Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Japanese Woodwork

Japanese woodwork is well known for its strive for perfection, advanced joinery, and its planed wood surfaces. Japanese woodworkers generally work with soft wood instead of the commonly used hardwood. Japanese woodwork has 4 distinct categories that each have their own unique specialty. Miyadaiku is a type of Japanese woodwork that focuses on the construction of shrines and temples. These temples and shrine are built using advanced joinery like the butterfly joints, and the temples and shrines built seem to be the longest surviving wood structures in the world. Sukiya daiku focuses on teahouses and residential buildings like houses. These type of woodworkers are well known for aesthetic reasons as well as the use of rustic materials. Sashimonoshi is the term used for woodwork that focuses on furniture. An example of this type of woodwork would be pieces done by George Nakashima. Tateguya is Japanese woodwork that is used for interior finishing. These 4 main types of woodwork in Japan all require tools that are specifically used for Japanese woodwork.
4 main Japanese woodwork tools that differ from the standard Western tools are the Japanese saw, plane, and gimlet. The Japanese saw is differs in that instead of using a push stroke to cut, it uses a pull stroke and the saw blades are considered much thinner compared to the Western blades. There are two main types of cutting teeth on Japanese saws which is the yoko-noko-giri (rip) and the tate-noko-giri (cross cut). Combing these two teeth make the ryoba, which is the dual edge blade. Dozuki is a blade used by Japanese woodworkers to cut fine joinery like butterfly joints, and the Azebiki is used to saw in confined areas or start cuts in the middle of wood pieces.
The Japanese plane is another tool that differs from the Western tools. The Japanese plane commonly consists of a wooden block containing a laminated blade, sub blade, and securing pin. The support bed for the blade is convex instead of being flat like the western blades. Again this tool differs from the Western version because to operate it you pull instead of pushing. The yarigawa is the old fashioned Japanese plane that resembles a spear. This plane is used for large circular columns or where an unsophisticated look is desired.
The Japanese have a wider variety of chisels than Western woodwork. Some chisels are the bench, paring, striking, heavy timber, and slicks. Each chisel has their own unique function and are used for different type of wood pieces. Some chisels are used for removing large while others are used to make sharper angles in the timber. The Japanese gimlet is a tool used to make a mortise by drilling circular holes in the wood. This tool is one of the most difficult to master in Japanese woodwork. Japanese also have a wide variety of hammers that are used in woodwork. There are 18 different types of hammers used, each with their own unique specialty. The Japanese tend to have a wide variety of tools each with a specific design, for example the chisel and the hammer.
The Japanese differ from the western woodwork through their various tools and techniques. Joints also tend to differ because the Japanese use an advanced type of joinery when it comes to building buildings and furniture. The Japanese display patience and strive for perfection when it comes to woodwork. They also are well known for their unique designs and creativity. The wood pieces are not only creative but also well made and built wood structures that are known to be the worlds longest surviving structures.

1 comment:

Shannon Wright said...

Good research, Andrew. I am trying to figure out how to bring out a specialist in Japanese style hand-tool woodworking for a workshop or something.