Japanese wood joinery

Japanese Wood Joinery: Features and Tools

Japanese Woodworking Joints

Japanese carpenters aim to work with nature rather than against it. Wood is considered a living tissue that expands and contracts with the environment and takes on a second life in the structures it becomes. They typically use wood from local trees that have died from natural causes, respect the natural curvature of the wood, and maintain nature in order by using woodcut from the sturdy base of the trees to form the base of the structures. In other words, structures are created around the natural elements of wood rather than turning wood into structures. Traditional Japanese structures and furniture are held together by wooden joints. Without using a single screw, nail, bolt, or other metal hardware, Japanese carpenters use carpentry (wood-to-wood joining) or commonly known as Japanese wood joinery to build ornate Buddhist furniture, homes, and temples with the strength and durability to withstand hundreds of years. Everything is held in place with compression: sealing the joint against the end grain of the wood recess. By using this natural technique, the structures are much stronger and more flexible. The joints accept the movement of the building rather than split apart, allowing them to easily withstand the destructive earthquakes so common in Japan. While this traditional approach is fundamentally straightforward, carpenters need to be meticulous when carving wood to ensure that each piece fits together perfectly. This is especially difficult considering the use of traditional Japanese hand tools. Today we see traditional Japanese wood joints techniques. Most of them are born from observations of nature itself, an example is an Isukatsu technique that resembles the open wings of a bird. This joining technique seeks the highest possible resistance as well as the highest efficiency. There are also variations of the technique to give it more beauty, for example, if the joint could be seen in monks' rooms where the wooden joints were cared for to give it more beauty. It is a pity that these Japanese Joinery techniques are being lost, in fact, it has cost a lot of work to find information and to be able to document it. Good woodworking is even more important than its own durability or physical-mechanical characteristics.

Japanese Woodworking Tools

Mentioned below are some of the Japanese wooden tools that are used to make Japanese joinery furniture and buildings: Japanese Saw (Nokogiri) Inkpot (Sumitsubo) - This Japanese tool is used to mark straight lines on different surfaces. Japenese Chisel (Nomi) - There are many different types of chisels having other blades. Usually, used to cut timber from different angles and in different shapes. Bamboo Pen (Sumisashi) - It is used for marking on the timber. Japanese Plane (Kanna) - This tool is a wooden block having blades and pin. Single-blade Marking tool (Kebiki) - It is a single-blade marking tool to mark on the wood. Multi-blade Marking tool (Kinshiro) - It is a multi-blade marking tool used to mark on the wood. Japanese Gimlet (Kiri) - This Japanese tool is used for drilling holes in the wood. Japanese Hammer (Genno) - There are many kinds of Japanese hammers; some are used to pull nails, some are used in chisel work and, others for positioning blades. Japanese Axe (Ono) Marking Knife (Kiridashi)

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