Screen Play – Completion!!

Sometimes it’s hard to believe one has reached a destination, a brief stop along the Way, but here we are. Dazed and confused, maybe a little bruised, perhaps.

29th and final post in this step-by-step account of the design and construction of a Japanese free-standing screen, or tsuitate. Thanks for hanging in there!

It was a longish day today that went quite well all around. At this point, I’m feeling pretty expansive and satisfied with the whole thing now that I can take a break, have a beer and unwind. I think assembling a piece without any glue was part of that, as it dropped the usual stress surrounding that process to zero.

There were a myriad of minor tasks to deal with before assembly. Here’s a partial rundown:

I tested the fit of the pegs in the tenon mortises, and made a couple of minor trims as a result – it never hurts to double-check these sorts of things:


The pins are Bubinga.

I finish-planed the kōshi ita:

And then there was the matter of applying my maker’s mark, which I make in a stylized form of a Chinese Bellflower, kiku, coming out of a pentagonal frame. The pentagon ring is Gabon Ebony, along with the center of the flower, while the petals are Bubinga:


Panning back a few inches, here’s a view of the mark installed into one of the feet – the process of making the flower and installing it took a full day:


One of today’s satisfying moments was driving the pegs home while tie the feet to the sill and frame uprights:


I dip the pegs in vegetable oil to ease their pathway. Once the peg is home, I use a flush-cut saw on the backside to trim it. It comes out looking like this on the outside face:


The other part of the assembly I was looking forward to was the part where I lock together the frame corners. Here’s the start of that process:


Once the miters are together, in go the wedges, tap-tap-tap-tap-ping!:


Fully seated:


Then I trim them:


Then I work the surfaces of both frame members true to one another using various files and chisels:


When it is all cleaned up, on goes the oil – here’s how one corner came out:


If I use the flash, the picture turns out quite differently:


So, that was that. Here’s the tsuitate then, all together at last – first one side:


And then the other side:


Worm’s eye view:


I’ve still got a minor amount of work with a little more finish oiling here and there, maybe another hour of pottering around. Soon enough I’ll get some decent photos taken so I can add it to my portfolio.

Otherwise, that’s it. What’s next?

Thanks for coming by today to see what is what. Your comments are always welcome.