Some very important information.

Hello All,

As the title says, this may well be the most important piece of information I have related to all who may read this extremely sparely updated blog since it started, and more significant than the news that a working store would evolve from it.

The last post here was about my mother’s passing, which was traumatic to say the least, made more so by a few things I have not divulged to you all out there.

The first thing was that I did not attend her funeral. It’s something I will regret for the rest of my years, but that I was there to say goodbye to her properly assuages that somewhat. Why I was not there was due to a combination of things. Our return tickets were 2 days prior to the funeral, but they could have been changed without too much trouble. Some small family communication issues at what was the most stressful time for everyone reared their head, but they’re not things to hold on to. I was not in a good place mentally (obviously) and not thinking well and to push that further along I was ‘coerced’ to “get back to work” through some emails from some people who expected me to ship their orders out while I was at my lowest point. One went so far beyond decent and reasonable that it significantly changed my attitude to everything relating to the store.

Secondly, I had always hoped that at some time in the past 9 years that this store would become it’s own entity. Hiring it’s own staff, running itself so that I might be able to leave it alone and get back to spend some time with my parents and for my parents to spend some time with their grandchildren over and above the scant dozen or so weeks they’d had with them. That never eventuated unfortunately. There are several reasons why this did not happen, and no single one is to blame, just a lot of small things that essentially caused stagnation.

Thirdly, I’m tired. While I’ve managed to get 2-3 weeks for the past few years over the holiday season, that’s the only set break I get throughout the year. A few sporadic days here and there, but nothing more. That’s been how it is for me for not the 9 years the store has been open, but the past 17 years I’ve been in Japan. I’ve significantly increased the time I spend with my family, but it’s always in small allocations. If you’ve ever managed to spend a solid week with your family without a single thought to work related matters, then you’ve managed more than I ever have with my 2 kids.

Lastly, things are changing in the world of Japanese woodworking hand tools. They’ve been changing for several years, a little at a time, and the cumulative effect is that it is now significantly more difficult to operate than it was. Tools take longer to get a hold of, some tools are now completely unavailable and the way in which we get some tools is no longer viable. That’s a very broad generalization, but the short version is that’s a lot more difficult and troublesome than it needs to be and for more of them than it should be.

I think it’s fairly obvious where this is going, so here it is in plain text.

The Tools from Japan store will be ceasing operations as it presently exists in the near future.

The ‘closing’ will be staggered somewhat over a few months to ensure that any orders taken will be filled and shipped.

The ‘closing’ may not be complete and permanent depending on how thing pan out over the coming months and how we might be able to continue at a much reduced capacity/range.

To add on to this, we (meaning myself, my wife and our 2 children) will be leaving Japan in March/April 2019. This will happen, the only changes will be how it all goes down. For the next couple of weeks, no changes but they’ll come as needed to make sure all orders are shipped out complete or otherwise made right.

(Just a side note here, I’ve heard of PTSD but never really been subject to anything that would cause me to suffer from it so couldn’t possibly understand how difficult it might be to deal with. I’ve got some idea of it now, although wouldn’t pretend to say it affects me, only that I have some idea now.)

Sorry to all who this will affect and upset, but it’s a time to do or don’t, and as things are at the moment it’s better for all of us to ‘do’ but not here.

Maybe now I’ll be able to put to words some of the things I’ve wanted to explain for a very long time, but had to be somewhat careful about…

(And as I write this, the almost exact same thing that kicked this closing down off has happened again. I’d like to be able to write here that closing down is a decision I wholly regret, but to be honest I’ll be glad to get some distance from from some parts of it at least.)


16 comments to Some very important information.

  • Craig Jaeger

    I am sorry to hear that life has been rough. I experience something similar recently when my parents passed. Some extreme reactions from family members that turned on each other and myself. PTSD is right and I think it permanently alters your perspective and how much you trust people.

    You helped me pick out some chisels for my Dad before he passed. At the time I did not think he would be able to use them. I wanted to give him something that he would appreciate. I found the chisels in his shop after he passed in a beautiful walnut box he put together with dovetails. It still makes me smile when I think about it.

    Good luck in your future endeavors and thanks for your service in the past.


  • Barry Dorans

    Stu, sorry to hear about your troubles, and even sorrier that you had to go into so much detail. Let me say that good luck in whatever the future holds for you and thanks for the service you have given in the past.

  • GH

    Really sorry to hear about your situation. You’ve been open an honest above and beyond what would be expected. I hope you find your future bright and you still might be able to share your knowledge when time allows.

  • Tony Wilkins

    I’m sorry to hear this but I understand and wish for you to do what is best for you and your family. Every Blessing.

  • I wish you, and your family, all the best, and may things only get better for you. It’s been a pleasure doing business with you.

  • Jim Koepke

    Sad to hear you will be closing a great resource, not just for tools but for good information.

    Sorry to hear an unreasoning customer gave you a difficult experience in making your decision.

    One of my thoughts of buying my next set of stones from you will likely now never occur since my old stones are still doing their job.

  • Chris Parks

    Stu, thanks for the years of sterling service to the WW community. I was not a regular customer but you still treated every order as though I was and that is worth a lot of Brownie points in my book. My cousin has recently returned to live in Oz after living in Japan for many decades and seems to be settling in. The customers can be a difficult lot to deal with unfortunately, some simply do not want to understand or listen to reason.

  • O

    Sad to hear but at the same time I’m happy for you and your family. For nearly a decade you did something you really enjoyed and dedicated plenty of time to. But now, it’s time for you to dedicate that time to your family. Job well done mate. God Bless.

  • Martin S.

    Stu, I recently lost my father, so I can sympathize.

    I wanted to thank you for you kind advice over the years. You have helped many woodworkers with many questions about Japanese tools and buying the correct sharpening stones.

    Your knowledge has been an unbelievable resource for many, and I thank you.

    I wish you the best of luck in all future endeavors, and I hope you are able to find peace and spend more time with your family.

    Again, thank you, for all your have done for woodworkers. You and your fine store will be missed.

  • Paul McGaha


    Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. The water stones and diamond plates you sold me and the advice you gave in using them.

    I wish you and your family the best of luck in the future.

    I’m very sorry for the troubles that you’ve had.


  • Kevin

    So sorry for your troubles. You take care of you, all the best.

  • Justus

    I‘m very sorry for your loss and trouble Stu,
    Like many others of your customers I don’t have people in person to teach me about Japanese tools. I wrote you some questions once but I‘m afraid that was during hard times I‘ve never been through myself. I read your blog afterwards and felt very sorry for interrupting your mourning. Then I read through your whole website and I‘ve learned so many new things that helped me answering questions myself. It’s a great source of information and I‘m sure you put all your heart in it, thank you for that. I‘m glad I ordered to support you and didn’t lose my pacience.
    I wish I would‘ve known you in better times and I wish you all the very best for your mental recovery of course for your family and future job.

    Kind regards

  • First, thank you all for the kind comments and thoughts.

    Second, let me be clear that while it was mostly a single person behaving poorly in a bad situation that caused me to make a decision I may regret for the rest of my life, it was not a single person (or concern) than has caused us decide to move on but a combination of things.

    I’d write more, but that will need to wait for another time.


  • Max

    Thank you so much for doing this at all in the first place, Stu. I’ll treasure the chisels and water stones I was able to buy here. Best of luck in your next steps and pursuits.

  • Stefan

    Thank you for having offered such fine tools and providing so much information about japanese tools (via this website and diverse forums). I like the kindness of your e-mails. I wish you, and your family, all the best.

    Kind regards,

  • Siavosh

    Best of luck on the new chapter for you and your family, I hope some distance in space and time will help. I also want to say, I purchased my first set of japanese tools from you years ago, and even though I haven’t had time to do woodworking in the last couple years due to work/family I still regularly visited your site to see what new tools may be waiting. I still keenly look forward to using the chisels and planes I purchased from you and handing them down to my son at some point. Thanks for all the effort, but family and health above all :) Cheers.