Joe van der Steeg
Joe (also known as TechnicusJoe) is young blacksmith of only 18 years old and learned most of his blacksmith skills by himself. He has been fascinated by fire since an early age and was only a child when he began to experiment without the aid or guidance of anyone. Initially he used a pan with a pipe, a hairdryer for an air blast and a large hammer as an anvil. When he was eleven he attended a meeting of blacksmiths and his passion started to take a clear shape. He built a forge and bought an anvil.
Wherever he can, he tries to deepen his knowledge by consulting literature but most of his skills he acquired by practice. He wishes to continue his studies in mechanical engineering to gain a deeper insight into the secrets of metallurgy. Although he is just at the eve of his career, I am convinced that the work he delivers is of high quality.
The Tsunesaburo workshop has been forging planes with pride and confidence for more then sixty years. Tsunesaburo the first (Uozumi Tsunezo) was trained by his grandfather from a very young age. His grandfather was a apprentice to a sword smith and in this way gained insight into the secret techniques of sword forging. These techniques have been passed down every generation and while teaching the ancient traditional way of plane making to his successors he committed himself to research in new techniques as well.
Uozumi Tsunezo established the Tsunesaburo Plane Workshop in 1947 after an apprenticeship with his grandfather of twenty-eight years. Currently the second and third generation Tsunesaburo has been developing their plane making techniques, by introducing modern technology in temperature control, while maintaining the traditional mastership as plane blacksmith.
The hammer blacksmith, Doshinsai Masatsura (Masayuki Baba) was the apprentice of Hasegawa Kouzaburo. He now creates tools such as sledgehammers and nailspikes that equals Hasegawa Kozaburo’s quality. Masatsura’s hammers are famous for their appearance and ease of use. They are of excellent craftsmanship and have a high reputation amongst carpenters. He is one of the few who still makes laminated hammers.
Yamahiro (Okazaki Takeshi) is known as the chisel blacksmith from Sanjyo Niigata that represents Echigo Yoita.
He is specialized in using white steel #1 for his chisels and pine charcoal for the hardening process, which is done in darkness. It is said that “there is skill behind these” and the sharpness of his chisels is “beyond all imagination”.
He works in a very traditional way without a spring hammer. All of his filework is done by hand without the aid of power grinders. His work is meticulously finished. The fact that there is a long waiting list to obtain his tools illustrates that his blades are in high demand by professional carpenters. His blades look very sober but their quality is superb.
Funahiro (Funatsu-san), an apprentice of Usui Kengo, is widely known for producing both planes and chisels of high quality. They sharpen easily and hold an edge for a very long time. He uses modern techniques to evaluate his own work and constantly strives to enhance their performance.
Konobu (Saitou-san) from Tokyo is specialized in producing carving chisels.