Gateway (25)

Post 25 in an ongoing series describing the design and construction of a kabukimon, a type of Japanese gate. Post 1 in this series can be found here if you’d like to start at the beginning. Each post links to the next at the bottom of the page.


My large paring slick needed a sharpening – the first step is to remove the handle, then a round through the rocks – my wife was by the shop and it seemed convenient to take a bit of video:

Who is that shaggy freak? Looks like some sort of woodchuck. I guess I could use a make-up and hairdressing assistant for my next on-camera session – huh? Might want to work on making a different fashion statement too I suppose.

I worked my way through three sharpening stones – a green ceramic #1000 to start, followed by a brick-colored ceramic #3000, and then on to my natural stone (a stage not shown). The camera was flashing the ‘low battery’ light so we conserved what we had. At one one point I lift the #1000 stone up in the air by the blade’s bevel, just a bit of senseless showing off, but it does indicate a fairly flat stone and bevel, meeting well enough to produce good stiction.

Well, a new job title could perhaps be: aw, pare (au pair?):

All right, a weak attempt at word play, but what the heck.

Still pretty much clueless on the video work aspect – something I would definitely like to improve in the months ahead. Haven’t I been saying that for a while now? Today I had a go a video editing with iMovie, and, yup, there’s a learning curve there – it did not seem to be a particularly intuitive sort of program to lean. Connecting both the filming and editing tasks was helping my understanding a bit. We certainly could have used better light, however the filming in this case was very much an impromptu sort of thing.

The cut out shown above comprises the rough stage. I generally do a round of rough cutting, and follow up later on after another resharpening, paring out to the line and checking the surfaces for flatness and straightness, etc. Planning to tackle that paring task next time I’m at the shop.

In other news…I acquired a new blade for my 190mm (7.5″) finishing saw – a 90 tooth blade with a slim 1.5mm (0.06″) kerf, made by Sugiyama:


I thought I’d take it for a spin, so to speak, with some crosswise plunges with the saw blade, as step one of excavating the stub tenon mortises on one of the main posts:

My first time using this brand of saw blade – I’m now a convert! The cut left by the Sugiyama blade is very nice in my opinion – check out the cut surface on the stub tenon’s end grain portion:

Sugiyama makes a 1.3mm kerf blade as well, which I think I will have to try out soon. I haven’t had much luck having these thin-kerf Japanese blades properly resharpened around here, so I’m considering sending them back to Japan for such work.

The stub tenon morts now roughed out, but a bit wide of the line yet all around:

These mortises are for the nose piece stub tenons. The inside of the post, which receives the kabuki, has a slightly different stub tenon arrangement.

The other post through the same stage:

You can see one of the large knots parked on the arris of that timber at the upper left of the picture. There are two of them on the same arris and I will need to patch them. An awkward place to repair, especially given the size of the knots.

All for today – thanks for dropping by the Carpentry Way. Next: post 26

6 Replies to “Gateway (25)”

  1. Extremely impressive work! This blog is fascinating to follow!

    I was wondering whether the relief kerfs that were cut in the beams to minimize cracking during the drying stage could cause structural issues… there are a few pictures in post 23 where we can see that one wall of the open mortise on a nose piece has such a kerf right at the base, going almost the full thickness of the wall. I surmise that once the whole structure is assembled, this will not be a concern, but that it might require extra precautions when laying out and cutting the joinery. Or is this moot because of the sheer size of the pieces?


  2. I, for one, would love to see more actionshots of all kinds, how you layout, scribe, prep and cut, chisel, saw these beauties of yours! Not that you have to “walk-it-through” but that i can see “aah, he does it like that”!

  3. LD,

    thanks for your question. The sewari cuts have only a modest affect on the structural strength of these pieces as they run along the grain. Hence, a slight amount of material which would otherwise resist shear loads under bending is absent.

    All this is moot though given the size of the kerfed pieces in this project (the two posts, the main beam, and the main beam nose pieces), all of which are vastly oversize for any structural requirement. Their sizing is driven mostly by aesthetics.

    Further, most of the kerfed openings will be patched with shims. As these are glued in, most all of the loss of strength from kerfing is replaced.

    You are right that extra precautions are required when laying out and cutting joinery, and sharp spotting as concerns the nose piece in post 23. I will be patching that kerf when the temp in my shop warms up a bit, however that portion of the nose piece has moved a little bit due to the kerfing, and a clamp is required in the meantime to maintain a square cut line down the face of the stick.

    Otherwise, there are occasionally encountered inconveniences as a result of the kerf, affecting layout of centerlines, and cutting of material in those locations. As these timbers are S4S, I'm not snapping centerlines along the entire timbers but coming in equally off of each arris and marking centers only where needed at each joint. If a centerline was needed, and a kerf was in the way, all one needs to do is move the line over some set amount away from the kerf. It's simply a reference after all.

    These drawbacks are minor compared to the benefit of having timber which maintains a non-cracked and non-checked surface quality as a result of the sewari process.


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