Alex & Emiko Gilmore, mainly to introduce vintage Japanese traditional carpenter's tools to the collectors, hobbyists & enthusiasts outside of Japan.
We visit Japan twice a year to travel and gather our tools from the old semi-retiring shops in Japan.
All our vintage tools are 30 - 50 years old and
new/old stock which came directly from the store shelves.
Our tools will be shipped from Sonoma, California.
The sharpening stones on my site are from a world class private collection of over 400 pieces assembled in Japan over the past years. I was lucky enough to purchase some private collections over the last 2 years. Many of the hones were actually used by barbers, some dating to the 1920s or earlier, while others were simply prepared by the miners as razor hones asevidenced by the size and fine quality of the stones grit composition.
Japanese Natural Stones
I have been buying natural Japanese sharpening stones in Japan since 1978, and I still have that first cherished Narutaki that Iuse often. The stones that you will view on this site represent only a small fraction of my inventory, which may be the largest of its kind outside of Japan. My family craft ties in Japan allow me access to many old caches of stone mined in the 1800s up to the 1950s. Each and every individual stone is hand selected by myself, I do not have agents sending me "their selections" as some other suppliers on the internet do.
In all the world the Japanese tennen toishi are unique because of the slurry component and
the way it can be exploited. For centuries the clay binders that comprise the glue that holds
the stones grit in place has been manipulated by sword polishers, carpenters and barbers to
suit their needs and requirements. No other stone will react with such characteristic and
predictable ways as the natural stones that the mountains in and around Kyoto offer.