Gateway (38)

Post 38 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.

This post series is likely to go on for a while yet. Will it see 100 posts perhaps?

I was interviewed, for some unaccountable reason, by the magazine Woodworker’s Journal. They asked me about my background and that sort of thing. I mumbled a few answers as best I could, rambled on pointlessly otherwise, and the editor there, Joanna, did a great job making sense of it. The article can be found here.


A video clip next to show some umeki fitting work on one of the main posts, followed by planing down the infill and smoothing off the surface:

I’m learning from these video clips. Best to wait until background noises have ceased before pressing ‘record’, for one thing. I will admit I’m looking a tad scruffy – verging on the ‘vagrant’ aesthetic. Jeez.. Maybe time for a shave huh? Okay, that’s taken care of now. Time to spiff up with some fresh duds, add some background music….

Or not.

The umeki fitted on the main post front faces were a good fit, however the color wasn’t a perfect match. Given the options I had for umeki material, I am glad things worked out satisfactorily. The color difference will be a non-issue after a few weeks of sunshine. I wanted ‘invisible’, but fell short of that mark.

With the two main posts largely completed, I turned my attention to fitting the magusa to the kabuki, as mentioned in the previous post. These will be connected using 5 sliding hammerhead keys.

The mortising work complete:

The equipment you see to the right and in the background is my neighbor’s not mine.

A closer look at a mortise:

Another one:

The double hammerhead sliding keys were made from Burmese teak, offcuts of which I have no shortage:

I think it is an ideal choice as it is slightly denser than the POC, is a bit oily which makes it slide reasonably well, and is extremely rot resistant.

The five keys now fitted to the kabuki:

A check then to see that all five keys will insert into the corresponding mortises on the magusa:

Tomorrow I’ll fit the keys to the magusa, make up plugs, and cut the ‘T’-shaped tenons on the ends of the stick. That will complete the work on that piece, save for some chamfering and finish planing. After that, well, who knows what sort of trouble I can get in to?

Thanks for dropping by the Carpentry Way. Comments always welcome. Post 39? Why not…

13 Replies to “Gateway (38)”

  1. Chris;
    Love the sound of slicing wood! Why no background music, don't it make the day more enjoyable? Coming together nicely,

  2. Tom,

    good question. I don't know of any function for it other than as a stop for the tops of the door stiles. It does provide a tiny bit of additional support for the main beam.


  3. JT,

    I don't play music while I work since I am 100% focussed on the task at hand. If I were listening to music, then my attention would be partially diverted, and I might miss something or make a mistake as a result. The day is quite enjoyable – why would I want diversion from that? I'm not interested in having my mind elsewhere when I am engaged in what I love to do.


  4. Chris,
    Thanks as usual for the informative posts and video. And great article too! Cool to find out you're a BC boy!
    But what the heck is behind that round circle jig!?!? (1:30 in the video) Looks to be a massive slab of something…is that another piece of that bubinga!?
    Geez louise.

  5. Owen,

    yes that is a large slab of bubinga. it is the material left over from the 'Square Deal' projects, and is to be used for another project after the gate is done. It's a magnificent slice of wood.


  6. Nice article…could have been longer…wish she would have included a PET scan of Chris's brain when he was figuring out the braces on his French sawhorse.


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