Experiments in Kumiko Woodworking–Part II
I’m actually posting this blog sooner than I expected to. A Friday evening spent making a shooting board and a snowy Saturday morning cutting and assembling parts was all it took to complete the kumiko design on this cabinet door panel. Granted, it’s a very simple example of the technique, but everything went smoothly and I’m as happy as I can expect to be on my first effort, not that I’ve come close to mastering the technique. On the contrary, I’ve just scratched the surface of a technique that would take a lifetime to truly master.
But that’s the really cool thing about woodworking. A lot of techniques seem very intimidating at first glance, whether it’s shaping a cabriole leg, carving a shell, inlaying a bellflower, or even picking up a handplane for the first time. But when we get the courage up to give it a try, it’s amazing how much we’re able to accomplish.
Each part of this design needs to be beveled at 45 or 22.5 degrees in order to fit in place. I made a simple shooting board with an angle at each end that made it easy to bevel the parts with a block plane. Adjustable stops ensured that the pieces ended up at the precise length.
I started with the diagonal pieces and planed a 45 degree bevel on each end. I cut a groove in the top of the shooting board to hold the piece. I made it a little wide so the piece wouldn't get stuck, but the wiggle room was a problem because the work piece moved during planing. I'll shoot for a snug fit on the next one I make.
It took a couple of tries to get a snug press fit, but the time spent on making an accurate grid paid off, because I didn't have to do any custom fitting and everything fit right off the shooting board.
The bent pieces came next. I started by planing 22.5 bevels on the ends.
The bent pieces needed a saw kerf most of the way through the stock. Once I dialed in the depth of the cut, I clamped stop blocks to my saw. The saw cuts were a little fuzzy. I'm not sure if it was due to my saw being dull or the wood I used. I chose basswood instead of the traditional cedar. It didn't seem to affect the final result, but it bugged me.
I wet each piece at the joint to prevent it from snapping and gave it a bend before setting it in place.
Little stubby guys lock the bent pieces in place and finish the design.
Here's a better shot where you can see the fuzzy kerfs.
I backed the kumiko with red handmade paper. Right now I have french iron hardware on the cabinet, but I may end up going with turned ebony pulls.
The design required working accurately with small parts, but I wouldn't call the process tedious. It was actually a nice way to spend a morning at the workbench.
I'm really enjoying watching your progress, thank you for posting these.
I wold like to read part 2 but the link just takes you back to part 1. Please fix this.
Thanks for fixing the link!
Link still not working .....
what type of wood was used?
Very good the tecnique and thanks for shareing. I would suggest - just for this project - to use thinner stripes of wood: as it is it looks a bit heavy.
great job anyway
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