A: I have become one. I started out when I was six years old so I started working in woodwork at sixteen or seventeen. After I worked in furniture factories for two years I got out and studied art history at an art high school, and then I became a master carpenter, a professional carpenter, and the job was my life for two years.
Q: How do you explain that skill of knowing how to make a good piece of work?
A: That’s a very, very simple explanation. You just have to be able to say “Yes” very fast, and “No” very fast, and see what is happening, understand what your tools are doing, and what your tools are not doing, and use them in concert with each other all the time. If you learn this ability, you can become an expert in any art.
Q: What techniques do you use?
A: I use a lot of things that happen to occur to me in the course of what I do. I use something like a sawed-off pistol blade to hold a hammer, and I use a saw to chop down a tree.
Q: Is that the only kind of saw you use?
A: I use many different kind of saws, some for woodwork, some for general cutting. One of the best is my old, broken Japanese one.
Q: What is a Japanese saw?
A: It’s a Japanese saw that works by cutting wood, so it cuts like a saw (laughs). But we can’t call it a saw, because it has no handle. A saw is when you hold it with one hand and with the other hand you pull, hold it between your fingers and then you make a very small cut. A saw is a tool, it’s a tool that cuts wood by making a cut.
Q: Which kinds of tools do you use?
A: I use a chisel-type cutter, the kind that you use with steel wire. With a chisel you pull it through a groove, it cuts through a small groove in one stroke, and that’s how I use it. With a chisel you put a small piece of wood in there, and you push your thumb down. You have to keep the wood there between your thumb and forefinger so the edge doesn’t pull away from your fingers. The reason you use a chisel is that it cuts a much bigger piece of
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