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BrodieB

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Hi all,

Does anyone have any recommendations for makers/importers of good quality Japanese Hand Tools here in the UK?

Also, looking for a nice Japanese hammer head to make my own hammer. Anyone know of any suppliers?

Thanks,

Brodie B
 

woodbloke66

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BrodieB":rzbyi08r said:
Hi all,

Does anyone have any recommendations for makers/importers of good quality Japanese Hand Tools here in the UK?

Also, looking for a nice Japanese hammer head to make my own hammer. Anyone know of any suppliers?

Thanks,

Brodie B
Three that spring to mind; Axminster, Workshop Heaven and Classic Hand Tools - Rob
 

Sideways

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It's a crying shame but the best source in the country has stopped supplying most of it's range of Japanese tools. They were the goto supplier back in the 90's and produced a superb full colour catalogue.

From the website of Thanet Tool Supplies in Kent :

"Once upon a time, we had a thriving division of our company called The Craftsmans Choice. We offered an incredible array of simply fantastic, fine quality Japanese manufactured woodworking tools. As the years went by, sadly the demand for this level of quality diminished beyond all recognition. We have retained a few pieces to keep the tradition alive but sadly these wonderful items are now getting even harder to find."

I can vouch for Workshop Heaven which is where I now go for Gyokucho saws & blades (high quality machine made saws).
 

woodbloke66

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thetyreman":2521e8c4 said:
https://www.niwaki.com/store/woodworking/
They're good for Japanese gardening stuff as well and are just down the road from me in Shaftesbury. As far as I can tell, none of the suppliers mentioned in the UK sell Japanese marking gauges etc though CHT and WH did at one time - Rob
 
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woodbloke66":37c1a5ca said:
thetyreman":37c1a5ca said:
https://www.niwaki.com/store/woodworking/
They're good for Japanese gardening stuff as well and are just down the road from me in Shaftesbury. As far as I can tell, none of the suppliers mentioned in the UK sell Japanese marking gauges etc though CHT and WH did at one time - Rob
Not UK, but they have a good selection here.

https://www.fine-tools.com/keshiki.html

My stuff took about 5 days I think
 

D_W

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Dieter Schmid is fair and has decent stuff. It reminds me of the menu of items that come through harima (i think that's the name) distribution in the US.

Low and mid-level stuff in japan is generally pretty good - there's nothing that I can think of that's equivalent to indian-made stanley pattern planes.

If you get far into this, I'd look at something like buyee and work your way through to the yahoo auctions and buy some older stuff. Well, not far - even past beginner.

Much of what's sold now in high cost tools is marked way up, and you can spot good workmanship on older tools on buyee and get a whole lot more for your nickel (and try different things).

https://buyee.jp/item/search/category/2 ... m_status=2

there's a lot of high quality old stock stuff selling from japan. IN the 80s, the yen was weak and people could sell a romantic narrative to the UK and US and mark the tools up stiffly and make a bunch of money. Not that some of the tools weren't good, but the markup was questionable in my opinion. The same thing happened with guitars. A 120,000 yen guitar in japan was worth about $600US in japan at the very most, but could be shipped to the US and sold for $1500. They left the country like they were hit with a giant vacuum cleaner.

That was aided by poor quality domestic guitars in the US at the time (and the UK if there was anyone making guitars there) - late 70s, early 80s. Starting to sound like the tools?

Beware that shipping of anything from japan over 2kg will either be expensive or slow. I have bought about ...probably 200 things through buyee and only ever had trouble with guitars - everything else has arrived in good shape.
 

BrodieB

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D_W":41cv88ri said:
Dieter Schmid is fair and has decent stuff. It reminds me of the menu of items that come through harima (i think that's the name) distribution in the US.

Low and mid-level stuff in japan is generally pretty good - there's nothing that I can think of that's equivalent to indian-made stanley pattern planes.

If you get far into this, I'd look at something like buyee and work your way through to the yahoo auctions and buy some older stuff. Well, not far - even past beginner.

Much of what's sold now in high cost tools is marked way up, and you can spot good workmanship on older tools on buyee and get a whole lot more for your nickel (and try different things).

https://buyee.jp/item/search/category/2 ... m_status=2

there's a lot of high quality old stock stuff selling from japan. IN the 80s, the yen was weak and people could sell a romantic narrative to the UK and US and mark the tools up stiffly and make a bunch of money. Not that some of the tools weren't good, but the markup was questionable in my opinion. The same thing happened with guitars. A 120,000 yen guitar in japan was worth about $600US in japan at the very most, but could be shipped to the US and sold for $1500. They left the country like they were hit with a giant vacuum cleaner.

That was aided by poor quality domestic guitars in the US at the time (and the UK if there was anyone making guitars there) - late 70s, early 80s. Starting to sound like the tools?

Beware that shipping of anything from japan over 2kg will either be expensive or slow. I have bought about ...probably 200 things through buyee and only ever had trouble with guitars - everything else has arrived in good shape.
What sort of price are you paying from this website for postage or say a single chisel to the UK? Are there any import fees/taxes you’ve experienced?

Thanks
 

lurker

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BrodieB":dis49mlj said:
Hi all,

Does anyone have any recommendations for makers/importers of good quality Japanese Hand Tools here in the UK?

Also, looking for a nice Japanese hammer head to make my own hammer. Anyone know of any suppliers?

Thanks,

Brodie B
All you need is a short length of square mild steel black, I used 30 mm.
It’s easy to work and doesn’t need any hardening and tempering like an edged tool.
 

Lonsdale73

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Sideways":29n2t1tm said:
... sadly the demand for this level of quality diminished beyond all recognition. ..
Sadly not confined to Japanese tools
 

D_W

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BrodieB":1l1yrlv8 said:
D_W":1l1yrlv8 said:
Dieter Schmid is fair and has decent stuff. It reminds me of the menu of items that come through harima (i think that's the name) distribution in the US.

Low and mid-level stuff in japan is generally pretty good - there's nothing that I can think of that's equivalent to indian-made stanley pattern planes.

If you get far into this, I'd look at something like buyee and work your way through to the yahoo auctions and buy some older stuff. Well, not far - even past beginner.

Much of what's sold now in high cost tools is marked way up, and you can spot good workmanship on older tools on buyee and get a whole lot more for your nickel (and try different things).

https://buyee.jp/item/search/category/2 ... m_status=2

there's a lot of high quality old stock stuff selling from japan. IN the 80s, the yen was weak and people could sell a romantic narrative to the UK and US and mark the tools up stiffly and make a bunch of money. Not that some of the tools weren't good, but the markup was questionable in my opinion. The same thing happened with guitars. A 120,000 yen guitar in japan was worth about $600US in japan at the very most, but could be shipped to the US and sold for $1500. They left the country like they were hit with a giant vacuum cleaner.

That was aided by poor quality domestic guitars in the US at the time (and the UK if there was anyone making guitars there) - late 70s, early 80s. Starting to sound like the tools?

Beware that shipping of anything from japan over 2kg will either be expensive or slow. I have bought about ...probably 200 things through buyee and only ever had trouble with guitars - everything else has arrived in good shape.
What sort of price are you paying from this website for postage or say a single chisel to the UK? Are there any import fees/taxes you’ve experienced?

Thanks
They mark items fairly, so you'll get whatever customs are due. here in the states, it's zero, so fees and shipping are my costs. I'll give you some examples for items that I've bought:

Keep in mind that i'm an experienced buyer

* set of ten chisels (used, older pro quality set that need some setup work) plus two large timberframing push chisels (think slicks) - $160 for the chisels plus $40 for proxy fees and shipping to the US.
* 1200G white suita (this keeps the package below 2kg) - $90 for the stone and $25 for the shipping and fees (shipped air, but not EMS - about 1 week delivery)
* various older but little or unused matching subblade, blade and kanna dai (so a full japanese plane) - average about $85 each plus $25 for shipping air (but not EMS).

The planes in general are as good as anything i've ever had (as in, I don't see a quality difference vs. new relatively expensive japanese planes), but I had to do a little bit of looking to find good listings, put a proxy bid on them and "win" a couple of them.

It's not really a great idea to buy one chisel or one hammer at time and ship it, but they can consolidate, so if you wanted to get half a dozen hammers and pay $10 or $15 for them to consolidate and repack, you could get all of them in one package.

For years, I've been wanting a thinner set of nomi that have a profile that's closer to our western tools, but without the tools being too delicate. I haven't been looking for years, though. I don't want cheesy hardware store type chisels, and last year landed a nearly unused set of multihollow chisels with delicate blades and boxwood handles. $310 for a set of 14 in a purpose made case plus $80 to ship the set here (over 2kg, I just bit the bullet and shipped them EMS because I wanted to make sure I got them).

If you get a huge number of things, you can have the proxy service protectively package all of the items, consolidate them, and ship them surface insured. The overall cost will be a lot more like domestic postage then, but it will take two months to receive them.

This may not be an option for everyone, but it's a good option for folks who want to try different things without getting stung doing things like buying $500 japanese planes or $300 hammers. It seems like most makers in japan made great tools in the past if you can spot well made tools, and once the makers are deceased, the tools just don't have that much value.

I am a japanese natural stone hound and I like japanese guitars, so there are several draws for me to their auctions. A yamaha les paul copy in OK shape in japan may be $225 on a straight up auction, but may be $600-$800 in the US. the cost to ship something like that to the states is about $195. It varies from "thing to thing".
 

thetyreman

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D_W":3eo0zfip said:
I am a japanese natural stone hound and I like japanese guitars, so there are several draws for me to their auctions. A yamaha les paul copy in OK shape in japan may be $225 on a straight up auction, but may be $600-$800 in the US. the cost to ship something like that to the states is about $195. It varies from "thing to thing".
have you ever tried out a japanese made tokai? they're really good, I prefer them to real USA gibsons quite often they sound better, the best flying V I've ever heard was a tokai.
 

D_W

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thetyreman":kufukyl0 said:
D_W":kufukyl0 said:
I am a japanese natural stone hound and I like japanese guitars, so there are several draws for me to their auctions. A yamaha les paul copy in OK shape in japan may be $225 on a straight up auction, but may be $600-$800 in the US. the cost to ship something like that to the states is about $195. It varies from "thing to thing".
have you ever tried out a japanese made tokai? they're really good, I prefer them to real USA gibsons quite often they sound better, the best flying V I've ever heard was a tokai.
I tried 5 in the last two years:
HLS160
LS160
ES-170
HLS240
SBG185

The last two were great, though it was a little bit offputting that the 240 (a $2400 suggested retail guitar) had a veneer top over plane maple instead of solid figured, but that's a japanese thing - you have to go way up the ladder to get a solid figured top.

They're good. the LS 160 had neck stability issues and the ES-170 had the bridge installed off center.

Based on that, I find that they suffer about the same ills as gibsons do, but their hibiki shop seems to make good guitars.

Hard to say which is better, them or Gibson. Buying direct from japan here in the states for tokai is essential, though. Gibson still uses maple and honduran mahogany. Tokai has moved away from honduran on most of their guitars.

I'm building guitars as a hobby now, so I have probably straightened out a lot of things that I thought about guitars when I just bought guitars and played them. Gibson has come down in price about 30% in the last three years, and if they keep running themselves into the ground, may get to the point where they're offering a decent guitar for the price. Tokai's production stuff, too me, is OK - but not better than gibson. Meaning, to get a figured top and honduran mahogany les paul with good components here in the states used, it's about $1,500 for a gibson now (unheard of 3 years ago) and to get something similar used from tokai in japan, the price is about the same.

I think general production in japan as far as guitars go, it's taken a step down in consistency and quality (due to price pressure) vs. where it would've been in the early 1980s - most likely due to shifting of production to korea and indonesia, or put as - when you do something and you're the king, you get good at it. When you just do a little of it, not so much.

More than you probably wanted to know!! Collings is the only company I've had many guitars from where they each seem to be perfect and they seem to stay that way (I got six of them used and then passed all but one back through the used market here).

The vintage yamaha les pauls are on par with the tokais of the day, and about 1/4th the cost, depending on type. I saw an agathis LS-80 from the late 70s on ebay earlier today for $1995. That is otherworldy, as yamaha made the same range of guitar at least as well and they go used for about $225 in japan on a straight up auction (both would probably need a little bit of work).
 

D_W

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(Some people get into things.....when I get into them, I tend to get way into them.... Years ago, i stopped wasting time watching TV and thus have had the time to experiment with things like the above)

I did buy a lot from various commercial dealers before that when I was getting into the woodworking hobby, and there is one truth with japanese tools bought new. They will lose half of their value from new to used almost without question - there just isn't much demand for current make japanese tools used.
 

Lonsdale73

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D_W":76uhejim said:
thetyreman":76uhejim said:
D_W":76uhejim said:
I am a japanese natural stone hound and I like japanese guitars, so there are several draws for me to their auctions. A yamaha les paul copy in OK shape in japan may be $225 on a straight up auction, but may be $600-$800 in the US. the cost to ship something like that to the states is about $195. It varies from "thing to thing".
have you ever tried out a japanese made tokai? they're really good, I prefer them to real USA gibsons quite often they sound better, the best flying V I've ever heard was a tokai.
I tried 5 in the last two years:
HLS160
LS160
ES-170
HLS240
SBG185

The last two were great, though it was a little bit offputting that the 240 (a $2400 suggested retail guitar) had a veneer top over plane maple instead of solid figured, but that's a japanese thing - you have to go way up the ladder to get a solid figured top.

They're good. the LS 160 had neck stability issues and the ES-170 had the bridge installed off center.

Based on that, I find that they suffer about the same ills as gibsons do, but their hibiki shop seems to make good guitars.

Hard to say which is better, them or Gibson. Buying direct from japan here in the states for tokai is essential, though. Gibson still uses maple and honduran mahogany. Tokai has moved away from honduran on most of their guitars.

I'm building guitars as a hobby now, so I have probably straightened out a lot of things that I thought about guitars when I just bought guitars and played them. Gibson has come down in price about 30% in the last three years, and if they keep running themselves into the ground, may get to the point where they're offering a decent guitar for the price. Tokai's production stuff, too me, is OK - but not better than gibson. Meaning, to get a figured top and honduran mahogany les paul with good components here in the states used, it's about $1,500 for a gibson now (unheard of 3 years ago) and to get something similar used from tokai in japan, the price is about the same.

I think general production in japan as far as guitars go, it's taken a step down in consistency and quality (due to price pressure) vs. where it would've been in the early 1980s - most likely due to shifting of production to korea and indonesia, or put as - when you do something and you're the king, you get good at it. When you just do a little of it, not so much.

More than you probably wanted to know!! Collings is the only company I've had many guitars from where they each seem to be perfect and they seem to stay that way (I got six of them used and then passed all but one back through the used market here).

The vintage yamaha les pauls are on par with the tokais of the day, and about 1/4th the cost, depending on type. I saw an agathis LS-80 from the late 70s on ebay earlier today for $1995. That is otherworldy, as yamaha made the same range of guitar at least as well and they go used for about $225 in japan on a straight up auction (both would probably need a little bit of work).
For a music lover I know nothing about guitars however I know the Tokai name because I remember them getting in some bother for an 80's ad campaign that appeared to show a woman pleasuring herself with one of their guitars and a strapline of "Tokai is coming."
 

thetyreman

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D_W":1idk96l6 said:
thetyreman":1idk96l6 said:
D_W":1idk96l6 said:
I am a japanese natural stone hound and I like japanese guitars, so there are several draws for me to their auctions. A yamaha les paul copy in OK shape in japan may be $225 on a straight up auction, but may be $600-$800 in the US. the cost to ship something like that to the states is about $195. It varies from "thing to thing".
have you ever tried out a japanese made tokai? they're really good, I prefer them to real USA gibsons quite often they sound better, the best flying V I've ever heard was a tokai.
I tried 5 in the last two years:
HLS160
LS160
ES-170
HLS240
SBG185

The last two were great, though it was a little bit offputting that the 240 (a $2400 suggested retail guitar) had a veneer top over plane maple instead of solid figured, but that's a japanese thing - you have to go way up the ladder to get a solid figured top.

They're good. the LS 160 had neck stability issues and the ES-170 had the bridge installed off center.

Based on that, I find that they suffer about the same ills as gibsons do, but their hibiki shop seems to make good guitars.

Hard to say which is better, them or Gibson. Buying direct from japan here in the states for tokai is essential, though. Gibson still uses maple and honduran mahogany. Tokai has moved away from honduran on most of their guitars.

I'm building guitars as a hobby now, so I have probably straightened out a lot of things that I thought about guitars when I just bought guitars and played them. Gibson has come down in price about 30% in the last three years, and if they keep running themselves into the ground, may get to the point where they're offering a decent guitar for the price. Tokai's production stuff, too me, is OK - but not better than gibson. Meaning, to get a figured top and honduran mahogany les paul with good components here in the states used, it's about $1,500 for a gibson now (unheard of 3 years ago) and to get something similar used from tokai in japan, the price is about the same.

I think general production in japan as far as guitars go, it's taken a step down in consistency and quality (due to price pressure) vs. where it would've been in the early 1980s - most likely due to shifting of production to korea and indonesia, or put as - when you do something and you're the king, you get good at it. When you just do a little of it, not so much.

More than you probably wanted to know!! Collings is the only company I've had many guitars from where they each seem to be perfect and they seem to stay that way (I got six of them used and then passed all but one back through the used market here).

The vintage yamaha les pauls are on par with the tokais of the day, and about 1/4th the cost, depending on type. I saw an agathis LS-80 from the late 70s on ebay earlier today for $1995. That is otherworldy, as yamaha made the same range of guitar at least as well and they go used for about $225 in japan on a straight up auction (both would probably need a little bit of work).
the tokai's I've tried were all 1980s models so probably when they were better made, I should have said that. I don't dislike all gibsons, the VOS 1950s are absolutely amazing but well outside of my price range, outside of having an actual late 50s LP that is.
 

bob543

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I bought a Tokai ALS200 VF in 1984 new , it wasnt all that cheap in the UK as i recall. very nice guitar ,wish i had kept it.
I bought a set of mini Daitei chisels a few years back that i use all the time great quality ,still sold on Dieter Schmidt`s German site and price seems to have at least doubled.
Rutlands cheapest japanese hammer is £30
 
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