Secrets of Japanese joinery
Part of a documentary series called, “Begin Japanology,” this beautifully shot look at the height of Japanese joinery is a must-see for any furniture maker. At first, I found the glistening, flawless surfaces and complex joints intimidating, like listening to Stevie Ray Vaughan play the blues guitar and realizing you’ll just never get there.
As a woodworker, you know how hard it is to get two miters to close, let alone a three-way miter cut entirely by hand, with interlocking tenons hidden within. When a 16-in.-long case miter came together and its hidden dovetails disappeared, leaving not the slightest gap on the inside or outside corners, I let out an envious sigh.
But then inspiration started to replace intimidation, and the sheer joy of the craft took over. Like watching Jiro make sushi (watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi, another great documentary), I simply began to enjoy the single-minded pursuit of perfection, and re-dedicated myself to that spirit in my own endeavors. It’s the pursuit that is the thing, after all, not the perfection. This documentary about Japanese woodworking will both blow your mind, and leave you inspired to try incorporating Japanese joinery elements into your own work. When you’re ready to start, check out some of these links:
- Building a Traditional Japanese Toolchest
- Kumiko Laticework
- Japanese Joint Wizardry: Taking Traditional Joints to a New Level
- Using the Kane Tsugi Joint (Pinned Right-Angle Miter)
- Low Tea Table Influenced by George Nakashima
- Get to Know Japanese Handplanes