Forest Products Without Logging?

An environmentalist blog called “Earthbuddies” has been getting some attention for posting an article on the Japanese practice of daisugi, a method of cultivating cedar (“sugi“) trees to produce straight knot-free lumber that can be harvested without cutting down the tree.

The main trunk of the tree is pruned to create a platform (“dai“) that sends large shoots straight up into the air. These shoots can be harvested and turned into lumber, while leaving the platform tree to develop more shoots!

Read more about it in “Daisugi, The Ancient Bonsai Technique That Can Prevent Deforestation“.

(Featured image: Ryoan-ji 03.jpg by
Bernard Gagnon used under Creative Commons License)


This guild and its blog account have been pretty idle for the last six months, and I regret that. There have been obvious obstacles to guild activity, and the reason I have not posted much here is because I don’t want the blog to be about me and my work. There are other blogs and woodworkers to post about, though.

One of those woodworkers was Chris Hall. Chris passed away this Spring following a battle with cancer, but his spouse has been trying to keep his blog alive as a part of his legacy. This week she posted a guest post from one of Chris’s good friends and erstwhile students. This is the first part of a longer story by a woodworker in Spain who has dedicated himself to Japanese woodworking.

In particular, his interest in Japanese planes and planemakers is great to read about, and his outlook on woodworking gives me something to consider in my own work. I hope you enjoy reading along when future installments are posted.

Woodworking February 16th

The woodworking guild will have a shop day on Sunday, February 16th from 10am to 2pm at Ishiyama’s house. Our spring project this year is improving everybody’s Pennsic through the glory of seating. We will be researching and recreating period seating furniture that is appropriate for our personas.

Woodworking January 19th

The next Woodworking Guild shop day will be on Sunday, January 19th, from 10am to 2pm. This is the day after Baronial 12th Night. The shop day will be held at Ishiyama’s home (1105 Shady Avenue, 15232).

The current plan is to spend multiple shop days this spring working on projects that take longer than 4 hours. You can work on whatever you want, but the main purpose is for us to work together making things to sit upon. Chairs! Stools! Benches! Sturdy boxes! We’ll all help out with research, planning, shopping for wood, and technically tricky bits. For this first workshop, you don’t need to bring anything other than your dreams of a persona-appropriate period-looking thing.

The hope is that we can all get something done by Pennsic, and then we can all sit at the Barony meeting on something other than a folding chair, looking awesome.

Woodworking Planning Meeting This Thursday

The last Woodworking Guild planning meeting of 2019 is scheduled for Thursday, December 19th at 7pm in the Boulevard of the Allies Panera location. These meetings haven’t been as popular as the workshop days, so they may be discontinued next year. Please attend and help us make plans for workshops and activities for the first part of 2020.

Woodworking Shop Day, this Sunday (12/08)

Get some work done on those nearly-last-minute projects for the holidays, make some holiday decorations for your home, or help make some items for largess at this month’s Woodworking guild Workshop day at Ishiyama’s shop (1105 Shady Avenue, Pgh. 32) from 10am to ~2pm. This is the last workshop day for the year, and the weather is supposed to be warm-ish so take advantage.

The next planning meeting is scheduled for Thursday, December 19th at 7pm in the Boulevard of the Allies Panera location. these meetings haven’t been as popular as the workshop days, so they may be discontinued next year.

Woodworking Guild Planning Tonight

The Woodworking Guild will be meeting as scheduled at the Panera in Oakland (3401 Boulevard of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15213) at 7pm to discuss our plans for the next workshop day (scheduled for December 8th), the results of recent joinery and sharpening workshops, and plans for the future.

Please join us!

Woodworking in November

Last month, we discussed tools and woodworking at our Thursday meeting. Then, at our shop day, we practiced cutting dovetail joints by hand.

Our next shop day is Sunday, November 17th, from 10am to 2pm in Ishiyama’s shop. This shop day will be our long-awaited sharpening workshop. Learn to sharpen your chisels and knives by hand with a stone for better results on whatever materials you work. We’ll discuss jigs, papers, grinders, polishers, and strops; and do some “before and after” tests.

Our next planning meeting is on Thursday, November 21st, from 7pm to 9pm at the Oakland Panera. We’ll make some plans for our December shop day, as well as discuss what tools are on our “want” lists for the holidays. Coal is just a one element away from being high carbon steel!

WWG Shop Day – Build a Box

For the Woodworking Guild’s September Shop Day, we decided to do a make-and-take workshop. We’ll be making small handy boxes from boards.

A “six board” box of the type we will be making.

These boxes have rabbetted corners, and rabbetted lids. Learning what that means is part of the project! All cutting can be done on a table saw, and all the pieces can be cut from a 6-foot board. This project builds table saw skills and woodworking confidence. At the end of the day, you can take yours home with you to finish, decorate, or use as-is.

The shop day will be Sunday, September 15th from 10am to 2pm at Ishiyama’s shop (1105 Shady Avenue).

Please bring a 1x8x72″ (one by eight by six foot) pine “common board” with you. You don’t need to get “premium” or “select” board unless you want to spend more. You can get an 8-foot (96 inch) board if you want to try to avoid knots. If you can’t get to the hardware store to buy your own board, let me (woodworking at debatablelands dot org) know ahead of time and I can pick one up for you.

New Target Stands

Last Sunday (08.25) and the Sunday before that (08.18), the woodworking guild responded to a call for assistance from the archers of the Barony. Master Alaric provided the lumber, hardware, and instructions, and the woodworking guild provided the labor to build three new target stands for the Barony.

These are of the same design that the Debatable Lands has been using for many years, but without the dings and arrowheads some of the older ones contain. Captain of Archers Kathryn Tantzel says that with these extra stands, archery practice can now set up both the adult range and the youth range at the same time!

Many thanks to Master Alaric for providing the materials and plans. Thanks to Elss, Pavel, Tofi, and Dave for participating in the construction.