gilliam's profile

Occie gilliam

505 posts in 4541 days

#6 posted 07-09-2009 01:01 AM

Hi gko
Welcome to LumberJocks

-- OC down in Costa Rica. come down and see me some time. I'll keep the light on for you [email protected]

View a1Jim's profile


118258 posts in 4822 days

#7 posted 07-09-2009 02:47 AM

Welcome to LJs the place were there are great people,super projects and outstanding woodworkers.Enjoy


View Bureaucrat's profile


18341 posts in 4897 days

#8 posted 07-09-2009 02:57 AM

Welcome to Lumber Jocks! This is a great place to get – or give – advice about woodworking on the forums and the project posts are a wonderful source of new ideas. I love this site, I hope you will enjoy it too.

Look forward to seeing your projects and posts.

-- Gary D.

View Bigdogs117's profile


1864 posts in 4865 days

#9 posted 07-09-2009 04:28 AM

Enjoyed reading your profile. Welcome again.

-- Rusty

View Karson's profile


35278 posts in 5645 days

#10 posted 07-09-2009 06:23 AM

Welcome to LumberJocks. Glad to have you aboard. †

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Splinterman's profile


23074 posts in 4606 days

#11 posted 07-09-2009 01:53 PM

“Welcome to LJ’s”……The best place to enhance your skills and knowledge.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6875 posts in 5224 days

#12 posted 07-10-2009 03:48 AM

Hello GKO,

Welcome to lumberjocks. Here’s a great place to meet some very fine and talented people.



-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Grumpy's profile


26812 posts in 5096 days

#13 posted 07-11-2009 01:06 AM

Welcome to Lumberjocks . This is a great community of people with like interests.There is much to learn here & you will have the opportunity to share your skills & ideas with others. I hope you enjoy LJ’s as much as I do.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

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