A tool is life for furniture craftsmen. The plane itself has tens of types. Each has its own purpose. It must be properly used. The plane used for paulownia and oak is different from each other. There is a plane specially designed for making the groove on the shreshold or the doorsill. I sometimes change by myself the plane shape to be suitable for my work. Change of plane depends on the working condition such as wood, design, skiving angle, etc. It is necessary to properly use saws and chisel, too. I make furniture selecting optimum tools.
Even the same plane, sharpness depends on the way of whetting. Plane itself get thinner and thinner as it is used for years. However there are not many craftsmen who use up a plane until its blade dies out. Planes obsolutely gets unsymmetrical wear as it is used for many years or gets cracked by a mechanical shock. Tool itself is expensive and must be used carefully with elaborate maintenance incorporated. Craftsmen's skill can be perceived if their planes are checked since they are particular about tools.
My job is to form figures based on the drawings given in the paper. Saying by words may sound easy. I find difficulties and fun in precisely forming a figure in a three-dimensional shape based on the drawings made in the unit of millimeter. I prepare materials by myself all in all. I make plywood by myself. I cut, process, assemble looking at the drawings given. Finish subtly differs by factory or craftsman. A certain limited craftsman is, therefore, assigned to work.
I make furniture just because I like to do. Particularly the job I recently tackle with is not profitable. However, I continue working through trial and error with a sense of fun because I realize that there is a customer who finds value in my products. I'm happy to see that customers feel happy with my products. I'm also happy if my products are sold. I maintain my position as a wood craftsman for more than 40 years because I basically like to make things.
Carpenter-like jobs mainly come from housemakers, shop designing firms and engineering firms. I seldom have a chance to see ultimate users in face. That's why I began manufacturing wood products and art works which makes chances of direct contact with purchasers.
I had a chance to display my products at "Mamenari Ichi" (festival) supported by Hasuda City the other day. I didn't know how to price nor could I say, "Irasshaimase (May I help you?)" because that was the first time for me to sell at a street stall. (laughter) When making an walk up calling, a young woman came to my stall and showed a keen interest in the low dining table I kept there. She was worried looking at a long distance, measuring dimensions, and finally gave up and went away because it was priced Yen30,000. When I think now, it was so expensive that I couldn't sell at a festival. I kept the price for the time being because I was affraid of a rumor that I made immediate discounts. Just before the festival was over, she came back to me with a carrier-bag and said and was worried, "I want it, but the price is ...". I was impressed with her enthusiasm and sold it at nealy a half price. I was very happy with her attitude. She went away with leaving a word "I will use it with care".
The experience at the festival gave a great turning point. So far I didn't make a direct contact with users. However meeting the user in face has made me realize that I wanted my products be purchased by those who loved them. Hence even though it may rule out the profitability, I do first. I take pride in the style as a furniture craftsman.
HEAD OF "Takakiyo ATELIER" ORDER-MADE FURNITURE MANUFACTURING
He worked at a shop handling furniture and equipment to be sold to famous hotels for 20 years building up his skill and then he stood on his own feet. After independence, he has been engaged in producing furniture and wood articles made to order one by one for more than 20 years.