Gateway (42)

Post 42 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.


The big storm came and went and we got off fairly lightly in Western MA with only 6~8″ of snow. It had remained rather cold however. I declined to look at the thermometer in my shop today, and kept a portable space heater close by.

I spent the morning going over various drawing details at home, and the afternoon in the shop doing layout and cut out. Today’s buzz-sawing and axe work involved what I am calling the wall posts:

I call them ‘wall posts’ simply because they are closest to the concrete garden walls. The post on the left in the view above is framing a fixed panel and has a mud sill at the base, while the post on the right is framing the side door opening. So there are some differences in the joinery arrangements accordingly.

The layout took a while, and after double-checking the layout, I brought out the marking knife and incised the appropriate lines. As I wrapped that up, I thought to myself, “perhaps I should get some sort of knifetime achievement award?”.

Yeah, I know, lame, but I had to try.

Anyway, the post tops will have double hammerhead tenons, and I bucked off half of the waste to start.

I’ll leave the tenoning work for later however.

On to the mortising – the hollow chisel mortiser was fitted with a 15mm bit and I went to town:

Mortise rough cutting complete on the two wall posts:

These mortises are for the header beams.

A while later I had the mortises cleaned up:

A closer view:

The hammerhead portions of the mortises were also completed:

Then the mortises on the bottom of one wall post for the mud sill connection were also done:

The threaded rod mortise on the center of the end grain has been elongated, not by accident fortunately. The elongation will help facilitate assembly later on.

All for today – thanks for visiting the Carpentry Way. Ready for the next one?: Post 43

6 Replies to “Gateway (42)”

  1. Since this work is being done in such low temperatures, do you anticipate any issues with the joinery when it becomes warm and humid? Will there be a lot of paring to get things to fit once the timbers swell?

  2. Hi tico,

    good to hear from you.

    The gate is being installed in the third week of March, if all goes according to schedule, and the relative humidity then is pretty much the same as it is right now. Also, the timbers are dry to 10~12%, so when I cut into a stick I am not exposing wet wood to the air and having to deal with shrinkage in the days and weeks afterward. Therefore, I do not anticipate issues with fitting the joinery.

    Low temps in this part of MA do not correspond strictly to low humidity. The least humid time of the year is actually the third week of April, and the months from September to late March have pretty consistent RH levels day and night.


  3. That POC is some fantastic looking material. I am super jealous of the mortiser. Keep up the fantastic work!

  4. Thanks Cole.

    Some of the POC is awesome, like the wall post and rear post stock, while other pieces are less awesome. Fair enough, I ordered #2BTR for some pieces and in many cases (not all) obtained a better grade of stock from the mill.


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