Continuing on with the account of the assembly of the Doctor’s reception desk…
The rear sill and cross-pieces were fitted in, one by one. Here, for some reason, everyone is having a good stare while I attach the sill at one corner:
And now the Maple grill bars, koshi, make their appearance. These have a sliding dovetail top and bottom, engaging in dovetail mortises in both the nuki and the lower receiver pieces. Unfortunately, all my close up photos of the connections are sideways, so, these distance shots will have to do:
All the koshi are in by this point:
It uses the sliding fork or bridle joint on front, while the rear engages with a dovetail tenon atop the rear post. You can see a dovetail tenon bare on the adjacent post in the foreground, and that the rail I’m pushing on has a slender tenon at the rear.
Another rail slides in, with a little help from Alan:
It will become apparent, hopefully, in later pictures, why the name ‘flickering flame’ is used. One of the things I notice in N. American furniture, is that when furnituremakers try to do ‘Asian’ furniture, they invariably use what is referred to as the ‘cloud lift’ motif. This was adopted first, I think, by the Greene and Greene design firm in the early 1900’s, possibly after they visited the Japanese pavilion at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase world Exposition in St Louis. Out of hundreds of interesting Chinese/Japanese design motifs, they adopted one. And the repetition continues on to this day, ad nauseum I would say – half the time I see the cloud lift done upside-down. It has become a thoroughly hackneyed borrowing in my view. Why people have not thought to look further at the many other Chinese/Japanese design patterns available completely escapes me.
Here, Alan and I slide the long side flickering flame board into place:
The table frame rests on maki-to, or ‘pillow blocks’, which in turn attach to the tops of the posts. These spread the carrying capacity/support of the posts out over a wider area. The maki-to is commonly used in Japanese and Chinese architecture.
Now fitting the middle section to an adjacent wing, I’m tapping in one of the Wenge splines:
Now, I haven’t totally explained how that joint mechanism works, but have left a number of hints. It’s good to keep things slightly mysterious sometimes, though close observation of the pictures will reveal the mechanism to those who are curious. Remember, this entire piece is designed to be demountable, so no glue was used, only mechanical wooden connections.
On to post III