Toolsday: Yotsume Kiri

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Hida Tool and Hardware in Berkeley, California. I had viewed their website online a few times, and since we were going to be in the area I definitely thought it was worth a special side trip. I didn't think I was ready to buy a Japanese plane or chisel yet, but one tool I really wanted to acquire was a Japanese gimlet (hand drill) called a giri or kiri. This one is yotsume kiri or "four-sided gimlet".


Yotsume Kiri Overview

To use this kiri, you hold it with the tip where you want a hole, and the body completely vertical. You put your hands together on either side of the handle, and move them bck and forth in opposition to rotate the handle. The tapered square tip pushes the wood fibers apart, and the corners of the square cut the fibers off until there is a tapered round hole. This hole is good for receiving tapered wooden pegs for fastening, which is why I got this kind. Here is a close-up of the tip.


Yotsume Kiri Tip

I also picked up a pair of thread scissors, a bottle of camelia oil for oiling tools, and a book by Toshio Odate about Japanese tools. It was totally worth the trip. I love the way this store is set up, and I thought that their prices were slightly better than elsewhere. Since they focus on workmans tools and not exquisite jewels, I think that when I am ready to spend more money I will buy my planes and chisels from Hida Tool.

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2012.01.17 at 12:00am EST