NYC | KEZ  | 2017

Mokuchi is proud to host the 4th NYC KEZ – An annual gathering for Japanese woodworking enthusiasts to share their knowledge & excitement for the tools & techniques.

Saturday, August 5th

Week long activity calendar leading up to NYC KEZ 2017!

Including: 3-Day Japanese Timber Framing Workshops NEW!  &  Japanese Woodworking Friday Forum 

Monday – 7/31              Tuesday – 8/1             Wednesday – 8/2
Thursday – 8/3
Saturday – 8/5

KEZ Schedule  |  Competition  |  Workshop  |  Friday Forum  |  Vendors  |  FAQs

KEZ Schedule – Saturday, August 5th

Presentations & Demostrations

10:15am      Log Splitting – Group Effort!

10:45am     Axe Hewing – Demo

                   Adze (Chona) Hewing & Texturing – Demo

11:30am      Japanese Boat Building Techniques – Demo

2pm           Traditional Japanese Wooden Boat Building Talk

Douglas Brooks has received numerous grants & awards to advance his study of traditional wooden boat building and share his knowledge. He apprenticed and presented in Japan.  His work focuses on preserving and sharing of the skills necessary to build wooden boats.

3:30pm       Planing Competition

4:30pm       Winner announced & NYC 2017 Closing Sake toast

Ongoing throughout the day…

Stations to try the Japaneses tools – with supervision!

  • 10am-2pm  Try your hand at planing – the simple yet complex foundation of Japanese woodworking. Andrew Hunter will bring a Gigantic Oganna plane (over 1 foot wide!) and various species of wood to explore the subtle grace and challenge of the Japanese hand plane.
  • 12noon-1pm  Give it a try – revel in the satisfaction of using the Yariganna (spear plane)
  • 1pm-2pm  Log ripping using the Maebiki – large single user resawing saw, sometimes referred to as the “Human Sawmill”

WARNING: All tools are incredibly sharp -do not use tools without event provided supervision.

Japanese woodworking & tools on display.

  • Small Japanese timber frame structure just built in NYC KEZ Workshops.
  • Explore fine joinery with a sample joinery tree by Yann Giguere and a joinery sculpture by Andrew Hunter.
  • Samples of delicate Kumiko (lattice) work by Jon Billing of Big Sand Woodworking.
  • Select pieces of furniture built using Japanese woodworking tools & techniques.
  • A selection of Japanese woodworking tools on display and for sale by various members of the Japanese woodworking community.
KEZ NYC 2017 - Douglas Brooks Talk
NYC KEZ 2017
KEZ NYC 2017

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Winning plane shaving will be best combination of thinnest, full width and full length (no tears/least holes!)

Each competitor will be provided:

  • Premium Alaskan Yellow Cedar (clear and tight grain) for warm up & the final competition shaving
  • Use of a traditional planing bench for a minimum of two hours to warm up & access to a sharpening station with water and tubs (10am-3:45pm)

First Prize: Japanese finish plane “TENKEI” by Funahiro, blue steel, 50mm

Funahiro san is one of Japan’s finest blacksmith. In April of this year he was awarded the distinguished title “Preserver of Important Intangible Cultural Properties” or Living National Treasure by the Japanese government.

We’re honored to have the prize sponsored by Hida Tools of Berkeley, CA
(Retail value: $417)


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Japanese Timber Framing Workshops- Monday 7/31 to Wednesday 8/2

Multi-day workshops to build and assemble a 6′ x 9′ Japanese timber frame structure. Work will be delegated between Brooklyn & Connecticut workshops. Workshops will run from Monday, July 31st to Wednesday, August 2nd  (9-6pm) at each site. Workshops will join together at 2pm in Brooklyn on Friday, August 4th to assemble the structure that will be showcased in NYC KEZ 2017. 


Brooklyn Workshop

Mokuchi Studio – Brooklyn, NY

Posts and beams, large scale joinery layout and cutting. Learn proportioning, center line layout and cutting sequence.

$385 for 3 days & Friday afternoon.
Limit 6 participants

Connecticut Workshop

Bluefield Joiners – Taftville, CT – CANCELED 

Hip and gable roof layout and cutting. Learn to use the stretched scale on the back of your Japanese square!

$385 for 3 days & Friday afternoon.
Limit 8 participants
NYC KEZ 2017 - Timber Frame Workshop

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Japanese Woodworking Friday Forum – August 4th


10am – 2pm

Forum Stations*

The Friday Forum will be an informal environment. Woodworkers with extensive experience and knowledge on each topic will have a bench space. Each will focus in on specific topics – raising some valuable discussion topics to the whole group & conducting smaller discussions delving into specific inquiries & topics.


Kanna Clinic: tuning session & discussion

Led by Jim Blauvelt
NYC KEZ 2015 winner, Jim has well over 2 decades of experience using Japanese planes. He is owner/operator of Bluefield Joiners specializing in custom Japanese carpentry and shoji making.

Dai Making Details

Led by Joshua Villegas
Joshua Villegas is a furniture maker and dai maker trained at North Bennett Street School and in Japan by Toshio Tokunaga. His focus is on making objects shaped and finished with kanna and spreading an appreciation for kanna nationwide.

Yariganna Fun: Practice and compare note and styles of yari

Led by TBD

Chona Play Date: Practice and compare notes and chona styles

Led by Yann Giguere
Owner/operator of Mokuchi specializing in custom woodwork in the Japanese Tradition, Yann has been an enthusiast of the Chona (Japanese adze) for many years and is always looking for an outlet to use this unique tool!

Kumiko (Lattice) woodworking techniques

Led by Jon Billing
Jon Billing is the owner/operator of Big Sand Woodworking, a Brooklyn woodworking studio. Jon designs and builds custom furniture, shoji screens, lights, and many other fine wood objects.

*The afternoon assembly is included in the workshops, but workshop participants must purchase discounted “Half-Day” Friday Forum ticket to participate in the morning activities.  


Japanese Timber Frame Assembly

Students from workshops earlier in the week and Friday Forum participants will assemble a small timber frame structure.  The two portions of components for this structure will be constructed in the two Japanese Timber Frame workshops earlier in the week.  


Woodworkers Dinner

Sushi & Japanese fare brought to workshop for communal meal.

RSVP necessary – $20/person, cash payment preferred.  Please alert Mokuchi to special requests or allergies

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Yann Giguere
Brooklyn, NY



In addition to custom woodwork in the Japanese tradition and teaching Japanese woodworking, Mokuchi is a retailer of Japanese woodworking tools.  Recently acquired – Mokuchi has a selection of Japanese natural finishing stone available for trial and purchase.  During the KEZ, competition grade Alaskan Yellow Cedar will be available to purchase.

Dane Owen
Brooklyn, NY


Merchant of fine Japanese antiques and furniture will have antique Japanese axes, adze, large saws, sumitsubo, planes and other tools for display and purchase.

For NYC KEZ, an assortment of Japanese architectural salvaged wood and tansu hardware will be available.

Jim Blauvelt
Taftville, CT


Blue Water Forge’s specialty is hand forged damascus knives and san mai knives. Jim has been busy at the forge working on Japanese plane blades and will be bringing some for sale!!

Phillip Fuentes
Greensboro, NC



Phillip Fuentes is a woodturner and bladesmith. In his small shop he makes knives for green woodworkers, Scandinavian pattern carving and belt knives, as well as hook knives for hollowing spoons and small bowls, and an oyster knife forged from railroad spikes. Custom work is available and knives go up on Etsy as stock allows. This year Phil is planning on bringing some marking knifes too!!

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What’s a Kezurou Kai?

Kezurou Kai is a social gathering and friendly competition showcasing the skill of woodworkers that use the Japanese tools. The craftspeople in an area get together and learn from one another. The competition focuses on using the Japanese hand plane in an attempt to make the thinnest wood shaving. This shaving must be the full width and full length of the competition piece of wood – so skill and grace is required to pull the most exquisitely thin and perfect shaving.

It is a tradition in Japan and, as Japanese woodworking tools have become more known in the US, we’re thrilled to be hosting the fourth annual mini Kez in NYC! It is a privilege to get Japanese woodworking and tool enthusiasts together for fun and an opportunity to challenge their skills.  Plus, it is a fantastic opportunity to introduce curious newcomers to this very special type of woodworking.

What is hand planing?

In traditional Japanese woodwork wood surfaces are shaved very cleanly and left “natural” instead of sanded and oiled or varnished. To achieve a silky smooth surface much skill is required in sharpening and tuning the Japanese plane.

How is Japanese planing different from Western planing?

A Japanese plane is pulled rather than pushed as is a western plane, this allows much control. Very importantly the blade of a Japanese plane is made of two types of steel laminated to create an amazing combination of potential sharpness and workability much like the samurai sword!

Is there somewhere nearby to stay?

There is a hostel and a hotel quite close to Mokuchi Studio. The hostel, New York Moore Hostel, is a few blocks away. Less than a 5 minute walk. The hotel, Bogart Hotel, is 3 short blocks from the studio. 

Mokuchi has secured the AirBnB just off the courtyard where the NYC KEZ will be held. It is available for Thursday, Friday & Saturday nights at $12o/person.  You will be staying with other NYC KEZ attendees. The apartment only fits a few guests, so contact Mokuchi ASAP if interested – staying less than the 3 nights will be charged the same fee.  

There are also quite a few other AirBnB options nearby. Please check out them out for reviews and details on amenities. Make arrangements soon – places book up early in our neighborhood!