Asian Woodworking

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Blog series by JRL updated 1143 days ago 4 parts 12594 reads 10 comments total

Part 1: Luk Yu Teahouse

1143 days ago by JRL | 4 comments »

Please, no jokes about the name of this historic Hong Kong teahouse. I’m sure they could make a few cracks about how some English words come across in Cantonese, so why go there. The LY Teahouse was a real eye-opener to me as far as Chinese joinery is concerned. It was about the time of this visit that I began to realize ancient Chinese joinery—of course, all by hand—far surpasses most contemporary handwork, Eastern or otherwise. The art may have been snuffed out complete...

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Part 2: Indonesian Artisans

1143 days ago by JRL | 2 comments »

Just couldn’t believe what was being used for roadside vendor tables in Bali—6 to 8 inch beautiful slab tables! That would make for a dream workbench. Anyway, here are pictures of carvers, their wares and tools, at various points on a trip we made a couple years ago for our tenth anniversary. The final products they turn out are ornate. The chisels used there are often handle-free. Pounding the tang suffices. The anvil idea is innovative, as is the foot vise. ...

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Part 3: Indonesian Woodcraft

1143 days ago by JRL | 1 comment »

While touring Indonesia, we came upon these finely carved posts which were mortised for the framework of a new home. The diligence and patience to produce these trim pieces for soffits tells me a lot about the character of these craftsmen. The paneling pictured here is ordinary in Indonesia. CNC? What’s’ that? The chunk of ebony was my treasure find.

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Part 4: Tool Gifts

1143 days ago by JRL | 3 comments »

There had to have been some excellence in toolmaking in China’s imperial era. We can judge by the 2000 year old museum furniture—still in perfect condition—that hand craftsmanship was once as close to perfection as it can get. Well, what you have for hand tools today are pictured below. The Mujingfang tool company produces the best hand tools domestically. I do have some Muji planes and chisels that work quite well. Still, nothing here compares to what the Japanese are turn...

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