Japanese ink pot.
The Sumitsubo is the Japanese counterpart to our chalk line.
Here a drawing of how I wanted mine to look.
It is used to mark long straight lines on wood, and used together with the sumisashi (pen made of bamboo) the Sumitsubo was traditionally made by the carpenter himself, and where the Japanese tools in general are really simple and free of decoration, the Sumitsubo is usually a carved and even ornamented tool. It origins from China and perhaps this is why it has it’s form, or perhaps the Japanese woodworkers just needed this one piece to show his skills to the colleagues since he’s other tools were all simple and only the quality and making of the iron in the plane really made it stand out. At least it could provide a young carpenter or apprentice to show his skills and stand out if he could not afford the more expensive tools, but this is just me guessing.
I choose the fish shape because I once saw one with this shape, and found it a elegant and more simple shape than the often seen dragon by the well, and I have a soft spot for the ocean and the fish so it had to be so.
So as so often before this project is made of inexpensive wood, in fact a piece of beech found in my friends firewood pile.
Re sawing the firewood into a fairly straight sided piece of wood.
Just free handing since it will be shaped later.
With a pencil trying to imagine how it could look in plan and side view before I take some final decisions.
As you can see I try to play with different tail shapes, but I usually like to make the final lines in the cut and sanding, to follow and read the life of the wood, and where it want to bring me.
What is important is to make room enough for the wheel and the Ike (ink pot), this to make sure I will not cut or drill too deep later.
Once the shape is there, I mark the center so I am sure it will be relatively equal on both sides.
Could have carved out the holes for the Ike and the wheel but since I am still lazy and only have limited amount of energy a Forstner bit and a drill press comes in handy.
Set the deepness so it will not go deeper than needed, perhaps a little less than needed and then clean up later.
Drilling and the dust control is on (I usually always forget this).
Holes as close to each other as possible without the drill slips.
Larger hole, larger bit.
And the cleanup of the holes.
Now it’s getting fun, the first shaping, I use the band saw, and this is probably the moment where you can make the worst mistakes, so keep that tongue straight in the mouth.
And we have a fish!!!
(Or kind of…).
The real shaping starts, I like to use drawknife for rough shaping, spokeshave to close in, rasps and files.
My Supersander as always…
And then just sandpaper.
Thinking of Wayne and rolling out the carving tools.
No plan just that I want it simple and clear since I will color the Sumitsubo later and this will make the lines less visible.
A hole with a long drill for the line.
You can see I did not clean up the drilling marks in the pot and the hole for the wheel – later you will see why.
A dummy string and a dummy wheel to settle with the last design details.
Cutting a piece of wood for the wheel.
My lathe was not set up so it is faster.
And we have a wheel !!!
A hole in the center with an invisible drill…
On my quick and dirty circle sanding jig I round the wheel.
But you can also do this on your drill press, lathe or even by hand.
And with something under you can even chamfer the edges like this.
If you hold the wood gently against the sandpaper it will spin.
A screw through the wheel and a spin on the drill press – holding a file against the wood.
Now I can drill a hole for the pin for the wheel.
And put the handle through.
I made the handle simply by bending some brass rod , and a small piece of alu tube for the finger part.
We got a Sumitsubo – more or less.
Man I did it!
I will split the blog here for the once that have a slow web.
Press here for next part: http://lumberjocks.com/mafe/blog/25627
Japanese carpentry tools museeum:
Sumitsubo set up and use:
Hope this blog can inspire others to make a Sumitsubo, or perhaps just to have been an interesting reading for someone interested in the Japanese tool culture,
-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.