The Unknown Craftsman: A Japanese Insight into Beauty

I recently finished reading The Unknown Craftsman: A Japanese Insight into Beauty by Sõetsu Yanagi and adapted by Bernard Leach. It explores the circumstances under which beautiful objects are created, and how industrialization has influenced handmade craft.

I began taking down quotations that were interesting and worthy of sharing, but soon found myself jotting down entire paragraphs. So, rather than rewrite the book, I will merely point you towards the chapters which I found most interesting.

  • The Beauty of Irregularity (page 117);
  • The Buddhist Idea of Beauty (page 127);
  • Hakeme (page 171);
  • The Way of Craftsmanship (page 197); and
  • The Responsibility of the Craftsman (page 216).

This book has been added to my list of Recommended Readings.

Book Review – Quality is Contagious: John Economaki & Bridge City Tool Works, 36 Years Through the Lens of Joe Felzman

Last month, I took the train down to Portland, Oregon to be in attendance of the opening of Quality is Contagious: John Economaki and Bridge City Tool Works, an exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Craft.  I bought the book which accompanied the exhibit and finished reading it last night.

Quality is Contagious Front Cover

Photo from BridgeCityTools.com

My Review in One Sentence

The book was exactly as I would want my own: hardcover; large, colour photographs; insightful and interesting anecdotes; thought-provoking quotes; and above all, a thoroughly enjoyable and inspiring read.

I have read some books that took a long time to read because getting through it felt like a chore.  This book took a long time because, every half-dozen pages, I either read something profound or saw something that got me thinking and I would sit there, just gazing into space, reflecting. This is an outstanding book and I highly recommend reading it.

Sentimental Value

Being at the book party and getting signatures from the book’s contributors and Bridge City Tool Works staff (including an encouraging message from John) makes it even more special.

Signatures and Notes I also asked other attendees (family, friends and customers of John) to sign the book’s cardboard case.  This book is one of my most cherished possessions.

Book Case Links:

Review of the Mirka CEROS

Background

I have had the 6″ Mirka CEROS (Compact Electric Random Orbit Sander) for about a year.  Although I have not used it in a production shop environment, I used it extensively for sanding sculptural work and, to a lesser degree, for flat surfaces.  I have had absolutely no issues with it.

When I purchased the Mirka CEROS, it was only available as a 5″ or 6″ sander with a 5 mm orbit.  The 5 mm orbit is for general work.  Since then, Mirka has released two more 6″ CEROS models – one with a 2.5 mm stroke for finish sanding and one with an 8 mm stroke for more aggressive sanding.  I do not believe these are currently available in North America.

Mirka CEROS in Systainer

Details

The sanding action is very smooth and the DC motor is powerful and reasonably quiet (68 dB, which is similar to a piano practice).  It is lightweight and well-balanced, making it comfortable to use with either one hand or two.  The power cord is quite flexible and permanently attached to the sander.  Mirka sells a hose for the sanders, which is more flexible and lighter (for improved ergonomics) than the Festool Anti-Static D27 hose.  The Mirka CEROS has a round dust port with female threads to accept a 1-1/4″ diameter threaded hose.

Although the Mirka sanders closely resemble pneumatic ones, they are powered by a maintenance-free, brushless DC motor and do not require a large air compressor.  The sanders have a 14′-long power cord that plugs into one end of a 8-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ x 3-1/4″ transformer.  A 6′-long power cord runs from the other end of the transformer into a standard AC outlet.

Mirka CEROS Package

Sizes

The Mirka CEROS is available with either a 125mm (5″) or 150mm (6″) diameter pad.  The smaller sander weighs 870 grams (1.9 pounds) and the larger weighs 920 grams (2 pounds).  I think the 6″ version is more practical not only because it can sand a larger area more quickly, but because the larger pad has a greater distance between the edge of the pad and its body which is useful when working in tight quarters.

5″ and 6″ Mirka CEROSs

Speed Control

The speed of the sanding pad can be adjusted from 4,000-10,000 RPM in 1,000 RPM increments using the buttons on the top-rear of the sander.  Between the speed control buttons is a power button for safety to prevent the sander from starting accidentally.  The paddle switch on top is pressed and held down to operate the tool.  By feathering the paddle, you can control the speed as well but it is very sensitive and not a very reliable way to run the sander at a lower speed.  Instead, it functions as a soft-start feature, of sorts.

Mirka CEROS, Top View

Critique

One addition that I would like to see is a pad brake.  After releasing the paddle switch with the pad turning at 10,000 RPM, the pad continues to spin for about 19 seconds.

Video Review

This first video explains and demonstrates some of the features of the Mirka CEROS.  (Duration: 10:19.)

(Note:  Since recording this video, a reader has pointed out that the CEROS set to run at the lowest speed will indeed draw enough current when under moderate load to run a Festool Dust Extractor set to auto-start.)

In these two posts, you can read more about how I:

  1. combined the Mirka CEROS’s transformer with my Festool CT26 Dust Extractor; and
  2. modified the Festool D27 hose’s tool end to fit the Mirka CEROS’s dust collection port.

Video Demonstration

This second video is a demonstration of the Mirka CEROS.  In the first part, I sand the flat top of a bench with 80, 120, 180, 220, and 320-grit Abranet discs.  In the latter part of the video, I demonstrate how I sand contoured parts with and without the foam interface pad.  (Duration: 13:43.)

Summary

Consider this sander because it:

  1. is powerful and easy to control;
  2. runs quietly and smoothly;
  3. feels good because it is compact and well-balanced;
  4. requires very little maintenance because it has few wearing components; and
  5. does not require a large air compressor to run (as a pneumatic sander does).

Warranty

The Mirka CEROS comes with a 3-year warranty.  You can download the warranty information as well as manual from the Mirka CEROS website.

Accessories

Also, check out the Abranet abrasive discs made by Mirka.  The discs last a long time and don’t require alignment of any dust collection holes.  I would recommend getting the 80-, 120-, and 180-grit sanding discs as well as a Pad Saver (I called it a platen protector in the video).  If you work with non-flat surface, I would also recommend looking at the 10 mm (3/8″) Multi Interface Pads

Suppliers

(I do not receive any compensation for what I write and the list of suppliers is by no means an exhaustive one; I’ve simply listed some to get you started.)

Mirka Part Numbers

*Some dealers sell these parts individually.
**8295610111     150 mm (6″) 67-Hole Pad Savers, Pkg of 5 work with the 150 mm CEROS as well.

Upcoming Review: Mirka CEROS

When the Mirka CEROS (Compact Electric Random Orbit Sander) was released in North America about a year ago, I purchased the 6″ model.

I plan to do a review of the sander, which I use with Mirka’s Abranet discs and a Festool dust extractor.

If you have any questions about the sander which you would like me to address, please ask them in the comments section.

Here are two other posts pertaining to the Mirka CEROS:
1.  Combining a Mirka CEROS with a Festool CT26; and
2.  Hand-Carving Threads (to Connect a Mirka CEROS to a Festool 27mm Hose).

WoodRiver #5 V3 Bench Plane Review – In Use

My LAST POST showed what the hand plane looked like out of the box.  This post shows what the plane was able to do.

While setting up the plane, I took note of the slop in the lateral- and depth-adjusters.  The depth adjuster had 3/4 of a turn of slop and the lateral adjuster had a little side-to-side play.

Lateral Adjuster Play

I honed the bevel up to 15,000-grit on a Shapton stone.  This process took about two minutes.  I then reassembled the plane and surfaced a board of beech.  This was the reflection I saw when I looked down the board’s length.

Beech, After Handplaning with Honed Bevel

The plane made shavings like these.

Shavings

To further increase the performance of the plane, I then lapped the back of the blade.  It took 12 minutes to bring the blade to this degree of flatness.  At this stage, the blade was flat enough to be usable, but there was still a large hollow in the center.

Adeqately Flattened Back

Six more minutes of lapping erased the hollow and I was able to bring up the polish.

Completely Flattened Back

I then reinstalled the blade and surfaced the beech board once again.  The polish of the planed board after having lapped the back was noticeably better.

Beech, After Handplaning with Honed Bevel and Lapped Back

I took this shot for fun.

WoodRiver #5 V3 Handplane

Remember the grease I wiped off as soon as I got the plane?  Within a week of returning home to the Westcoast, I found that the sole already had rust spots.  I cleaned the rust off and applied a coat of Boeshield, something I should have done right away.

WoodRiver #5 V3 Bench Plane Review – Unpackaged

A couple months ago, while visiting some friends in Arizona, I went to a Woodcraft store and bought a WoodRiver #5 V3 bench plane.  While I don’t need any more bench planes, I was curious to see just how good the much-talked-about WoodRiver planes really were.  From what I have read, Version 3 (V3) is drastically better than the previous two versions.

The purpose of this article is to show what the V3 plane looked like out of the box.

After taking the plane out of the package, the first thing I did was disassemble the plane and wipe off the grease applied to keep the plane rust free.  I carefully inspected each part, made notes and took photos along the way.  In general, everything seemed well-machined.

I noticed that the burr from tapping the hole in the cap iron had not been removed.  I used a mill file to remove the burr.

Cap Iron

The cap iron, which appeared to be very similar to the Lie-Nielsen design, was ground to a fine edge.

Cap Iron Edge

The blade was also ground to a fine edge.  The machining marks were finer on the blade than on the cap iron and the blade was sharp, though not as sharp as I keep my blades.

Blade

The parts of the lateral- and depth-adjusters that engage with the cap iron and blade appeared to be well-made.

Top of Frog

I spotted a cosmetic defect, a scratch, on the right wing of the plane.  It did not concern me in the least.

Scratch on Side Wing

The body was machined very uniformly.  The text on the box was clearly reflected in the plane’s sole.

Sole

The frog rested on this ramp.  The small machined edges on either side of the bed were helpful in keeping the frog from twisting as it was adjusted and locked down.

Frog Bedding Surface

The bottom of the frog was finely ground.

Bottom of Frog

All the moving parts moved smoothly.

Back of Frog/Depth Adjuster

There were two of these “rivets” dropped through the slots in the frog and into the body of the plane.  In the rear of the ramp (on which the frog rests) was a pair of slot-head screws with pointed tips.  The points engaged with the conical recess in the rivets and as the screws were tightened, the rivets were pulled down to secure the frog.  The dimple on the top indicated the location of the conical recess so that it could be properly aligned once it was dropped in place.  (Side note:  When removing the pointed, slot-head screws for the first time, they backed off freely then bound up snug.  By applying a little extra torque – but by no means an excessive amount – I was able to remove the screws.  When I ran them in and out afterwards, there was no resistance.)

Frog Rivets

My biggest complaint about the plane was that the front of the mouth opening was a little uneven, making it difficult to set the mouth evenly.  A little work with a file solved that problem.

Mouth Opening

The left wing appeared to be perfectly square.

Left Wing and Sole

The right wing appeared to be a little out of square.  I e-mailed Woodcraft Technical Support about this and they informed me that if I was able to fit a 0.002″ feeler gauge between the square and the plane’s sole, they would be happy to replace the plane.  This gap was well within that tolerance.

Right Wing and Sole

The NEXT ARTICLE shows how the plane performed.