Gateway (53)

Post 53 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.


I think I will rename my shop the ‘Ice Fortress’. Damn cold in there today! I worked about half a day, moving in what seemed like slow motion, and decided I’d had quite enough by 2:00pm. I managed to complete the work on the kasagi, so that felt like a good accomplishment with which to end the day. Besides, it’s valentine’s day and my wife and I are going to make ourselves some sushi for dinner, and I had some groceries to go and get.

Here are the two pieces after beveling has been completed on the shaper:

After shaping, I found I had some minor cracks in the upper surface of one piece (left), so I troweled a bit of PL300 in there. The piece that broke off in yesterday’s shaping work, right at the tip of the bevel, turned out to be rather more minor once the end of the sticks had been end trimmed to the required bevel. So, no patching work is going to be required.

Here are the ends of the kasagi which connect to the main posts:

A look at one of the rod mortises with abutments for shachi-sen now cut:

Sorry about the blurry photo!

Here, I’m trying to provide a view of the overall shape and sweep of the pieces:

Although there are few loose ends to clean up, chamfering, finish planing, patching, etc., the framing cut out for the gate is basically done. Next will be the door fabrication.

I lugged one of my new Zuani tenoning heads to the shop, along with the extra middle disc which allows me to cut two shapes of tenon with the same head:

Now that’s a chunk of metal! And damn sharp – has to be handled carefully. I’ve already sacrificed some blood….

Here’s the additional cutting disc, with 58mm bore:

This head is close to maximum size for my shaper and its tenoning hood, at 340mm:

A look at the insert knives:

Unfortunately, there has been a slight snag in the proceedings. I ordered the heads with a 1.5″ bore to fit my shaper’s tenoning spindle. They came with 1.25″ bore instead. It was a detail that had been missed on the drawings, though several sets of eyes had looked them over. These things happen, however when I discovered the issue I was’t feeling especially philosophical about it, let’s put it that way.

Having received these expensive tenoning heads with the wrong bore size might have been a minor disaster save for one fortunate fact about the design of this type of tenoning head. The tenon discs themselves mount on a 58mm steel sleeve, and inside that sleeve is mounted a second sleeve which is sized to fit the spindle on the shaper. That second interior sleeve can be readily swapped out. So, I simply need to wait a few more days yet as some 1.5″ interior sleeves are being made in Italy on Monday and will be express shipped to me. I should have them later this week and it will just take a few minutes to swap the sleeves over. Whew! I could have probably run them on the 1.25″ spindle, but for such large tools as these I really felt more comfortable with them spinning on the stouter spindle.

I would like to commend Greg and Chris at Rangate Tooling for their excellent customer service and very prompt assistance to me with this issue – seriously, they couldn’t have been any more helpful to me. It was a great relief to learn that the problem could be so easily and quickly solved.

The tooling came with a couple of sample pieces to prove the tenoning heads cut the wood as required. This one is for the connection between the main door rails and the hinge-side stiles:

The cutter for the one above is the one still in the box. It’s a triple-decker of cutting discs, and the additional disc I have interchanges with the one in the middle of that stack.

This one is for the rails where they meet the outer door stiles:

The cutter you see a few pics above does the above shape.

These are just samples – the actual tenons are going to be cut 123mm (4.84″) long to fit the 120mm wide stiles. The doors on this project are in metric, while the rest is in inch-scale because the door hardware from Japan is all metric-sized. I’m comfortable working in both systems.

The other tenoning head will cut the twin tenons for the side door. I haven’t opened that box yet.

While I wait for the replacement sleeves, I can spend the next few working days mortising the door rails. I’m also waiting on a purchase order to come through from the MFA so I can get the commemorative gifts completed.

Thanks for visiting the Carpentry Way. Comments always welcome. Post 54 is up next.

Anything to add?