Gateway (68)

Post 68 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.


More side door shenanigans today. Well, not so much, it all went fairly smoothly. I just felt like it was time to use the word ‘shenanigans’ in a sentence. Please forgive my indulgence.

My shop neighbor mentioned the idea of putting something in the lock mechanism’s mortise to seal the end grain in case water gets inside, which I thought was a very good idea. So, I mixed up some 5-minute epoxy and coated the lower end grain wall of the mortise. After that was dried, I set the latch in place with two stainless screws:

A look down the rabbit hole(s):

The front face of the lock goes on next:

Then the lock cylinder, which screws into place:

It took a little trial and error yesterday to figure out how to install the cylinder properly so that it connects to the deadbolt tumbler, however today I already felt like an old pro in that regard:

Once the cylinder is to the correct depth and rotational position, I could check operation of the deadbolt:

Then the inner door lock plate could be attached, and I could check the operation of the deadbolt from the inside:

Then on to fitting the hinges – I used a few gauge blocks to set depth, along with the copper pipe to check alignment :

Then the fixing pin could be driven down:

After that, the hinge decorative plate was affixed to the side of the stile with two stainless screws.

I should mention that prior to all the hardware going on, I did some final touch up of surfaces with a plane, and gave the door three coats of Sirca’s ‘Waxy Impregnator’ treatment. It is easy to apply, has next to no VOC’s, and dries quickly. It gives a real ‘close to the wood feel’. It is good for about a year outdoors before it must be touched up, which is fine since I will be maintaining the gate on a yearly basis as part of my contract with the Museum.

The door is complete now save for trimming the horns on the stiles to final length. Here’s the inside face of the door:

A closer look at one of the hinges:

The little screw on top allows for easy oiling or greasing.

The front face of the door:

The shadow from the door handle is making it looking like it’s all dirty there, which is not the case.

I really like these bronze decorative nails, which are two-piece affairs:

A closer look at one of the decorative hinges, hassō kanamono, and one of the adjacent decorative nails:

A look at the door lock area:


It felt good to complete something!

On to the main doors now. The framing is complete, as regular readers here will know, however the panels needed surfacing yet. Some readers have asked to see a video clip of the surfacer in action, and I thought I’d oblige, however with the caveat that the way I’m using the surfacer for this is not typically how I use it.

You see, the panels are close to the size limit for the machine, and in order to feed them through I actually have to remove one of the board guiding bars. This makes auto-return function a little less predictable, so I elected to feed the panels through only in one direction, which requires I shuffle along real quick like to grab the board at the other end. Normally I would use auto return and just stand in one place feeding the wood as required. The knives, as we are close to full cutting width and I cannot so precisely guide the board through the machine, are turned at a full 90˚ to the direction of feed. Normally I’d have them skewed with narrower material for a more slicing cut.

Anyway, here’s a short vid:

A while later, I noticed things were getting a wee bit backed up on the exit side:

One way to make an accordion I guess:

This machine has saved me so much time and does such a great job! These shavings are with the machine having zero skew to the blade, and using one knife instead of the two it has. I was impressed.

One thing I’ve concluded is that I have not had any regrets over the years buying good equipment, even if the cost/trouble gave me pause at the outset.

That’s all for this round. Look for another post tomorrow. Thanks for coming by the Carpentry Way. Click on the bold text to go to post 69.

10 Replies to “Gateway (68)”

  1. Chris
    Beautiful piece if work !! Do the nails pierce the battens ? If so, do they restrict the wood movement ?

    Glad to hear you will be looking after the baby !


  2. Tom,

    thanks for your comment. Yes, the nails do penetrate into the battens, and they should, by all rights, restrict wood movement in the panel. This is how things were done on the old gate, including having the screws fastened underneath the decorative nail caps. Also the hinge plates are similarly fastened and should also restrict movement. One would think this would lead to a chance of the wood splitting somewhere, however that did not happen anywhere on the old gate, though there were a few spots where the nails had fallen out, possibly also due to corrosion since they were mild steel. I was a bit surprised by this actually.

    I'm thinking/hoping that the nails themselves and the surrounding wood deforms enough to permit movement in the panels. We'll see.

    If I had the option, I would rather have left both the decorative nails and the decorative hinge plates off of the doors entirely, however it is important to the Museum that the new gate look as similar as possible to the old gate. I argued long and hard to leave the decorative hinge plates off – partly because I didn't think I could obtain something suitable in bronze (not wanting mild steel if at all possible), and partly because they serve no structural purpose and may lead to panel splitting down the line, however I lost that battle.


  3. Hello Chris

    How do You adjust door after the installation to get perfect fit with frame etc. Such a big door needs some regulation bolts or something like that.
    Best regards

  4. Hello Priit,

    there is no adjustment – it has to fit right the first time. Keep in mind though that this type of door does not situate within a surrounding frame, but comes against the back of existing framing. So it is somewhat tolerant of a little misalignment I suppose.


  5. looks lovely with the hardware on there, though…and i appreciate the detail of the tip of the deadbolt patination so as not to be distracting when the door is open…or is it the detail of leaving the rest of it bright to catch the eye and prevent closing it accidentally while extended?

  6. Dave,

    it's simple – they patinate the exposed parts. Those areas exposed to any wear from movement, along with internals, are not patinated – it's not something done just for visual effect.


Anything to add?

error: Content is protected !!
%d bloggers like this: