To whom it may concern, Happy father’s day!

Hello again faithful reader,

Here in Japan, among other places around the world, it’s father’s day so to all of you out there so blessed to be a dad, I hope your day was a good one.

To those of you out there who didn’t have father’s day today (including my dad), please disregard the above…

I spent the day cutting wood, actually working on a small, semi-portable workbench. I suppose I did well enough, building the entire base in 6 hours on and off. Nothing really special consisting of legs, a pair of long stretchers, dovetailed short stretchers across the top and mortise and tenon at the bottom, all bolted together, no glue since it does actually need to be able to be knocked down.

You will all be seeing more of it in the coming weeks I assure you. >wink!<

After doing all that, I got taken out to dinner to somewhere I’d not been before and it was very, very good and now sit here with a full belly slightly laced with a nice cold beer (I can’t drink beer alone, I must have company and I did!) , and I must confess it’s been the best father’s day yet of the now 5 I have had.

However, I came to a realization just now, and took the tape measure to the bench to check on something. What I found said to me in tipsy neon lights “I’ve still got it!”

The longer stretchers are straightened and squared kiln dried SPF (spruce/pine/fir) 2×6 lengths. It’s the basic ‘cheap stuff’ we get here, and it’s not bad other than I can’t really cut much under power before I get an allergic reaction. It manifests itself as a chronically dripping nose.

So, after quickly running mortises with the electric router (it takes but a minute for each one) I cut the tenons by hand. My check just now with the tape measure told me those tenons are millimetre perfect. They legs are 730mm apart at the bottom and measure the same at the top. Not bad cut by hand, huh?

But, what if I told you that the tenons are all ‘off the saw’, there are no gaps at the shoulders, obviously dead square and they are piston fit? You’d wonder if I’d drunk a half dozen glasses of beer instead of one goodly sized one. And I if I said that the shoulder cuts take but a minute or two on these rather long shoulders, you’d be sure I’d drained the bar.

And what if I said I think anyone can learn to do it in about 10 minutes? Maybe that I’d been drinking something a little harder than just sparkling amber stuff?

Don’t worry, I’ll show you.

And that short, 5 word sentence is signifying a change around here. A really significant change.

From here on out, I’ll not be resorting to far too many words, not enough pictures and hoping they can all be followed. No, I’ll be switching to presenting most things in video. The recent plane comparison video I slapped together for a first effort told me loud and clear that while words and pictures can convey quite a lot, a moving picture conveys a significantly larger amount on information and at the same time, video evidence is difficult to disregard. Photographs can be staged and retouched, words are just words and subject to misinterpretation and misunderstanding. Video, it’s harder to fudge and difficult to refute if it happens in front of your eyes.

I don’t think I’m any good at this video stuff. I have little confidence with it, I have no presence in front of the camera but nobody else is going to do it for me.

I’ve learned from the plane comparison video as well. That was made with my Pentax K-x DSLR which takes good pictures, and clear video with those big lenses, but the microphone is small, fixed and cannot be supplanted easily, and therein lies the weakness, the sound in the plane video was not good.

So, in order to make it all as painless as possible, a new video camera is on its way complete with a plug in microphone. Being a dedicated video camera, it will be able to zoom and focus on the fly (the Pentax cannot do that), it’s HD so I can make sure everything is clear and crisp and I’m in the process of evaluating some video processing software to see what will work the best for what I need to do.

Now some of you may be wondering why I’m throwing so much effort into something like this when I could easily spend it on something that’s been begging for attention for a long time.

The answer is pretty simple.

The Tools from Japan store exists only in electrons and dreams. You can’t easily visit here and try all these things out, so the closest that can be done is to have the item used in front of you, with a running commentary so you will be able to see and hear first hand (or its it second hand?) what’s going on and whether it will work for you. With a quick 10 minute video, I can convey as much information as would normally take an hour or more to write up and process pictures of.

And besides, there are a lot of instructional videos that are desperately needed, so they’ll get done as time allows as well.

I must warn you however. If I can manage to get the same confidence level making these videos that I have in front of a classroom full of kids, then we should have some fun. ;)

Thanks for reading,


1 comment to To whom it may concern, Happy father’s day!

  • Steve Mitchell

    Hi Stu,

    Glad you had a nice Fathers’ Day – me too.
    Look forward to your next videos.