Gateway (65)

Post 65 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.

I spent a portion of today putting new knives in the Shinx Super surfacer, figuring out a couple new tricks along the way, and had it producing some nice shavings off of the door panels:

The machine can be adjusted to produce even thin shavings the full width of the board – these shavings are on the order of 0.07mm thick, about 3 thousandths of an inch:

I imagine it will do thinner shavings yet, however there was no immediate need to push in that direction.

The panels were then dadoed for a thin spline, which got glued into the middle panel only:

Then it was on to a round of jointing, edging, planing and dimensioning the boards for the main door panels:

Here’s the line up for the main doors – I’m surprised by the yellowish cast on some of the pieces, which reminds me of Yellow Cedar:


In other news…

Due to the presence of several woodworking shops in the building where I rent space, sales reps from various companies pop by every once in a while. I don’t have accounts or established relationships with any of them, however if they happen to be passing by my door and hear machinery running, they often come down, presumably to see if they can chat up a new customer.

This happened last week, when the rep for Richelieu Hardware came by. Richelieu is a Canadian company and I have some vague awareness of them, but have never purchased anything from them. The rep started in with the usual glad-handing patter as he tried to gauge me, and I cut him off early and said it was unlikely that I would be interested in too much they had for sale as most of what they likely sold, in my estimation at least, was geared for the usual market of shops producing stuff from sheet goods, be they face frame cabinets or system 32 cabinets, built-ins, etc.. I’m generally not in the market for euro door and drawer hardware, Hafele stuff, dowels, etc.. Undeterred, the sales rep told me he was sure that they had stuff I would need from time to time, at least, and asked me if I would take a look at their website. I said, okay, sure, I’ll take a look at your website.

Then, like a few other sales reps before him, as he took in the view of the various things under construction in my shop, told me, “wow, it’s nice to see someone working in solid wood – don’t see that very often”. Yes, I guess I am some sort of dinosaur, but it is funny how often I have heard that from sales people who visit lots of shops. He then started telling me a story for some reason about a really high-end house he had been in recently, how it was built on top of a hill and had a great view, and that it would be a “great place to.. (I’ll omit his actual phrasing)” and stare out into space. At that point I nodded then politely excused myself and got back to work. It’s interesting what people will say unprompted sometimes.

Anyway, I said I’d look at their website, and last I night I did so. As expected, not much of interest to me, and as I was looking through the index page I noticed they had a section for “tools”, and within that a section for “woodworking tools”. Clicked on that and found a further sub section called ‘Plane’. Now, I would not expect there to be anything whatsoever in that section of interest to me, however I was dead wrong.

Feast your eyes on this, the ‘Artisan Planing Bench Set’:

At first I thought the video, with crackling fire in the background, was surely some sort of parody, however it became clear to me that it was not intended to be humorous, upon which realization I found a moment of great hilarity. Even my wife was cracking up.

Believe it or not, for those iconoclasts out there, they sell a version of the same set with a ‘kanna’.

OMG! This is too funny! And yet sad at the same time….

It is not uncommon see a lot of wood shops, even factories, where there are a few old hand planes on display against the wall, or in the office, never actually used, but having the purpose of conveying a link to ‘tradition’, but this is a new level (sub-basement?) where the hand plane has become a sort of conversation piece/toy/gizmo. Maybe they should develop a line of ‘Artisan’ mini chisels, mini saws, mini gimlets?

These ‘Artisan Planing Bench Set’ are meant for the ‘collector market’, so I’m sure they’re getting snapped up lickety-split. Who knows, maybe a bidding war has already begun? You’d better hurry if you want to get in on the action. What a fine conversation piece, and a stress reducer too!

The presenter is dead right though when he mentions that few people had ever experienced what it is like to pull a plane over some wood, and to be fair, if the ‘Artisan Set’ turns someone on to hand planes, all good.

Thanks for visiting the Carpentry Way. Next up: post 66

12 thoughts on “Gateway (65)

  1. This guy is a genius, after a few strokes maybe you will be able to play the guitar that's in the background. I'm going to market my new product – “bowl o' dirt” so you can feel what it's like to be a farmer.

  2. Chris, did I ever mention that I struggled living in Quebec as a wannabe craftsman? Oh boy.

    This company is located 45m from where I live. Since my first days as a young man who wanted to know about woodworking, I've encountered things like that around here. The first kataba I bought when I was 16 was a Z-saw in the greatest woodworking place in Montreal, called Langevin-Forest. They slogan is ''les connaisseurs du bois'' wich is a joke in itself. I brought the experienced seller two types of blades (a rip and a crosscut) and asked him what was the difference (I had sincerely no idea), and was told that they were different styles made for different people. I had to try them both and choose the one I though fit my hand better.

    When I see the likes of this little ''artisan planing beam'', I'm filled with respect for the cheapest of 2x building and poorly assembled melamine cabinetry companies. It might be cheap work, but it's still a lot more honest.

    The video kind of has a certain artistic value though…

  3. Ah, you share his deep understanding of appealing products. Perhaps you could also develop lines such as 'bag 'o rocks', and 'bundle 'o sticks'?


  4. Oh, I've been using it here and there, however the machine is going to get used heavily over the next couple of weeks as I move into final stages of the build.


Anything to add?