Gateway (51)

Post 51 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.


Moving along steadily….

Installed the tenoning stop on my Martin T20 – before getting my hands dirty, I managed to borrow a magnetic base drill press from a local machine shop:

Drilling and tapping for 8mmx1.25:


That sucker ain’t going anywhere! Once I’ve calibrated it, I can attach the ruler to the flat surface on the bar.

Still waiting on delivery of the tenoning heads. It was supposed to be today, but winter weather has delayed things.

Next step was to complete the sliding dovetail mortises on the main posts:

These joints are the means to attach the flanking posts to the main posts.

A look at a couple:

Yeah, a little blurry, but you get the idea.

Then on to the kasagi – here they are highlighted in red so you can see their place in the scheme of things:

Stock was re-jointed and planed, and ended up a hair (0.02″) under dimension for width, but it is okay:


Stock was end-trimmed and the rod mortises completed, then it was time to infill the stress relief kerfs:

Despite the fact that these sticks are free of heart center, and despite the relief kerfs, there was still a minor amount of face checking. Go figure. I put this down the the lesser grade of wood, but it goes to show that the kerfing eliminates almost all, but not all, degrade from drying. Very much worth doing, but do not expect 100% success. Wood isn’t that predictable.

The face checking was rather minor and I decided to fill them with the PL300 adhesive. The adhesive color is pretty close to the wood color, is waterproof, and is less visually disruptive than any patch I can imagine to follow a jagged irregular check line. We’ll see how it looks after planing I guess.

The rod mortises are extra long, and need only the shachi sen trenches cut to reach completion:


I set that aside with an electric blanket to let the adhesive cure, and paid a visit to the machine shop. The new kiosk stainless shoes have been fabricated:

The base plates will attach to a piece of 3/8″ mild steel using stainless bolts, and the mild steel plates in turn will be welded to existing steel in the foundation. It will be stronger than the original set up, won’t corrode, is easily demounted, and raises the wood several inches out of the ground, all with only a very minor change to the visual appearance. I feel this design revision is a success. Cost was about $1800.00

Another view:

Clean work by the metal fabricators – just what I wanted to see!

In another day or so the decorative bolt caps will also be completed, and then I can take the parts for powder coating. Another ‘tick’ off the list just a few days away….

All for today. I appreciate your visit as always and hope to see you here again. Post 52 is up next.

5 Replies to “Gateway (51)”

  1. Would you mind sharing an estimate of the overall material cost for this project? Seeing the price of these kiosk shoes made me think of the rest of the hardware, the stone foundation, the wood… then I started getting dizzy…

    Keep up the excellent work.


  2. LD,

    I appreciate the question however I'm not inclined to fill in all the blanks in that regard. I will say that i thought the price for the shoes was reasonable, considering the work that went into them, and that price includes other components not pictured above.


  3. I'm pretty sure, if you read 'Letters to Theo', Vincent lists the cost of brushes, canvas and paint, but it has nothing to do with the quality of the work.


  4. Well, all I can say is that I hope I do not end up like Van Gogh, suffering from fits of despair and hallucination, punctuated with periods of extreme visionary ecstasy, and shoot myself in the chest with a revolver.

    Material prices are kinda what they are, and I'm not the sort who will devote much time to bargain hunting in that regard. I worked out a budget for this project and so long as the material costs more or less conform to plan I'm fine with it. It is only when the price of a material rises suddenly and unexpectedly that I would have cause for concern. Of far more import generally is that the material can be provided in the desired quality, and, most importantly, in a timely manner. I'm finding that sourcing quality materials is an increasing challenge. Finding sub-contractors to also supply high quality stuff is also difficult at times, and when I find someone who can produce good stuff, I tend to stick with them.


  5. That is perfectly fine, of course. Just to clarify, I did not mean that the price was excessive or anything like that. I would not be qualified to judge. This type of crazy (I mean that in the best possible way) high quality monumental work is so far removed from what the average hobbyist woodworker deals with that I truly have no idea of what would be a fair price. It was just a bit of mild curiosity, which you are fully entitled not to satisfy. The amount of information you take the time to share here is already staggering. I would be a fool to complain.


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