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JOEL Joel's Blog

YouTube: Woodworking In Asia


In the old days if you wanted to learn anything you either took a class or read a book. Then of course came video, some good, some bad. But all these videos were by teachers, Again, some great, some not so great. However with the advent of YouTube everyone is a star. What this means is that if you want to learn about a technique or something, chances are someone, somewhere has put it up on YouTube. And, and this is what's so exciting, it's pretty inexpensive to do this and thousands of have posted their work. We now can see woodworking done by professionals from all walks of life, culture, and specialty. and even if they aren't teaching a lesson.

There is stuff to be learned.

I was working on material for my sharpening class that I am teaching this coming Saturday and I got to thinking about sharpening in the Japanese tradition and then I got distracted by woodworking in Asia in general and it was only much later I climbed out of the YouTube rabbit hole. It's interesting stuff. Now it's your turn (In no particular order. Hit F5 or refresh your browser if the videos are small or don't fit the entire screen on mobile):

Almost all woodworking in Asia, Japan and Korea included, have their roots in China. The Japanese woodworking tradition broke away from China pretty early on and has the most obvious differences from China. Korean woodworking is more recognizably Chinese.

This first video is from Korea. I have no idea what the narrator is saying which is a shame, although there is a little English towards the end. Included are at least three techniques I have never seen demonstrated before, and a bunch of new to me tools.

Traditional Chinese Carpentry. This is one of a series and it's really well done. I do wish I knew Chinese. There is a mastery of craft here where order is made out of chaos and tons of stuff I have never seen before.

Korean Joinery with a Table Saw. I found this video sort of tedious but payoff is a joint you never see in Western furniture.

I added this last one from Japan because it was the first video I clicked but more importantly it shows what happens when modern craftsman, using a mix of traditional and modern methods - build a staircase. It's not 100% traditional, but it's not modern construction either.

Join the conversation
05/18/2016 Rick
I really enjoyed these videos. That Korean joint was especially fun to watch. I do appreciate you taking the time to open our minds to other types of wood working. Thank you Rick
05/18/2016 Ken Kennedy
Outstanding Joel.Thanks
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