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Japanese Woodworking Joints

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Forum topic by frank posted 2634 days ago 31476 views 6 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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frank

1492 posts in 2711 days


2634 days ago

Hello everyone;
I am starting this topic to deal with the art of hand cutting; “Japanese Joinery Technique”, or if you want to go there, machine cutting such as by bandsaw….

This is a topic that intrigues and fascinates me and also is an area I am exploring into and wanting to learn more of. When I say that I can hand cut butterflies, half-laps, dovetails, scarfs—-bladed scarfs just to name some joints, I am totally left scratching my head when I am told, that there are some four hundred japanese woodworking joints. To some of these, the way has already been lost and to the masters who can still make many of them,.... well, I am afraid they don’t tell or talk much of the way.

So what I am asking is; are there any out there who can share in the names of some of these joints and the how too of the doing? Pictures of the joints, books, drawings, sketches and websites would also be welcome. I am not so much interested in what you have heard, but if you know the ‘how of the way’ or the ‘zen of the joint’, then I am all ears to hearing from you.

I’m enclosing a link I found yesterday while surfing with Dr. Google and will post that link, however I must say that I have had trouble getting this page to load right when using ‘Firefox’, so I would suggest using ‘Internet Explorer’: http://www.eurus.dti.ne.jp/~k-yazawa/english.htmll, and then click on ‘Yazawa’s Work: Original Joint Work;—-”Box with Diamond Shaped Paper-thickness Joint”.This is only one of many joints I have been studying as of lately and find truly beautiful and yet fully functional as useful.

To the masters and students of this type of art, I can only say that what you create is truly a work of art!
Thank you.
Frank

-- --frank, NH, http://rusticwoodart.tumblr.com/


31 replies so far

View Don Mitchell's profile

Don Mitchell

40 posts in 2641 days


#1 posted 2634 days ago

There are some pretty insane joints on that page! I’m pretty sure I don’t have the kind of patience it would require to cut many of them! I’ve seen several books on japanese joinery on Amazon but I’m not sure they cover those types of joints. Some of those joints look like the guy came up with them himself.

-- Don

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 2816 days


#2 posted 2634 days ago

Those are some neat joints. Some look like exagerated finger or box joints, while others indicate a lot of time involved in the design and cutting of the shapes.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Karson's profile

Karson

34798 posts in 2906 days


#3 posted 2634 days ago

Ah they look easy. NOT! But he probably thinks they are easy. A cut here, A cut there. And push them together. Are you sure those joint weren’t made with just sawdust and epoxy glue.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 2742 days


#4 posted 2634 days ago

I really liked the “finger joints”. Makes the dovetail look bad. But til everyone sees these I’ll stick with it, til I perfect it (which may be …never)

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scottb

3648 posts in 2832 days


#5 posted 2634 days ago

Hmm, and those “finger Joints” are on a “safe box”... perhaps more of a hint on a puzzle box?

I think I saw a site like this that showed how (or at least hinted enough) at doing what I can only think to call a ‘double dovetail’ where the box or drawer cannot be pulled apart once assembled, and it more or less assembles on the diagonal.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

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Obi

2213 posts in 2742 days


#6 posted 2634 days ago

No, the joints looked like a hand with 1,3, 4 and 5 fingers. It was box #6 on the original joints link

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Karson

34798 posts in 2906 days


#7 posted 2634 days ago

Scott: I’ve seen something like that also. You get one shot. Kind of like using a wedge in a blind tenon once you push it in you can’t get it out. I tried that once on a gavel that I made and I had to hit the gavel on the floor hard to drive the handle into the round mortice. It didn’t split and it went all the way in so I guess I was good to go.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

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scottb

3648 posts in 2832 days


#8 posted 2634 days ago

Yes I saw that one Obi… was on two seperate trains of thought there. Pretty cool. That and the scissors joints, not my idea of fun or easy.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View TruckGuy's profile

TruckGuy

10 posts in 2643 days


#9 posted 2634 days ago

All I can say is WOW! I can imagine the amount of patience it must take to master that joinery.

The urushi finish work is awesome too.

-- Russ - Bloomingdale, IL

View Don's profile

Don

2598 posts in 2682 days


#10 posted 2634 days ago

I believe that a number of these joints trick the eye. The ones that look impossible usually do so because we are locked into a way of thinking that depends on our past experience making joints. What look like a joint that slide together on one way actually fits together entirely differently.

Here’s how he does one of his joints.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://dpb-photography.me/

View Shawn's profile

Shawn

225 posts in 2658 days


#11 posted 2634 days ago

party pooper…though VERY helpful

-- Cheers

View frank's profile

frank

1492 posts in 2711 days


#12 posted 2634 days ago

—-and then I also dicovered that one of our own LumberJocks; Tony Ward is linked from the above website of Kintaro YAZAWA.

I also found this link by Tony Ward: www.forums.woodnet.net/ubbthreads/printthread.php?Cat=&Board=UBB8&main=2718398&type=thread

Great work.
Frank

-- --frank, NH, http://rusticwoodart.tumblr.com/

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 2679 days


#13 posted 2633 days ago

Not only are his small boxes amazingly well crafted, but even his workbench has such joinery, as well (check out the opening page, where he’s hammering at the bench…).

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com

View Dollarbill's profile

Dollarbill

91 posts in 2643 days


#14 posted 2632 days ago

Frank, I have the Time Life series of “The Art of Woodworking”. One of the series is entitled “The Handbook of Joinery”. The book doesn’t give instructions on the Japanese joinery but has about four pages of excelent drawings of about twelve of the very complicated joints. Try the libarery.

Make Dust,
Bill

-- Make Dust

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 2816 days


#15 posted 2631 days ago

Don, nothing gets past the guys down under, does it? Interesting joinery, isn’t it?

-- Jesus is Lord!

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