printf('hello world!');

i'm going to blame everything on this damn rock.  i've successfully resisted the urge to create yet another woodworking blog for a few years now.  there are so many out there, i couldn't bring myself to add to the noise.  i don't have anything to contribute in the way of knowledge or technique.  i haven't recently emerged from an enlightening apprenticeship with a master temple builder or hungarian cabinetmaker.  even my experiences are adequately covered by established bloggers.

for example..  bob rozaieski (see?  first post and i'm already name dropping..) covered the building of, and his experiences with his nicholson bench quite thoroughly.  mine turned out a little differently (benefiting from some of his experiences in fact) and some of the tools and techniques i used were different because i have different preferences.  but as much as i wanted to share the experience and my shiny new bench, i didn't want to have a 'me too!' blog that clogged up a bunch of readers with tired content.

then today i found this gorgeous rock on my doorstep.  i brought it inside and unwrapped it like it was christmas morning.  i showed it to my very understanding wife and explained to her that it was dug out of a mine near kyoto, japan where it had lived for millions of years before being dug up, shaped and sent to my doorstep in the blink of an eye.

two things happened..

first, i was filled with an urge to share this rock with everyone i knew.  second, i realized i didn't feel comfortable with my knowledge of how to care for a natural waterstone.  i don't want to be the knucklehead that destroys this beautiful creation of natural forces and geologic time because i'm excited to play with my latest bright, shiny object.

i've found a bit of info on their care in archived forum posts and the stone even came with some brief, non-specific instructions but i'm still a little hesitant.  specifically, i want some reassurance that the solvents in 'lacquer or varnish' won't destroy or weaken the stone when i 'apply several coats to the sides and base of the stone' as the instructions indicate.  lacquer can mean something quite different in japan than it typically does here.  when i hear 'lacquer', i start looking for a can of deft and i have a feeling shellac might be a better idea..

it's usually around this point that i head off to ask my question in a forum but forum questions require context and the relevant audience.  there aren't that many people using natural waterstones today and i suspect that number is dropping as they become harder and harder to come by.

so i sent off an email to jay van arsdale hoping that he might find the time to answer a question that i'm sure he's heard a thousand times.  there are a few other woodworkers i really enjoy that are likely to have some ideas as well but it was jay's kanna dvd that gave me the final push to try natural waterstones in the first place..  so i figured it was his turn ;).

when i was done i came back to the same idea, 'i really ought to start a blog..'

my intent then is that this blog will allow me to provide a good amount of context for all the silly little questions i come up with, the goofy, tangential discoveries i make, and the treasures i find and create.  it will also, i'm hoping, find an audience with similar interests that might be entertained in exchange for the occasional observation or bit of advice they might care to share.

so it begins..  a pleasure to meet you all..


  1. Yup, for stones they mean japanese lacquer or urushi. Since I'm sensitive to poison oak I've been avoiding the real think. I've used water based poly and water based latex paint with no apparent ill effects to my stones. You''re just coating the outer surface so it doesn't penetrate far. Usually you bevel the top edges of the stones deeper than this stuff would penetrate.

  2. thank you, very much, for the comment. nice to know i'm not engaging the void..

    that's pretty much exactly what jay said in his reply to my email. i didn't want to quote him because i hadn't asked permission, but yeah. he digs the latex paint as well.

    i've already hit it with 3 coats of shellac but i'll pick up some paint on my next trip to the box.

    thank you again for your thoughts!