Gateway (30)

Post 30 in an ongoing series describing the design and construction of a kabukimon, a type of Japanese gate. This is a project for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. 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.

Beavering away here – all tooth and fang, you know how it goes. Not much to show in terms of major changes in appearance to any of the parts, but many minor tasks have been completed.

The nose pieces are done, save for trimming the ends:

The piece of plywood at the right of the picture was a gauge used to judge the slot mortise depth.

This picture shows the final shape of the stub tenons, mechi-hozo:

Another view:

The stub tenons must be cut a little shorter in height then their receiving mortises, so as to allow for the nose sections to move seasonally. I allowed 1/8″ (3mm) on the tops of the lower mechi, and 1/8″ on both ends of the upper mechi. In the picture above, the upper mechi are closest to view.

Work on ‘filling in’ the stress relief kerfs (the preceding term in single quotes being a nod to a request from a reader – a notorious troublemaker I might add :^)) on the main posts continues:

Thick shavings get these fill pieces worked down to the surfaace more quickly, after which the depth of cut is reduced considerably.

Another pic, much the same, for the heck of it:

I was enjoying my Kenkon plane today, a plane made by the famous smith Usui Kengo, now deceased. It seems that Funatsu-san has taken up his mantle, and indeed is forging some stellar blades using a type of Sandvik steel which was collected by Usui-san in the Shōwa era. There are steels which were produced by certain mills at certain junctures of history which were never made again. If these steels proved to be excellent for edged tools, then they are precious assets indeed, and difficult to source. Blacksmiths often hoard such things.

After these areas are cleaned off the fill-in strips more or less fade into obscurity:

Another view:

Today I trimmed the mortises in the posts to the lines and used a go/no go gauge to size the somewhat vast mortises for their associated tenons. Here I’m trimming the end grain of one of the stub tenons flanking the main mortise:

More of the same:

And yet more:

I also completed the hammerhead slot mortises for the kasagi beams (not illustrated – forgot to take pictures).

At the end of the day I did some more filling in on the bottoms of both of the posts in preparation for mortising tomorrow, and tucked them in for the night with an electric heating blanket:

The blanket has been working well to cure the epoxy glue in a timely manner.

Also I took the plunge and ordered two custom Zuani tenoning heads for my shaper. These will be made in Italy. They were spendy, but they will enable me to cut the door rails for this project, which have quite deep twin tenons, in a single pass. The heads should be ready by the end of the month~first week of February.

All for today, thanks for visiting! Post 31 anyone?

7 Replies to “Gateway (30)”

  1. I have some live oak, a bit of persimmon, and most treasured, a piece of Gaboon ebony with the adze marks on it from dubbing off the sapwood in the 30's or 40's.


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