About Us

Hida Tool Co. was started in response to requests from San Francisco Bay Area woodworkers to get tools like those being used by Makoto Imai, who had come from Japan in 1978 after his 5-year apprenticeship in carpentry plus 9 years as a teahouse and temple builder. His were the hand tools of the builders of traditional homes and temples in Japan, including saws with both crosscut and rip teeth on the same blade, planes with wooden bodies quite different from those of European and early American wooden planes, and both plane blades and chisels forged by methods developed by the blacksmiths who created the famous samurai swords. These tools had a layer of very hard steel forged to a larger mass of softer iron, which allowed the formation in the tempering step of a harder cutting edge than was permissible in tools made entirely of similar carbon steel.

 
The business was opened in San Rafel, California (north of the Golden Gate) in 1982 by Imai-san's brother-in-law Osamu Hiroyama and Kip Mesirow, author of "Care and Use of Japanese Woodworking Tools" and former owner of a smaller Japanese tool store in Berkeley. Hida Tool Co. moved to our current location in Berkeley in the summer of 1984 with a greater variety of carpentry tools. Because of the interest in tools used for Japanese gardens, these became the second category of tools stocked. Kitchen knives, the third "specialty of the house," also make use of the swordmakers' technique of combining two different metals. A smaller number of other tools, etc., all imported from Japan, can be found on this website and in the store.
 
Whether you enter through the front door, your computer email, or telephone, our staff at Hida Tool Co. will do our best to help you find the exact tool that you need within these specialties. However, still true to our origins, we carry no power tools, although we do stock a large assortment of drill bits for your hand or power drill.
Hida Tool & Hardware Co., Inc. © 2014