1. Memories of a day in Tokyo ₍˄·͈༝·͈˄₎◞ ̑̑

    I spent the day strolling through Asakusa on my way to the subway station :)
    By the way the subway driving from Asakusa to Ueno is the oldest subway line in Japan ;)
    I think strolling is the right term because neither did I take the direct or the shortest way and ended up circling around building before I arrived at the station :D

    Seeing all the little shrines along the streets gave me an odd homily feeling :)
    To be honest sometimes I feel like going out on a sightseeing tour all by yourself makes you more open to take in new influences and makes it easier to appreciate the surrounding environment.
    I think in some way the shrines made the places I visited feel more welcoming and less anonymous :)

    Harajuku is very interesting and seeing all those cosplayers and other people who like to dress up is great thing to see :D
    They enjoy posing for a photo as well but I really suck at taking portraits so I felt to ashamed to ask them to strike a pose for a photo (^-^;)

    So I headed for Meiji-Jingu and Nai-en garden (I’m not sure whether this is the right name of the garden (^_^:) 

    The way to the shrine feels like it is a long way from the busy streets of Tokyo :D
    The lamps that are on the sides of the path give it a great and dignified atmosphere while the huge Torii on the entrance to the shrine district make you feel like leaving a part of this world and leaving it for a calmer place :3

    If you visit the Nai-en (which I do recommend you to :) you will feel like you left Tokyo some days ago to relax in some rural area :3
    It is a wonderful place with thick trees that subdue the harsh sunlight and leave you in a relaxed and wonderful green forest in which you can wander around and forget about the outside world. It offers many scenic views and is one of my favourite places to forget about Tokyo being Tokyo :D

    There are even rice fields in the Nai-en :3

    The entrance to Meiji-Jingu is a great sight in itself and feels a lot like the entrance to Ise-Jingu :D
    It is less shiny than Toshu-gu in Nikko (the temple famous for the relief of the three monkeys and for being the grave of Tokugawa Ieyasu ;) but it is a very refined and dignified place that is a great sight to see :)

    I’m really looking forward to see this place again :3

    How I spent the time since my last article :D
    I wrote some exams and had some graded interviews about the experiments my team did in the lab :)
    My last exam was on tuesday but I have no results yet :D
    I spent the time since tuesday looking for some wood to build spare parts for the house of my parents, disassembling the broken router (maybe I can repair it :), painting my battery compartment (I couldn’t finish the paint job yet because I got interrupted on several occasions :D and building some Japanese saw horses :)

    I feel very relieved that the semester is over :D

    I wish all of you a great weekend (^-^)/

  2. My penholder :)
    I made it during my apprenticeship and kept it (^-^)

    It was a great exercise as the instructor told us to weld 2 pieces together to form the letter L then after finishing this task he told us to make a quadratic tube then he gave us the bottom and told us to finish our penholder and to take it home :D

    The welds are not as good as those of a welder but I like them :D
    Especially the one that looks like a wave (2nd photo from the bottom :) :3

    The material it is made from is 2 mm St33 steel plate :)
    I left the surface untreated because I liked to see the welds and the colour of the steel and how it changed over the years.

    The rubber feet are a good example for the German proverb “Nichts hält so lange wie ein Provisorium” (Nothing lasts as long as a temporary solution) :D
    I made these in a rush but since I seldom look at its bottom I forget about it soon after I think about making new ones (^-^;)

    I kept the sign from the time I woke up and had 100 followers :D
    It was weird I had about 20 followers for some month and suddenly over a weekend their numbers exploded .*°\(^-^)/°*.

    I really enjoy writing this blog even though I feel like I’m a little sloppy because most of the time I don’t proof read my articles (^-^;)

    Things that happened and upcoming events :)
    Most of my projects are on halt now because I need to focus on my exams and lab reports but vacations are near so I will be more active in about 2 weeks.

    My router gave up today (; _ ;)
    Also it scared me really good because the metal casting that formed a part of the housing broke, got caught by the spindle of the router and sent shards of the router bit and the housing flying through the workshop (>_<;)
    Fortunately I wore an apron and safety glasses  so I only got a few scratches :)
    The router was a cheap “plunge” router that could only be used as a fixed base router :D
    The router bit was a really good one though (>_<;)
    I think that a router is a great tool for repetitive tasks :)
    Most things I do are one off jobs though so I use hand tools most of the time (^-^)

    Anyway I wish all of you a great new week and sturdy routers (^-^)/

  3. These are some photos from my journey to the top of Fuji-san (^-^)

    I took the bus to the 5th station from Fujiyoshida train station which costs less than taking the bus from Kawaguchiko station ;)
    The downside is that you miss seeing Kawaguchiko train station which is a really nice place :D

    I was so lucky that day because the weather was clear and you could even see Fuji-san from a distance :3
    This might sound weird but Fuji-san is a very shy mountain and during summer you will rarely see it even though it really stands out amongst the other mountains surrounding it :D

    Climbing it was really fun because of the great weather :)
    I tried it before and had bad luck with heavy rain and broken rain clothes :D

    Anyway that day it went really well and I was so excited when I reached the top x3
    It was hard to find a good spot to see Goraiko (the rising sun) though because it was quite crowded up there :D
    The temperature difference between the top and the bottom of the mountain is also something that is often underestimated by foreign tourists :D
    Fortunately I was well prepared though :)

    The best part of it was seeing Goraiko though (^-^)
    It is hard to describe how great it looks and how touching it is to see the sun emerge behind the horizon. To see how the clouds in the valleys flow through the forests and how the flow over the mountains.
    I was really touched that day and I have to admit that I even cried a little :,)

    The photos I took can not really show what it looks and feels like to stand up there but I hope it makes people dream a little bit :)

    Here is a short list of things you should take on a hike on Fuji-san:
    -hiking boots
    -an extra pair of hiking socks
    -enough fluid to drink (I took 2 liters of water and 2 liters of CC lemon with me :)
    -a hiking stick (those wooden hiking sticks sold at the bottom of Fuji-san make for great souvenirs and if you want to you can get it marked at each station making it a really unique and awesome souvenir nobody else has :)
    -a first aid it
    -something to tie your trousers over your shoes so that rocks cannot get into them (trust me thats the last thing you want to happen ;)
    -really warm clothes (it is going to be very cold once you are up on the summit and waiting for the sun to rise :)
    -some energy bars
    -a light source
    -warm gloves
    -a pair of rugged gardening gloves (to scale rocks and to prevent cuts :)
    -sun-blocker (I got a really big sunburn through my pullover (^-^;) but I had sun-blocker on my face so it was fine :D
    -a smile :)

    I know this might sound a little educational but Fuji-san is a mountain and it deserves respect so show it by preparing yourself and by being nice to the people around you (^-^)

    P.S. I’m right at the end of the semester :3
    I’m currently very busy writing lab reports and learning for exams so I might only make one post per week (^-^;)

    I wish all of you a great new week and fun (^-^)/

  4. Finally came around to setting my Awase-do Toishi (honing or polishing stone) (^-^)

    This is one of my favourite stones :3
    It is a Sho-Honyama from Tanba region in Japan :)
    My other favourite stones are another Sho-Honyama that is larger and  softer and a Belgian stone :)
    The Belgian stone is easily the most beautiful :D

    Usually I just put the stone on the surface I was sharpening on but it could come lose and start to wobble around so it has been my desire to set it into some kind of stand for some time :D

    I used pine wood which smells wonderful x3

    I needed to kill time that day as I was waiting for someone to send me some files for a lab report so I worked away with my chisels :D

    I did almost everything with chisels (only the top and the bottom were trued up with a handplane) because the person who was supposed to send me the files that I needed to work with forgot about it (O_o)

    The stones I used to prop up the Toishi are Nagura stones to condition the surface of the Toishi :)

    You do not really need them as you can use a sharpening stone to condition the surface but since these are more aggressive and tend to leave rough grit on the finishing stone which will affect the finish.

    If you use Nagura you can create a polishing paste and since the Nagura is softer than the Toishi grit it won’t affect the finish and you will even get a finer finish :3
    Nagura for manmade stones work differently from Nagura for natural stones.

    I wish all of you a great weekend and success for whatever you are doing

    (^-^)/

  5. A quick follow up for the the saw handle post :D
I realized that I described how to make the handle but not how I made the wrapping (^-^;)
I used a method that I learned during my time as a scout :)I believe the same method is mentioned in Toshio Odates book about Japanese tools :D
Again the measurements are in millimeters. You need to make a grove that runs from the point where wrapping should begin to the point that it should end and that is about the thickness of thewrapping material you want to use. The last 30&#160;mm or so should be double the width of the wrapping material. The part of the groove that is wider should face the rear end of the saw (the part that is pointing away from the saw blade).
You begin wrapping on the end of the handle that will face the saw blade.Wrapping it might take a while since you need to put a continuous amount of tension on the wrapping material and because you should take the time to lay each line of string as close to the previous as possible (otherwise the string will slip and you will need to do it again).Doing this might make your fingers hurt after a while :)
When you reach the part where the groove gets wider you can make a loop of string that you lay into the wider groove and leave a piece of the end of the loop dangling between the previous line of string and the next one.Then you can continue to wrap the rest of the handle as you did before and when you reach the end of the handle you can put the end of the wrapping string through the loop and when you pull on the string that is now sticking out of the wrapping of the handle (the end of the loop that you put between the lines of wrapping material ;) it will draw in the string and pull it out in the place that the end of the string was in.This will hold the string tightly to the handle but you will still need to treat it with some kind of lacquer like shellac or Kakishibu to prevent it from slipping.
The groove is necessary because otherwise the string will cause the wrapping to bulge which might hurt your hands if you use the handle a lot or will cause the wrapping to slipp when you pull the loop.
Some other informations about the handle I made :)I used a Hira Kanna (hand plane), a carving knife and a saw to make the main part of the handle.
I finished the handle before I put it on the saw in order to prevent any form of accident that could have damaged the saw blade (^-^)
I kind of enjoyed making these sketches :DUsually I make technical drawings with the equipment I used for these (^-^)
Also sorry for my handwriting (^-^;)

    A quick follow up for the the saw handle post :D

    I realized that I described how to make the handle but not how I made the wrapping (^-^;)

    I used a method that I learned during my time as a scout :)
    I believe the same method is mentioned in Toshio Odates book about Japanese tools :D

    Again the measurements are in millimeters. 
    You need to make a grove that runs from the point where wrapping should begin to the point that it should end and that is about the thickness of the
    wrapping material you want to use. The last 30 mm or so should be double the width of the wrapping material. The part of the groove that is wider should face the rear end of the saw (the part that is pointing away from the saw blade).

    You begin wrapping on the end of the handle that will face the saw blade.
    Wrapping it might take a while since you need to put a continuous amount of tension on the wrapping material and because you should take the time to lay each line of string as close to the previous as possible (otherwise the string will slip and you will need to do it again).
    Doing this might make your fingers hurt after a while :)

    When you reach the part where the groove gets wider you can make a loop of string that you lay into the wider groove and leave a piece of the end of the loop dangling between the previous line of string and the next one.
    Then you can continue to wrap the rest of the handle as you did before and when you reach the end of the handle you can put the end of the wrapping string through the loop and when you pull on the string that is now sticking out of the wrapping of the handle (the end of the loop that you put between the lines of wrapping material ;) it will draw in the string and pull it out in the place that the end of the string was in.
    This will hold the string tightly to the handle but you will still need to treat it with some kind of lacquer like shellac or Kakishibu to prevent it from slipping.

    The groove is necessary because otherwise the string will cause the wrapping to bulge which might hurt your hands if you use the handle a lot or will cause the wrapping to slipp when you pull the loop.

    Some other informations about the handle I made :)
    I used a Hira Kanna (hand plane), a carving knife and a saw to make the main part of the handle.

    I finished the handle before I put it on the saw in order to prevent any form of accident that could have damaged the saw blade (^-^)

    I kind of enjoyed making these sketches :D
    Usually I make technical drawings with the equipment I used for these (^-^)

    Also sorry for my handwriting (^-^;)

  6. Someone asked me:
"Hello Chiisai! I have been looking everywhere for instructions on how straight tang Japanese saw handles are made. I just made myself a pseudo-Japanese pull saw from an old Western saw, but I need to make a handle and don&#8217;t know the best way to do it. Do you split the wood in half and cut a groove for the tang on one side, glue and then wrap? Or something else?"
It is really awesome that you made a saw yourself (^-^)b
I didn&#8217;t know how to answer this question so I made some sketches :D
I feel honoured that someone asked me a technical question about tools(^-^)
In the top left corner is a cross section of the handle. The measurements are in millimeters. You can see that the handle is not symmetrical and that the groove that receives the tang of the handle needs to be in the thicker part of the handle.
Since most saw plates of western saw are of a uniform thickness (except for really old ones) you might want to consider to reinforce the tang section as the hard steel might break close to the handle. Japanese saws actually have a piece of softer steel or iron forge welded to the hard steel plate that forms the saw blade itself so you can make adjustments to get the saw blade in line with the handle.
I recommend that you make the handle from a soft wood such as cedar, pine or Hinoki because hardwood is likely to split when you tap in the tang of the saw blade,
On hand forged saws the tang is not of a uniform thickness and mine has a distinctly wavy pattern on it (which I hope you can see on the bottom of the image :) which will help it to stay in place once the handle is put on.Since softwood is easily compressed I made the indentation for the tang shallower than the tang itself so that the wood can &#8220;grab&#8221; it.To avoid splitting the handle I wrapped copper wire (about 0.5&#160;mm in diameter) around the opening.Most of my saws have rattan to prevent splitting but copper wire is also used and all I had was copper wire.String is not suitable for this purpose as it is too stretchy and will allow the wood to move to much wich will result in a split handle.
If you chose to wrap the handle with cotton string you need to put on a coat of shellac or Kakishibu or maybe some other kind of synthetic lacquer that will prevent the string from moving on your handle :)
I&#8217;m sorry but I&#8217;m really bad at keeping things like this short (^-^;)
I hope this will help everyone who does want to make an own saw handle or even a saw (^-^)

    Someone asked me:

    "Hello Chiisai! I have been looking everywhere for instructions on how straight tang Japanese saw handles are made. I just made myself a pseudo-Japanese pull saw from an old Western saw, but I need to make a handle and don’t know the best way to do it. Do you split the wood in half and cut a groove for the tang on one side, glue and then wrap? Or something else?"

    It is really awesome that you made a saw yourself (^-^)b

    I didn’t know how to answer this question so I made some sketches :D

    I feel honoured that someone asked me a technical question about tools
    (^-^)

    In the top left corner is a cross section of the handle. The measurements are in millimeters. You can see that the handle is not symmetrical and that the groove that receives the tang of the handle needs to be in the thicker part of the handle.

    Since most saw plates of western saw are of a uniform thickness (except for really old ones) you might want to consider to reinforce the tang section as the hard steel might break close to the handle. Japanese saws actually have a piece of softer steel or iron forge welded to the hard steel plate that forms the saw blade itself so you can make adjustments to get the saw blade in line with the handle.

    I recommend that you make the handle from a soft wood such as cedar, pine or Hinoki because hardwood is likely to split when you tap in the tang of the saw blade,

    On hand forged saws the tang is not of a uniform thickness and mine has a distinctly wavy pattern on it (which I hope you can see on the bottom of the image :) which will help it to stay in place once the handle is put on.
    Since softwood is easily compressed I made the indentation for the tang shallower than the tang itself so that the wood can “grab” it.
    To avoid splitting the handle I wrapped copper wire (about 0.5 mm in diameter) around the opening.
    Most of my saws have rattan to prevent splitting but copper wire is also used and all I had was copper wire.
    String is not suitable for this purpose as it is too stretchy and will allow the wood to move to much wich will result in a split handle.

    If you chose to wrap the handle with cotton string you need to put on a coat of shellac or Kakishibu or maybe some other kind of synthetic lacquer that will prevent the string from moving on your handle :)

    I’m sorry but I’m really bad at keeping things like this short (^-^;)

    I hope this will help everyone who does want to make an own saw handle or even a saw (^-^)

  7. Miscellaneous photos from my trip to Enoshima :3

    I really really like Enoshima x3

    I mean there is a cave, delicious food, a superb view, diverse wildlife, a huge amount of cats (they are everywhere (O_o)), a wonderful landscape, buildings that fit the landscape very well and shade that makes it a great place to go in the summer :D

    I petted a cat that looked sad when I left.
    I wish I could have taken it with me (; _ ;)

    The weather was really great that day even though it rained in Tokyo :D
    You can see the darkish clouds on the horizon are the clouds that were over Tokyo that day :) I guess the winds on the coast drove away the clouds.

    There were many Japanese tourists on Enoshima but I didn’t see too many foreign tourists that day (which might have been because I went there in 2011). There were fewer tourists everywhere in 2011 (>_<;)
    It was a great experience though and the kindness of the Japanese seemed to be even more honest and heartfelt.

    I think the most enjoyable way to get there is by the Enoden train line which is kind of slow but if you can spare the time you will be rewarded with the joy of using and old charming train and the nice view you will get to see :)

    I like the Citroen 2CV cars :3
    Basically I just included this photo because someone I know likes this car even more than I do :)

    Someone made cute outfits for the birds on the rails on the train station :D

    I hope I can go there again next year (^-^)

    P.S. The exams are close at hand so I will probably make fewer posts…
    Sorry about that (; _ ;)

    I wish all of you a great new week (^-^)/

  8. I restored this old hand drill today :)

    I needed to take it apart because the grease was so hard that it no longer served as a lubricant.

    Also many parts were badly rusted and the soldered contacts were broken.

    Taking it apart was pretty straight forward but the grease was hard to deal with (>_<;) 
    I used a combination of heat, wire brushes and WD40 to remove the hardened grease. Heating it was not that nice though because it smelled awful ( ° ロ °)ノ

    I think removing the grease took more time than all the other steps combined :D
    The old power cord just crumbled and made a mess so I need to look for a new one (I think I still have a suitable wire laying around :)

    I got this hand drill as a gift :)

    The fact that they have gone through the trouble of fixing a damaged casting by applying and evening out lead and the really old design of the switch (the contacts are not plated with anything so corrosion is a problem…) and the way  the heads of the screws look this thing must be really old :D
    I have no idea how old it is exactly but judging by the way it is made I guess it is from the 1930s :)
    If one of you knows more about it feel free to write me (^^)

    The gears looked really nice :3
    They have really small teeth and the motor runs at about 6000rpm and is geared down to 2500 rpm on the chuck :)

    I need to get or build a power supply for it as it is running on 42 V at a frequency of 50 Hz :D
    I cannot afford to buy the components right now so this might take a while since transformers are expensive (^-^;)
    I would feel quite uncomfortable plugging this thing into a 220 V (or even a 110 V) wall socket (°_°;)
    Aside from the original connector consisting of two separate plugs, the whole wiring on the inside is so close to the housing and so many parts actually touch the housing that it seems to be very far from being safe :D
    Running it on a transformer will make it a lot safer because of the galvanic isolation :)

    I have no idea what I will use it for but I think it will work well as a drill for small drill bits and for starting precision holes :)

    The thing I used to prop up the hand drill is actually something I made during my apprenticeship :)
    It was basically like an exam where I had to prove that I could use files and that I could use different ways to join pieces together (^-^)
    So this was made by hand using files, a hacksaw and a drill press :)

  9. Some more photos from Belgium :)

    In case you are wondering where I stood when I took the photos. I climbed the church (^-^;)

    The church in this village is a really nice building and I have great respect for the people who keep it in shape and built it :)
    It is quite surprising to see such a well built and kept church in such a remote village.

    The other photo is the view from the kitchen of the house I stayed at :)
    It had a really nice garden with hydrangea and roses and lavender in it :3

    Last year I hoped to go there but I couldn’t afford it :D
    Anyway I want to go there again at some point :)

    I wish I had a camera when I visited Brugge :3
    I would probably drown you in photos of Brugge then :D
    There are so many nice places in Belgium that I would like to take some photos of :3

    I had some troubles with the paint for my battery compartment (~_~)
    It looked really nice but when I applied the second coat it started to peel off in some places.
    So I need to remove the paint and to do it again :D
    I fell sick and couldn’t do it yet (^-^;)

    1. fluidityfossilized said: I think they make these things difficult to disassemble so you either go buy a new one or take it back to them for service…

    I know what you mean and I have to deal with this kind of product from time to time. I enjoy facing this challenge and sometimes I need to remodel something in order to replace parts that needed to be removed in order to repair something else :)

    As an engineer it is really frustrating to find out that something is not meant to be repaired. Since many compact cameras are just cheap one way products I was really surprised about this one :)
    It is an old product though and much thicker than the new ones so I guess no one would buy it today for the money I spent back then.

    Generally speaking making something that you can repair later on is much more expensive than making a one way product is.
    I hope I can do something about it in the future :)

    Thank you very much for your reply (^-^)

    I wish you a great weekend (^-^)/