This Rare Japanese–Hardware Mecca Is the Place to Level Up Your Toolbox
Yes, you need a $94 hand-forged Tobisho pruner
|Jan 21, 2020|
This is HARD TO GET, a weekly newsletter about awesome stuff that’s (almost) impossible to find online.
So there we were, stocking up on plants and posing for extremely nonchalant botanical fit-pics at the Berkeley Horticultural Nursery, when a staff gardener tipped us off to a local gem: "Have you been to Hida Tool? It's this old-school-Berkeley Japanese tool-shop. They have amazing stuff: Loppers, shears, saws, planes, everything."
We took her advice, and we weren't disappointed. On a cacophonous Berkeley arterial, Hida Tool is a tiny oasis, founded in 1982 by Osaka-born Osamu Hiroyama. At HARD TO GET it's no secret we love high-craft Japanese-made clothes, but today's post is about high-craft Japanese-made hardware -- which, luckily for those of you *not* in Northern California, the shop sells online. We're not particularly handy, but we've snapped up a range of Hida's stuff anyway, because -- well, look at it. How could you not?
Here's a bamboo-wrapped grafting knife made from "high-carbon steel laminated to soft steel." $70.
The Tobisho SR-1 pruner is "fully hand forged from 1 piece high quality carbon steel," its "blade surface hand sharpened and mirror polished," meaning it "will glide through the branch leaving cleanest cut." $94.
This Dogyu octagon hammer features a Japanese white-oak handle and both flat and curved faces, for driving nails "without damaging the surrounding surface." Starts at $18. Right now some of you might be wondering, "HARD TO GET - do I really need this stuff?" The answer: Of course you do, please fill your toolbox with these extremely handsome and droolworthy objects instead of whatever soul-starved Home Depot regs you've currently got.
Hida recommends this all-purpose folding knife for "woodworking, camping, and bamboo crafting. The blade is made of laminated Aogami #2 (blue steel), with a tsuchime finish (hammered finish)." $33.
If you want to splash out on ultra-rarefied gear, Hida's "vault" includes master-grade cutlery, natural sharpening stones, and this chisel set fashioned from custom-forged blue steel and ebony, priced at a mere $4,340:
The one caveat for non-Northern California residents: Although Hida's web-store is tight, it's missing this guy, who sits sentinel at the brick-and-mortar shop: