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Forum topic by MrRon posted 08-15-2016 06:43 PM 440 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MrRon

3926 posts in 2703 days


08-15-2016 06:43 PM

Again I was watching on U-tube how a Japanese furniture maker is making a small chest of drawers. His only tools were saws, planes, chisels and a hammer. The case appeared to be about 24” wide x 12” high x 8” deep. No fasteners were used; only glue; but the amazing thing I noticed was how perfect was the drawer fit to the carcass. I don’t know what kind of wood they use. His first operation was to take a slab of wood that had a “cup” to it. He began on the “cup side up” and hand planed the 2 edges. Then he flipped the piece and planed the center of the piece. He continued this until the piece was flat on both sides; it didn’t take him long to do it. He then cut blind dovetails with a bevel; once joined, no joint was exposed. The drawers were simple rabbeted joints, glued and wrapped in a tape and left to dry. With a few swipes with a plane, the drawers fit the carcass like a glove. There were no guide or slides used. The reveal would have to be measured with a feeler gauge. What I don’t understand is; how do they account for expansion, contraction and warping due to weather conditions.We here are always concerned about wood movement in our projects, but it doesn’t appear to bother the Japanese much. BTW, the furniture he was building had a finish only on the exposed surfaces, not any of the interior surfaces.

I know for a fact that furniture made in a hot and humid Asian factory, when sold in the U.S. the drawers stick and doors distort. I had a dresser made of rosewood that did just that.


10 replies so far

View JADobson's profile

JADobson

677 posts in 1571 days


#1 posted 08-15-2016 07:11 PM

I can’t remember where I read this but there is the story of a American woodworker watching a Japanese man build a box to hold winter sweaters. The box was built to extremely tight tolerances like you mentioned. The American kindly pointed out that the box would swell and be impossible to open in the humid summer. The Japanese man looked at him strangely and said “But why do I need a sweater in the winter?”

-- James

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jwmalone

769 posts in 162 days


#2 posted 08-15-2016 07:18 PM

I like that one JADobson

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

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Richard

1898 posts in 2150 days


#3 posted 08-15-2016 07:33 PM



I can t remember where I read this but there is the story of a American woodworker watching a Japanese man build a box to hold winter sweaters. The box was built to extremely tight tolerances like you mentioned. The American kindly pointed out that the box would swell and be impossible to open in the humid summer. The Japanese man looked at him strangely and said “But why do I need a sweater in the winter?”

- JADobson


So I wonder how he would make a box for Summer clothes ? I am really amazed at some of the joinery the Japanese use in the furniture and buildings.

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jdh122

879 posts in 2277 days


#4 posted 08-15-2016 07:45 PM

I guess you’d have to make the box for summer clothes in the summer, then put it away during the winter (when the reveals would be greater).

Drawers can be pretty tight, piston-fit on the sides, as there’s very little seasonal wood movement in that direction (only over the thickness of the wood, pretty negligible). It’s different for the top of the drawer, of course. Was he using quartersawn softwood? They can be amazingly stable dimensionnally.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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TravisH

452 posts in 1395 days


#5 posted 08-16-2016 12:29 AM

Several of the videos I have watched appear to be using paulowina (kiri in Japan). I have never built anything from the stuff except fishing lures.

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Aj2

686 posts in 1258 days


#6 posted 08-16-2016 01:28 AM

Also would like to point out that’s some of the woods they use in Japan work very well with their tools and style of wood working.
They have been doing their thing for a long time.
Even some of their jointery is very unique for the woods they use.
Some of the woods they use we will never see.
I really don’t think it’s fair to compare our furniture design and style.

Aj

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

3926 posts in 2703 days


#7 posted 08-16-2016 08:05 PM

The woods they use look beautiful. I wish it was available here. Even the wood they use in house construction is mostly clear with little or no knots. I understand they harvest the trees, cut them into slabs and stack them for 5 years before using it.

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gargey

457 posts in 235 days


#8 posted 08-16-2016 08:08 PM

yamazaki

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Tideline77

58 posts in 231 days


#9 posted 08-16-2016 10:54 PM

I read a little about this subject when I stumbled across a Japanese furniture maker website.( located in NYC)

My wife was visiting the. Metropolitan Museum in NY, so I went online to take a look …....and somewhere the web sucked me in and I ended up on the furniture website, Internet and George Dickel collided

One thing led to another and ended up watching a bunch of videos on Chinese and Japanese wood working.

From what I gather the time period from about 600 AD to 1200 AD ” The Golden ages of China”
Times were prosperous and fine wood works were in high demand, these techniques and styles were born in China and spread to other areas in Asia.

Most all of the furniture and buildings were built without fastners

Some of the work is extremely detailed and intricate designs, some is extremely simple but very appealing.

It was a pretty advanced trade way back then

When I retire I plan to spend some time in Asia and learn a little more about it

You can search this forum for Asian design or Asian inspired and see a few projects on here

Otherwise

I’m hungry for more information

View UncannyValleyWoods's profile

UncannyValleyWoods

441 posts in 1324 days


#10 posted 08-17-2016 12:54 AM

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