Finally made the pilgrimage to Hida Tool & Hardware Co..
Like many places of myth and legend - The Alamo, with a Wool-
worths store acrossed the street - Hida Tools was not at all
like I expected. Narrower than I'd imagined - narrower than
my living room - with some sort of screen just behind the
tall narrow display window obstructing the view inside, the
outside gave no indication of legendary tools on the wall shelves
in the store.
Inside there were no glass display cases, with special lights
to "properly present the tools" I've only read and heard about.
Instead, they sit on shallow shelves, many in thin cardboard
boxes, some sharing a box with several of its twins - five or
six 6mm bench chisels, each in its own thin plastic bag, hand
written price - in ball point pen - on a white paper tag.
Next to the chisels, hanging on a piece of plywood, fine toothed
pull saws, blades in thin plastic sleeves, price on white paper tags.
No UPCs, no bar codes, no printed item number on anything in
Next to the saws are Japanese waterstones. In a wooden
box, a single stone, about the size of a brick. White paper
price tag - $1,180. Very, very carefully place that one
back on the shelf before taking another breath.
The rest of the pilgrimage was a blur - sensory overload.
Left the store with a small blue plastic bag containing
- 3mm Masashige brand specially-designed white steel
dovetail chisel - the sides beveled at 75 degrees to
get into the corners of dovetail tail sockets - the
place that keeps otherwise perfectly cut dovetails from
fitting together just so.
- a small squeeze bottle of camelia oil (which doesn't
smell like camelias)
- the special little screw lid camelia oil applicator
- the book "The Care and Use of Japanese Woodworking
Tools by Kip Mesirowand Ron Herman
- some bonsai wire, small ball cutter pruning pliers
and small pruning shears
Safe bet this wasn't my last trip to Hida - but only
after the checking account recovers a bit.
Robland Factory in Brugge, Belgium - check
Hida Tool and Hardware Co., Berkeley, California, USA -check
Still on the list
Your pilgrimage list?