Playing with a Takumi Sumisashi

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by siavosh posted 03-16-2014 01:45 AM 2319 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been taking Jay van Arsdale’s class on Japanese woodworking, and one big theme in the class is to trust your layout lines. I’d been using an ink Precise pen for my layouts, but the tip kept getting distorted after a day’s use. This was probably because of my rough handling and probably because it’s designed for a smoother surface.

A very traditional and common Japanese layout tool is the Takumi Sumisashi which is simply a shaped bamboo marking stick used with ink dabbed in a silk/cotton wad. Since Jay seems pretty fond of them, I picked a couple up along with some ink and silk wadding. So far it’s been tough to get a consistent line going, but the wider surface area definitely feels more stable against a Japanese square. For straight lined layout, it looks promising over my rapidly depleting pen collection. Curious if anyone else has any experience with them.

-- -- Discover the most interesting woodworking blogs from around the world

5 comments so far

View ksSlim's profile


1276 posts in 2889 days

#1 posted 03-16-2014 03:05 AM

I use a marking knife, color in the groove left by the knife with a 0.3mm soft lead.
Old eyes have trouble with finding the knife cut.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View jumbojack's profile


1676 posts in 2623 days

#2 posted 03-16-2014 04:35 AM

I am all in for the marking knife also. Nothing I have found does a better job. Regular pencil on light, white pencil on dark wood. Knives dont roll off the bench either. They are a little tricky behind the ear.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3333 days

#3 posted 03-16-2014 08:55 AM

I also have the best luck with a marking knife and then coloring the line afterward with a pencil, or rubbing white chalk in the cut line on darker woods.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View thedude50's profile


3603 posts in 2477 days

#4 posted 03-16-2014 09:10 AM

yes the knife is King i also use the knife type of marking gauge the Titemark by Glen Drake TOOLS its simply the finest marking gauge made. I also use a Rob Cosman Dovetail Marking Knife and a nice little single bevel knife from Joseph Marples. i use a soft led mechanical pencil to shade in the lines ir a white led in walnut or oter dark woods like walnut

-- Please check out my new stores and

View siavosh's profile


674 posts in 1870 days

#5 posted 03-16-2014 08:23 PM

Thanks for the tips folks. I do use the knife marks for cut markings, but in the layout for class, there are a lot of ‘intermediate’ marks like the center line that are made before the cut lines are determined. Do you also use the knife+pencil for these as well?

-- -- Discover the most interesting woodworking blogs from around the world

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics