First Light XLV

Continuing on with the near-final assembly of this garden lantern. I’m going to let the reader in on a little piece of information now that I have not been clear about. There are several reasons I have gone to the trouble of designing this lantern to be all-joinery (excepting the frames for the glass) – one is to to make it easy to fix, another is to make the piece so as to be maximally durable as it is intended to survive the outdoors. The reliance on pure joinery was a design challenge, and that was also part of the motivation. I like a challenge with every project. But there is yet another reason. I have designed this lantern to be readily demountable because my initial intent with it is to put it together and take it apart quite a few times. For fun? No, not exactly, though I will admit it is fun.

You see, the demountable nature of this piece lends itself well to explaining Japanese carpentry to others, and that’s what I am planning to do with the lantern for the first while – -talk about Japanese carpentry to various groups and build the lantern as I do it. Though I can show pictures and all and blather on for hours about a favorite subject of mine, I think I will really get the point across far more effectively if I assemble this piece right in front of their eyes, and at each step, explain the ‘how’ and the ‘why’. So, you might say I had a further underlying motive to my method, and I thought it would be well to be clear about that.

When I last left off I was assembling the upper tier of hijiki onto the pillow blocks and their sen. Two pieces were fitted at the conclusion of post 44, and so I’ll pick up where I left off, with the commencement of fitting the third hijiki:

A close up of the meeting at the middle:

Three of the four hijiki now fitted:

Another view:

Time for the fourth and final piece:

As the last piece slides simultaneously onto four sen and the lap joint, there is a fair amount of surface friction between pieces – it’s a tight fit in other words. As it got closer, I needed to bring out a small block of MDF and a light hammer to seat the piece down. Here it’s beginning to engage in the three-way lap joint:

Fully seated, the last hijiki is really locked in there, simply by friction. In fact, in order to remove it I had to made up a special tool, using some Lignum Vitae blocks and some all-threaded rods. A bit of extra trouble, but this tool pulls the last hijiki back up without damaging or cracking the piece, or anything connected to it.

Also notice in the above picture that I have trimmed the sen in the corners flush with the seat of the laps. This required marking them, removal of the hijiki, and then cutting each pin individually.

After the hijiki were reassembled onto the trimmed sen, then came time to put the dodai, (the sill pieces) into place:

The dodai now fully in position:

Next step was to trim the outboard Lignum Vitae sen to the top of the dodai face, using a flush-trim saw:

The result:

The top of the post now with all the hijiki in place along with the dodai:

I was worried that the look of the piece overall, with the painted end grain components would be somehow inferior to the unpainted – but I find I quite like it actually. I’m looking forward to seeing the lantern housing and roof in place to see the full visual effect of those parts with the painted end grain. I think it will be fine.

Bringing the sen story to a close, the central draw bars are now trimmed:

The only piece missing from this scene is the floor panel:

Next step: fitting the lantern housing posts and marking the tenons for their fixing pins (another type of sen) -I used a 1/4″ hollow chisel for this task:

Wish I had the hollow chisel mortiser to go with the bits I have!

The resulting mark on the post tenon cheek:

I will later mark out the peg mortise completely, allowing for a slight draw bore, and drill and chop these small mortises out. Following that I will need to make up some more pegs, and then repeat the procedure with the tenons at the top of the posts which join to the keta.

Thanks for dropping by today. On to post 46

One Reply to “First Light XLV”

  1. Great posts Chris……. Thanks for taking the time to show us all this build. It's beyond interesting and as I am challenged to to get my temporary shop together before winter sets in it gives me my daily fix of woodworking that I am not otherwise getting. Still have the massage table to finish as soon as I get a place to set up my bench.

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