Screen Play (23)

Post 23 in a build up of a traditional Japanese furniture form – a tsuitate, or freestanding room screen. it serves as a movable partition and these come in many shapes and sizes. Some are small enough to go on window ledges. This one is on the larger side, and measures about 50×60 inches or thereabouts.

With the panels but a step short of completion, I turned my attention to the lower frame cross piece, which serves to locate both the bottom edges of the panels, along with the grill bars, or kōshi, which are found front and back of the panels. This cross piece is fixed to the main cross member of the frame by three sliding dovetail keys, the joinery for which is already completed.

The first step in that procedure was to trim the piece to length. Now that the main frame members have been fitted together, I have a length to mark against, namely the distance between the inside shoulders of both vertical frame members.

Here’s the cross piece resting in position for marking:

Once the marks were done, marked out for a stub tenon on each end and then knifed the pencil lines. Next, out comes the saw:

Then I pare down my knifed lines:

Nearly complete – all that remains is a 45˚ return on the top:


By the way, you may have noticed the time indexes on those photos appears to have me at work in the middle of the night. Not so actually – just a camera setting that needs to be re-set.

With the ends now ready, I could work on the mortises for the kōshi. I constructed a simple jig, one that has a fence on the bottom to reference against the stock, and a series of fences on the top to control the router travel by it’s base plate:

I did a few test cuts to calibrate the jig, and then it was ready to rock:

Here’s a section of the bar which had a small knothole, bug hole or something like that on the surface, and I had laid out so that the defect would correspond with one of the kōshi mortises:

Let’s see how that comes out in the wash:

All gone.

The cross bar mortising is now complete, save for final scribe-fitting of the grill bars, which will be done on a piece-by-piece basis:

The remaining steps on this cross piece, besides fitting the bars, is a finish planing and chamfering. I’ll leave these steps until the end.

As always, thanks for dropping by the Carpentry Way today. –> On to post 24

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