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Blog entry by posted 07-17-2007 03:28 AM 1168 reads 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch


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View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4428 days

#1 posted 07-17-2007 03:57 AM

Practising woodwork for a long time and you can become proficient.

Great Pictures about a culture that not many of us know anything about.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4342 days

#2 posted 07-17-2007 04:33 AM


View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

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#3 posted 07-17-2007 07:57 AM

Simply amazing….any idea of what kind of wood they are made of?

-- Bob

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4188 days

#4 posted 07-17-2007 12:02 PM

“Masters” of their trade.
And then we disregard all of what they know and try to do it better. Ha… or maybe it’s just about making it easier.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View 's profile

593 posts in 4000 days

#5 posted 07-17-2007 12:34 PM

Yes Bob, it’s called Camphor Laurel AKA Cinamomum Camphora if you are into latin ;o) (

I also forgot to tell you that, interestingly enough, the island is renowned for its maple trees. It’s all covered in maple forests and all the typical souvenirs include the momiji shape (hear hear Debbie, momiji is the japanese name for the maple leaf and it’s pronounced moh-MEE-jee).

One of the most famous souvenirs being the carved spoons, albeit much simpler than the traditional Welsh love spoons.

PS: I’m sorry for the couple of typos I made in the original post, I just realized that.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4188 days

#6 posted 07-17-2007 01:24 PM

I have lots of momiji in my front yard :0

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 4233 days

#7 posted 07-17-2007 02:08 PM

Hello Jojo;
—-again great story and fantastic photos!

I also noticed that you mentioned how the island is renowned for it’s maple trees, so i have some questions. Since there is so much maple wood around, do the workers of wood use ‘spalted maple’ in their furniture? And also, are the maple trees taped for maple syrup?

Also when you make mention about the repairs to the timbers, I would guess you are referring to various types of scarf joints….?

Thank you.

-- --frank, NH,

View 's profile

593 posts in 4000 days

#8 posted 07-17-2007 04:50 PM

Thank you Frank,

The short anwer to your questions is: no and no.

Now for the long one.

Nobody uses spalted maple here, at least not that I ever seen or heard of. Actually the local variety of the maple tree is a smaller one -not surprisingly: is japanese!- with smaller leaves too. They barely reach two inches in size.

The most used fine woods here are kiri (japanese paulownia), wich is a clear, relatively straigh-grained, extremely lightweight and expensive wood, cedar, cypress, nara (a variety of japanese oak), chestnut and mulberry, not to forget take, better known as bamboo ouside Japan. Also, when the cabinets are lacquered, plywood or veneered composite panels are commonly used.

The Japanese taste for aesthetics tends to make use of clean, simple long straight-grained woods, either very clear or very dark in color.

No maple syrup is produced locally, wich makes our weekly Sunday morning pancakes-breakfast treat freakin expensive. Because it’s sold in small $5,00 200 cc bottles, of course.

Mind you, around 3/4 of the forests in Japan are privately owned and labor costs don’t make it profitable as an activity, specially due to the almost inexistent internal consumption. I guess that nobody but us the gaijin (foreigners) eat that stuff.

The repairs to the timber consist mainly in sealing the unstable knots, defects or cracks by cutting off around them and then inserting a block of solid wood in place. Some are a few inches wide, some are maybe 6 ft long by 10 in wide. Here is my thousand words worth (notice that I’ve enhanced the contrast to make them more visible because in real life they’re quite hard to spot):

Also as a bonus I’ve attached a picture of one of the hardwood floors of the main building you see in the first photo of my original post. It’s exactly the same kind of repair.

No, it’s not a cheesy repair. This floors are almost mirror polished by the thousands of people that walk them every single day and that takes it’s toll on the wood.

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4189 days

#9 posted 07-17-2007 05:19 PM

Great pictures and story JoJo. I am looking forward to seeing more of your adventures, as well as the typical Japanese woodwork and stories.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View Joel Tille's profile

Joel Tille

213 posts in 4272 days

#10 posted 07-17-2007 05:21 PM

Great craftsmanship – thanks for posting it. It is nice to see woodworking from around the world. We can always learn new tecniques from craftsman that may do something different. I also have a momiji that shades the porch on our shop.

Also welcome to LJ’s. It is nice to

-- Joel Tille

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4024 days

#11 posted 07-18-2007 07:33 AM

And, I guess you could say that I live in the Momiji neighborhood of Seattle…

Another really good blog post Jojo – keep it up!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View 's profile

593 posts in 4000 days

#12 posted 07-18-2007 12:10 PM

Thanks Bill, Joel & Dorje.

It is indeed a display of fine craftsmanship that you see anywhere you look at.

May I ask in which part of SEA is it Dorje?

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4024 days

#13 posted 07-19-2007 02:13 AM

We’re in North Seattle…

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

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593 posts in 4000 days

#14 posted 07-19-2007 02:22 AM

Interesting, I spent some time in Shoreline and have friends there and all around (Mountlake Terrace, Camano Island…).

Once we’ll move in I will definitely make you a visit to talk wood and what-not.

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4024 days

#15 posted 07-19-2007 04:09 AM

Sounds good to me – how long are you in Japan for?

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

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