Two videos featuring Toshio Odate

September 19, 20150 Comments

Very early in the beginning of my woodworking experience I remember seeing Japanese woodworking tools and being in awe of their delicate appearing details and wondering what exactly made them so different from Western tools?

The obvious characteristics stood out, especially when it came to saws, the pull stroke felt more natural and yielded what felt like a significant amount of control. Of course the big issue for me was my tendency to continue using a heavy handed stroke which didn’t always agree with the thin blades.

Eventually I started looking beyond just saws and began to explore and read about all the other tools that were equivalent to my Western versions, i.e. hand planes and chisels.

While I didn’t dive deep enough to actually purchase any, I’ve always had a place in the heart of my shop for where I’ll eventually add them and welcome them to my woodworking.

A teacher and craftsman who is frequently cited as being an inspiration to many woodworkers who admire and seek to emulate Japanese style woodworking is Toshio Odate.

I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing Toshio Odate in person, but sadly the very first Woodworking in America I had to miss years ago was one in which he presented what was described to me as an amazing lecture and presentation. I’ve always regretted not being in attendance.

Thankfully the folks over at Popular Woodworking know exactly what sort of a resource rich treasure he is and have recently released two new videos to help introduce woodworkers to both Toshio himself and to Japanese Tools.

japanese tools

The first of those two videos is “Talking Japanese Tools with Toshio Odate.”

Woodworker, artist & teacher Toshio Odate goes deep into philosophical discussions of Japanese tools and traditions with more than two hours of conversation on:

  • Natural vs. man-made sharpening stones (and how and why he’s come around to the manufactured variety)
  • The differences between Japanese and Western craft education and philosophies—and how things have changed during his lifetime
  • Japanese saws and planes (with a surprising revelation about modern makes of both)
  • And much more

“Talking Japanese Tools with Toshio Odate” is available in two formats:
Digital Download or DVD

The other video is an in-depth interview with Toshio Odate about himself and his work. I’ve had an opportunity to watch the video in its entirety and it’s both inspiring and informational.

The interview as described by Popular Woodworking:

“Through his sculpture, shoji, tools, books, furniture and teaching, Toshio Odate has been sharing the beauty and culture of Japanese woodworking traditions for decades. Much more than a woodworker, Toshio considers himself an artist – and justly so. Many of his sculptures are larger than life, and on display on his property.

Visit with us as we walk with Toshio through his grounds and discover his motivation for creative inspiration, learn about his journey to the United States and about his performaing at Cafe Wha? in Greenwich Village in the 1960s, hear him share his growth as an artist, and discover how experience has shaped his work. Join us for an intimate visit with woodworking legend, Toshio Odate.”

“Woodworking Legends – An Interview with Toshio Odate” is available in two formats:
Digital download or DVD

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