Make a Japanese Toolbox

  • Tuesday, February 25, 2020
  • Thursday, March 05, 2020
  • 4 sessions
  • Tuesday, February 25, 2020, 10:00 AM 1:00 PM (PST)
  • Thursday, February 27, 2020, 10:00 AM 1:00 PM (PST)
  • Tuesday, March 03, 2020, 10:00 AM 1:00 PM (PST)
  • Thursday, March 05, 2020, 10:00 AM 1:00 PM (PST)
  • BARN Woodshop, Class Code: WO022520
  • 3


  • $338 + $40 materials fee
  • $260 + $40 materials fee

Registration is closed
Make a Japanese toolbox in this beginning Japanese woodworking class. As you make your box, you will learn some of the  basics of Japanese tools and ways of working wood, which are very different from those that evolved in the West.

The toolbox  is designed to safely store and transport hand planes, hammers and chisels. But you can use yours for any number of purposes. The box will be approximately 2 feet long, 1 foot wide and 6 inches tall. It will have a sliding lid that locks into place without hardware. There is no complicated joinery in this project. You'll use copper nails — but with a clever twist developed by Japanese carpenters that keeps them from popping out.

In this 4-session class you will learn:
  • how to sharpen the chisels and plane blades, by hand on water stones.
  • how to dress the wooden plane bodies with a scraper plane and set the blades with an octagon hammer.
  • how to flatten and square the wood with a hand plane.
  • how to lay out the pieces and cut them accurately to size, using Japanese squares and saws.


  • This class is open to beginners 14+ years old, but it is also designed for seasoned woodworkers who want to explore these tools and methods.
  • BARN will supply the wood and all of the necessary tools, but you are also welcome to bring and use your own tools.
  • Depending on your pace, you may need to work on your box during Open Studio time in order to complete it by the end of the class. To participate in these sessions, you must first take our free, one-hour Orientation to the Woodshop class. See dates on the calendar. (Use of the shop during these times is always free for members. Non-members can also use the shop without an additional charge for the duration of this class.)
  • Wear close-toe shoes.

Instructor: Gary Bella  grew up in western Pennsylvania. After college and art school, he moved to the Bay Area in California and began working in Marin County with several firms in residential construction. Later, he specialized in finish carpentry while developing a design/build business. He took classes with traditional Japanese teahouse carpenter Makoto Imai and later worked primarily with Makoto building traditional houses and tea houses in California, New York and Washington. After he moved to Bainbridge in 2003, he continued to build Japanese-inspired projects for private clients. He was among the craftsmen who restored the Japanese guest house at the Bloedel Reserve.

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