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42 comments so far

View Calgirl's profile


188 posts in 4951 days

#1 posted 10-11-2007 07:04 PM

JoJo, That was very interesting…..are you going to be building any other furniture where you can provide more intriguing cultural information? I like your stool very much as I like the Asian look. Can you tell us anything about Soji screens (or however you spell it) ? Some that I have seen are quite beautiful.

-- Forget the health food, I need all the preservatives I can get !

View RobS's profile


1334 posts in 5362 days

#2 posted 10-11-2007 07:06 PM

Interesting and understood, awesome stool. One question, what type of wood is it?

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View Dadoo's profile


1790 posts in 5046 days

#3 posted 10-11-2007 07:18 PM

Always a pleasure to read your blogs and learn of the Japanese culture. Nice work too. But I’m not too sure I could stand the “scalding tub” or bathing after my mother-in-law!

-- Make Woodworking Great Again!

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5217 days

#4 posted 10-11-2007 07:20 PM

great information!! I did not know!

no glue you say?? Oh memories of our Summer Challenge haha.

Great stool; great information! What is our next little bit of cultural education?

PS I’m loving the thought of the immersion into the hot water but not loving the “shared” part of it so much.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5153 days

#5 posted 10-11-2007 07:29 PM

I like the stool alot. Great lines and I’m sure it will function well for a long time to come.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 5367 days

#6 posted 10-11-2007 08:23 PM

Thanks for the explaination. I can understand this: we share the water with the whole family and/or guests if any (quite unusual to have some of the later, by the way). What type of wood did you use that will hold up to this punishment?

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 5018 days

#7 posted 10-11-2007 08:33 PM

Thanks for the cultural lesson, Jojo. As to the stool, I see some very nice subtleties there that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Not fine wood working, you say? I can’t wait to see what you consider” Fine”.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 5122 days

#8 posted 10-11-2007 08:53 PM

JoJo, I agree with Tom – I can’t wait to see an example of what you consider Fine Woodworking. I’d be proud to have that stool – but I don’t care to share the water, nor be boiled taking a bath. Just a Western thing :-)).

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View niki's profile


426 posts in 5136 days

#9 posted 10-11-2007 10:48 PM

Hi Jojo

Very nice stool and made like the Japanese do…no glue, no screw…Otskare Samadeshita

When I first came to Japan (for 11 years), I got a cultural shock from everything; the Japanese, the food, the houses the Onsen and the Ofuro….But, slowly (actually quite fast) I got used to the Japanese culture and even started to like it…

So much I liked it that, when we planned the house in Poland, I planned the bathroom exactly like in Japan…the “dry section” that includes the sink, mirror and cabinets and the “wet section” – Ofuro

Oh, you forgot to mention that the bath tab has special cover to keep the water hot for the “next guy”

At home (in Poland) we cook a lot of Japanese food; Tofu, Ramen, Tonkatsu (yes, with Bulldog sauce), Zaru-soba, Onigiri and many other dishes that only my wife knows the names…I just eat…so, every time we go to Japan for a visit, we come back with two suit-cases full with Japanese food…and some times with a router for me…

The Stool looks fantastic and…very nice Tatami…
It look to me that you used Nisu No 1 (shiny), very nice finish.


View mot's profile


4928 posts in 5092 days

#10 posted 10-12-2007 12:13 AM

Great blog and nice stool!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 4961 days

#11 posted 10-12-2007 03:01 AM

Thanks for posting that, very cool. I like the story and the stool.
“As i said, very simple and nothing fancy, but it’s just a workhorse, we are not talking fine woodworking here.”

I would have to disagree, some of the finest woodworkings I have ever seen were simple utilitarian things made for a purpose and to last, not just decoration.

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 5053 days

#12 posted 10-12-2007 08:25 AM

Beautiful stool Jojo! Actually quite refined! Is that Cypress that you used? Or?

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View 's profile

593 posts in 5028 days

#13 posted 10-12-2007 07:18 PM

Thank you all guys for your overwhelming response and kind comments. I’m going to make a group reply trying to address all of them.

I’ve also added a blog entry to show you a comprehensive picture of the stuff used in the building.

Callgirl – I don’t plan on building anything “serious” or big, for obvious reasons (in case you are not up to date, take a look at my workshop page). Anyway I’m pretty confident I will keep on going and doing what I can with the measly amount of (hand) tools I own here. The withdrawal symptom is just to much to stand otherwise. Regarding the ”shoji” screens I definitely will do a post on my blog, as others have already expressed their wish that I expand on the traditional houses of Japan. Just don’t hold your breath as I am quite busy lately.

Rob, Oscorner & Dorje – Thank you folks, I appreciate the compliments, particularly coming from fine woodworkers like you both. By the way Rob, maybe you didn’t realize it, but your Lit'l Light-o-mine is clearly inspired by the traditional japanese floor lanterns (”andon”). The wood SHOULD have been ”hinoko” (Japanese Cypress), the traditional that is used for such things, but I am cheap and just used what I found in the scrap pile and finished it instead of leaving it natural as I’d have done with the Cypress. So humble pine it is. I’m not worried about that because the intended use is only for a few years until we get out of here. As I said above, it’s about pragmatism and not about building a heirloom. As for the lack of guests, it’s a japanese thing, Niki can confirm it: you can live here and know lots of friends for many years and never have had any of them visiting at home. It’s something that you just don’t do very often. Of course in our case this is not true as we are an unusual couple and every now and then there some foreigner friends staying at home for some days.

Dadoo – again thank you… and you’d be surprised of the things you could get used to if moving to a place like Japan. The very first time I came here to visit—actually to met—my then future in-laws I found myself bathing naked with my father-in-law, my 7 year old niece and dozens of other guys in a spa (”onsen”)... after 24 h of the first contact.

Dear Debbie – Thanks, you always have a nice word for your fellows. I bet in a short while you’d even think about the shared part of all that. You are a very open minded person and you know what they say: when in Rome… As for the next boring tirade I have to push myself and my procrastinating side to finish the last episode in the series of the ”Gion Matsuri” and then start with the japanese houses. The problem is that the new place where I am continuing my study of the Japanese language (the YMCA!) is so exigent that it leaves me very few time for myself. Add to this that I also have a live apart from that (sort of) and I am too tired to do it. But I promise I will try to get back in track.

Wayne, Thos, Bill, Tom & Daren – At risk of repeating myself, thank you. You are way to kind with me. After all it was just another of those: ”Just don’t buy this, I can make it” moments. The alternatives were either buy a cheapo plastic one from the 100 yen store ($1 store) or a cypress traditional one, made of three rectangular blanks butt-jointed, unsanded and unfinished… for close to $30. I wasn’t paying such amount of money for three poorly assembled, unfinished boards totalling less than 2 bd ft and, of course, I wasn’t going to put my delicate butt in a cold plastic thingie either! ;o)

Niki, the expert – I appreciate particularly your comments, as they come from a connoisseur. domo arigatou gozaimashita Nikisan.

It is fun to read about you having an ofuro in Poland… as we plan to build one in the USA after we quit Nihon! Great minds think alike I guess. You got me with the lid for the tub. I forgot to tell everybody that important point but it was too late at night: As soon as you get out of the water you must replace the lid to prevent the heat escaping and thus the heater kicking up repeatedly. Nowadays most covers are made of plastic and very similar o the rolling top desk doors so they can be stored away rolled up. At home we still have one of the traditional ones, made of three independent sections of cypress boards. Not in vain my in-law is a daikusan.

I can’t remember the name of the finish right now, but you are probably right.

So, anata no okusan mo nihonjin desuka? Doko he suimashitaka? By the way, if you need something I can get it mailed to you, don’t hesitate to ask.

View niki's profile


426 posts in 5136 days

#14 posted 10-12-2007 08:17 PM

Arigato gozaimasu Jojosama, Hajimemashite

Jojosan ga nihongo o pera-pera…watakushi no nihongo o mada “bara-bara” to mitai…

Tsuma wa Porando de umaremashita demo, 30 nen ijoo Nihon de hataraite imashita. “Yokohama tsusho” tsuite imashita.

Watakushi wa Yokohama de sunde imashita, “Nihon Air System” (JAS) tsuite imashita.

Shonan to konan mada Nihon de sunde imase (Tookyo – Yokohama).

Wathashi-tachi wa ichi nen kan de, nikai-sankai gurai Nihon ni ikimase deskara, Nihon no tabemono to iroiro na momo mondainai desu yo

Well, if your in-law is a Daikusan…I understand why the stool is so beautiful…but I bet that he found some “faults” in your working methods :-)

Mata ne

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5217 days

#15 posted 10-12-2007 08:27 PM

wow, Niki.. that’s quite the wish list you posted there!! hahaaa

as for “when in Rome” – I’m sure I would adapt to many customs.
(while I was reading the comments, I thought about our shared hot tubs and swimming pools. Same thing, just no “scrubbing” while you are in the water.)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

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