Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default DIY Japanese Joinery Website by Hisao Zen

    I came across this website.

    I came across Hisao Zen last year, as he was the instructor for a course in Japanese woodworking at RMIT in Melbourne. However they never seemed to get the course of the ground.

    So it looks like he has launched this website to disseminate his knowledge.

    I had a look at some of the free video, they look really good, with details you just do not get from Youtube.

    For a one year membership it would be almost $450 in Australia inc. GST.

    Has anyone signed up for full access? I have tried a free membership and am watching a bunch of them. Well worth it so far. Some stuff is very basic but he seems to be building deeper knowledge.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006


    DISCLAIMER: I have no relationship to or interest in promoting DIY Japanese Joinery.

    Having had a chance to watch the videos available for the free membership and I can say that DIY Japanese Joinery is the best resource on Japanese Woodworking you will find online PERIOD.

    I have decided to sign up for a paid membership.

    It is the details that make these video worth it. Stuff that simple never gets covered on Youtube or in books. He spends like 10 minutes showing how to hold a Dai so you can adjust the blade. It sounds stupid but so worth it. It has made my own Dai setup so much easier. Or that that a gooseneck joint has hidden shallow angles in it, something you would never figure out looking at an illustration or photo. OR when pairing the long grain face of a mortise he shows you on what end you need to start pairing and why?

    This is as close most of us will get to undertaking an apprenticeship in Japan.

    The video production quality is good, however it is a shame that his workshop is a steel shed in the bush but then he is not a hipster, he is only interested in conveying knowledge.

    My only criticisms is that the videos are paced a little slow but I think that he is aiming for clarity especially since English is not has native language (Still his English is very good). And if you are not a total novice woodworker he covers stuff that may seem obvious. But again he is aiming to avoid confusion. He assumes you know nothing about woodworking Western or otherwise. Lastly the name DIY Japanese Joinery, I dislike the DIY part. So my criticism have more to do with my snobbery and were I am on my woodworking journey.

    So if you are serious about Japanese woodworking and advance woodworking in general then DIY Japanese Joinery is well worth the joining fee.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Hunter Valley


    Thank you for the post, Thumbsucker.

    I have actually got this channel in my YouTube subscription list, and have had for some time - that said, I have paid it no attention in the last 12 months or so.

    Japanese techniques and tools pique my curiosity, but I seem to recall seeing a video some time ago, and I think it was this channel, and the message I got was "Subscribe or miss the good stuff".

    I'd saved the channel aside in case one day, I got the itch to delve more deeply into Japanese techniques and tools.

    Sometimes I find YouTubers who profess to know much, then offering Patreon or Subscriber situations, and when you compare their content and techniques to known "good sources" (e.g. Paul Sellers etc), they come up short.

    It's great to know there is worthwhile content, and that a subscription is also useful - thank you.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006


    I tend to think that most stuff on youtube is generally light weight content.

    You cannot explore anything in detail in 5 to 10 minutes.

    Nothing compares to face to face instructions with the ability to ask questions.

    And to have someone next to you giving corrections.

    Try out his free account option and try for yourself.

    When I get back to Melbourne I will try look him up. Maybe see if face to face lessons are available.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010


    I agree on the youtube content. serious content doesn't get many views, but it gets long-watching views. Youtube is no longer about that.

    We can learn more from serious craftsmen by listening to them talk and watching them work without a bunch of editing.

    I made perhaps the worst videos on youtube a few years ago to document making double iron western planes without all kinds of shortcuts. I think the video content was probably 7 or 9 hours long, and I didn't expect many people to watch it, but I've had a collective half million views across videos.

    I did not edit and I am not organized, but the videos are free and I have experience making planes and have standards while doing it - as opposed to someone seeing someone else's video, and then cleaning up their studio, doing something they don't know much about and then doing heavy editing and adding some promotion.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2016


    Producing thoughtful content that passes a clear message is highly challenging.

    Its like teaching, isnt it. The actual lesson is only 10% of the work!

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