Gateway (45)

Post 45 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.

Sunday, a time of rest, recuperation, reflection. A day to sleep in and be lazy perhaps.

I was looking forward to a day off today, however it seems another big snowstorm is rolling in, and with a foot of snow or more expected overnight, I’m unsure whether I will be able to make it to the shop tomorrow. So, I went and squeezed in a few hours of shop time today. I like going to the shop, so it was all good.

Here are 5 of the 7 remaining pieces to be tackled in the frame cut out, jointed, planed and at dimension, save for the middle piece:

The two leftmost pieces are the headers, then the sill for the paneled portion of the gate in the middle, and on the right are a couple of dovetailed battens for that paneled section.

An illustration from the interior garden side of the gate will better show the location of those two dovetailed battens:

While the original gate featured panels face-attached to simple battens using Phillips head screws and glue, covered over with decorative buttons, with the battens simply housed in the surrounding posts, my plan is to connect the panels to the battens with long sliding dovetails, and then connect the ends of the battens to the posts on each side using wedged half dovetails, or otoshi ari hozo shiguchi. This assembly will be considerably stiffer and stronger than what was done before, and has no nasty corroded frickin’ Phillips head screws to strip out years down the line. Do you know, I really don’t like those fasteners. :^)

Cut out on these two pieces went fairly quickly, and I was able to complete them save for the sliding male dovetail tenons:

I chose to make the half dovetails on the ends the bare type, without employing a stepped housing on the bottom, as these battens have no vulnerability to vertical loading. The long sliding dovetails connecting them to the panels will make them plenty stiff in resistance to any vertical loads (not that any such loads are expected), so the bare half dovetails will be quite adequate in their primary function, which is to tie the posts in to the panel assembly. A stepped housing would not improve that function any, so I chose to cut the simpler version of the joint.

I will tackle the sliding dovetail portion after the panels are cut out and mortised for the dovetail housings. I prefer to fit the males to the females in this case. Processing the male dovetails won’t take too long at all.

A view of the ends:

The slope on the upper surface is to help shed water, and I may also put a drip kerf on the underside just beyond the lower outside arris chamfer.

A view of the opposite end:

A short posting today. I brought a bunch of tools home for sharpening in case I am trapped here tomorrow by the storm. I was glad to get the project moved along today. Pretty much just 5 sticks to deal with in the framing now.

All for now, thanks for your visit! Next up is post 46

3 thoughts on “Gateway (45)

  1. tom,

    yeah, me too. I need to consider the use of them in this project balanced against traditional practice on these gates, and what is easily seen and what is not.


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