Where does the time go?

Hello again long suffering, patient and faithful reader,

I have no other excuses for my lack of posting here other than being ridiculously busy these past months, and unable to do anything but keep my head down and get done what needs to be done.

In that time however I was able to do a few ‘extra’ things, purely extravagant I’m afraid and I hope you’ll allow me the luxury of having taken the time to do them.

First, was a weekend away from home, away from the store, email, anything electronic (as my garbage phone goes flat for the fun of it!), just myself, my co-pilot and two vertically challenged monsters, all piled into the car and off to Awaji-shima which is a rather long island between Shikoku (where I live) and Honshu (where everyone else lives) and specifically it’s where the bridge from Shikoku (where I live) and Hyogo (where the tools are) connects to.

We spent a day exploring, playing and having fun. The first actual day dedicated to just doing nothing but having fun in over 6 years for us.

I’ll spare you the details, other than I hope we can do it again soon but I fear that we cannot afford to do it very often.

The following day was spent exploring some more, and then a half-day at the Miki Kanamono Matsuri (Hardware festival) where we met some people, caught up with others and general ‘stuff’.

While there, I managed to catch a presentation of a chisel being made…

And as I also had a camera that was able to take video, I did just that.

(It’s the camera you have that counts. Even a not-so-hot camera is better than none!)

The footage it took can be seen here;

Making a Japanese chisel.

Which brings up another important point.

While this video is admittedly not the greatest quality, it still needs to be converted from raw footage into something that is at least watchable.

This video is 15 minutes long, which meant chopping down 25 minutes of footage, addition captions and generally tweaking it, then converting it into an actual video file and then uploading it to the interweb so it can be viewed by anyone who wishes to see it.

In the past, my reliable old Toshiba laptop (being the fastest and most capable computer in the house) got the job of doing all that.

As I said, it’s a reliable beast, but it’s old. And video editing/converting is one thing that does not willingly tolerate ‘old’, needing as much computer horsepower you can lay your mitts on to get the job done.

This kind of video would take about 1-2 hours to edit (constantly slamming into the limit of the laptop’s abilities), another 2 hours to convert into an actual video file and another hour or so to upload through an ADSL internet connection. After all that, you might be lucky to get an actual video file because the computer is working so hard it gets flustered and makes mistakes, which means a lot of time wasted. While the computer is slaving away, it cannot do anything else, so consumed with effort it is. Then uploading, you run the gauntlet of tying up the computer for another hour or so, hoping that it all works.

Frustrating. Very, very frustrating. So much so that I never really had the time (or patience) to do it very often.

But, and it’s a really big but, the reliable old Toshiba has been put into semi-retirement…

In it’s place is a shiny new computer that allowed me to edit that video without slamming into any limits of the computer at all. Never even stressed the thing. Converting it all into an actual file took under 10 minutes and the upload was a mere 5 minutes.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am now the proud, and very pleased owner of some of the very finest, most powerful hardware Intel, Lenovo, nVidia and Samsung can muster and it’s connected to an equally spanky new fibre optic internet connection.

(Fast? Not even close to mere ‘fast’…)

So, it looks like I’ll finally be able to do something along the lines of actual videos for you all.

Expect more of them.


Lots of them.

I promise.

For now, it’s 3AM and I should be asleep. Maybe I already am?

Thanks for reading and watching.


4 comments to Where does the time go?

  • Alfred Kraemer

    Thanks for the video. I have seen chisel-making videos before but I think this is the first one that shows forging a chisel outside and – it appears – with minimal anvil and ‘furnace’.
    I can still not get enough of watching the skill of the craftsmen in this task.

    I have one question: What is the purpose of the headbands of the craftsmen?

    Thank you.


  • Hi Alfred,

    It was a public demonstration held every year at this event/festival. The previous day they were forging saws, and in years past it was plane blades, trowels, knives, etc.

    I think it shows that you don’t really ‘need’ much to make a tool, but the power hammers, presses and grinders make it a lot easier and faster. One thing missing from the video is the fellow on the bellows, just sitting there pumping away when needed.

    The headbands and jackets are supplied by the co-operative that exists in Miki for promoting the local arts and industries, and simply served to identify that the folks wearing them were going to be part of the demonstration on that day. Not normal dress for these guys when they’re working on the tools, but at least it looks the part in a more traditional sense.

    There will be more videos like this coming, but shot in the place where the folks make the tools. I still need to work out particulars about it, but we have a half dozen makers already agreeing to have us (as in myself and my wife) come in and take video while they’re working. Even though they’ll be making ‘actual tools’, it’s still a dead day for them because instead of the usual workflow they’d normally take, they’ll have to cram it all into a single day. They’ve not said this directly, but having spent some time on the tools myself, I know too well that when you change your normal routine, it makes for a virtually zero-production day.

    (Maybe I can help them out for a few hours to make up for it?)


  • Paul Craig

    Hi Stu,

    Great to see your blog in action again!

    Thanks for the video,the quality is fine.

    I’m looking forward to your other videos of Japanese craftsmen

    The Tsunesaburo Senjyu, 70mm I received from you earlier in the
    year is a joy to use.



  • Hi Stu,
    Great video, thankyou for sharing and I look forward to seeing more instalments! You are right to point out the man on the bellows, I was doing this job for my brother who is a blacksmith a few weeks ago, he was making me some Japanese chip breakers and it was a good workout for me! I do like their hammers very much and enjoyed seeing the technique used to form the bevel edges! I would really like to see a comparison of production kanna blade making against hand forging?!
    All the best,