New-Jersey-based woodworker and Popular Woodworking contributor Wilbur Pan is "the guy" when it comes to knowledge of Japanese hand tools. For those of you working in shops outfitted largely with Western tools, you may be curious about what the benefits are of integrating Japanese tools, and where you might want to start.
You can find the answers to those questions—which largely have to do with your own workflow and preferences—by spending several hours Googling through articles and the like, but here Pan has boiled some basic questions and answers down to a tight five minutes: What role might Japanese saws/chisels/hand planes play in your shop? Which tools mix and which don't? Which ones should you start with, and how much will you pay? Is the maintenance any different? And what are the benefits/drawbacks of having a cheap or expensive sharpening set-up?