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Japanese Handtools & Joinery 日本の木工

October 11 - October 15 | 9:00 am - 5:00 pm $810
Japanese Joinery Class in Tampa

Close-up of japanese joinery technique

Hand planing with a Kanna


Dylan Iwakuni

Dylan Iwakuni, Japanese joinery instructor




Dylan Iwakuni

Japan has a long history of building structures using the abundance of wood found throughout the land.  The wood was cut into unique and complex joints, allowing the wood to join with each other, without the help of metal hardware and in many cases no glue. These joineries have been refined over time and are still used being used to this day. In order to make these joineries function properly and as strong as possible, it has to be cut precisely. Precise work comes down to having the right knowledge and techniques but most importantly comes down to using properly set up, well-sharpened tools.

This is a singular opportunity to learn from a professional trained, Japanse craftsman without the jetlag. With several years of experience in carpentry in Japan, Dylan has a wealth of knowledge to draw from and as both a professional and exploratory woodworker, he offers a unique perspective to western woodworkers just discovering the incredible art of Japanese woodworking. His work demonstrates that by understanding the fundamental principles behind the tools, any woodworker can learn to use them efficiently.

During this week-long class, Dylan Iwakuni from Kyoto Japan, will go beyond the pull saw and introduce you to a greater perspective of Japanese hand tools and joinery. You’ll learn how to properly set up, tune, and sharpen a wide range of  Japanese hand tools and through a series of exercises, you will learn about the fundamentals of laying out accurate lines, the correct posture, and techniques to use, the secrets of getting precise cuts and ways to check the accuracy of the work.  He will show you how to incorporate traditional Japanese woodworking techniques into your own work through small practice projects.

Students are strongly encouraged to bring their own Japanese tools to class.  Dylan will offer feedback and assistance on getting them to tuned and set up to work more efficiently. If you don’t have your own collection of Japanese tools (yet), no worries. Dylan and the School will have a few sets for community use.  The basic set of tools needed is detailed below.

Some of the key learning points include:

  • Japanese carpentry & techniques such as:
    • Hand planing with a Kanna
    • Building architecture
  • Sharpening and using Japanese tools
  • The different application of various joints
  • Accurate Joint layout 
  • Wood compression for a very tight fit.

Open from beginners wanting to make their first steps into Japanese joinery to those looking to step up their joinery making skills with a true Japanese carpenter.

Tools & Materials Needed: 

Sashigane (Carpenter’s square)

12mm (1/2″) and 24mm (1″) chisels

Kanna (around 42mm)

Hammer for striking the chisel (A Genno, Japanese double-sided hammer is the best)
Saw for finer work. Around 210mm or 8 inches in length. A Ryoba Saw is a good option.

Sharpening stones (1000 grit and 6000 or 8000 grit)

Diamond plate for flattening the stone.

Steel lapping plate.

Other tools which are good to have:
Smaller squares and try squares.
Other chisel sizes.
A paring chisel.

Suggested Tool Resources:


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Japanese Joinery 2021
$ 810.00

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