Saturday, January 31, 2015

Gateway (44)

Post 44 in an ongoing series describing the design and construction of a kabukimon, a type of Japanese gate. This is a project for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Post 1 in this series can be found here if you'd like to start at the beginning. Each post links to the next at the bottom of the page. Recent installments also to be found in the 'Blog archive' index to the right of the page.

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After setting the wall posts to one side, next up are the flanking posts, indicated in red on the following sketch:


The flanking post on the left is part of a frame and panel assembly, while on the right it serves as a door frame member. Both of these posts, like the wall posts, will carry the curved crossbeam above termed a 'kasagi'. Both flanking posts will attach to the main posts using a series of double dovetail sliding keys.

The cut out for the flanking posts was very similar to that undertaken in the preceding work on the wall posts, detailed in Post 43 of this series, so it would be a bit too repetitive to show the same same details once again.

The post cut out went fairly smoothly. They are all done save for the sliding dovetail joins on the backsides:


The sticks are both left a bit long at the bottom for the time being as well.

The left post in the pic above is on the frame-panel side of the gate, and receives a mud sill at the bottom - here's the mortise for that:


There are mortises for two stub tenons, mechi,  and the central mortise is through and is for a type of floating rod tenon.

A look at the top of both posts, where the same arrangement of double hammerhead tenons are employed as were on the wall posts:


The upper mortises are for the headers:


Number 2:


A look now at the backside of one of the through-tenons, where you can see the two abutments to capture the floating rod tenon to be fitted later:


I'm waiting for a particular dovetail bit to arrive before I tackle the sliding dovetail key mortises, so I will set these aside for a few days and work on the headers next. It will be best to tackle the sliding mortise work on the flanking posts and main posts at the same time.

My hope was to complete the framing work by January 31st, however I have not quite met that mark. My fall back position was to complete the work by February 7th and I feel on track to do that. I have to fabricate some horizontals next - two headers, a mud sill, and the kasagi. There is also the framed panel assembly on the left side of the gate, which requires some sliding dovetailed battens.

After the framing is complete I can start in on the three doors. I have designed and ordered some tenoning heads from Italy (from Zuani); they've been made and shipped, so I hope to have them in about a week's time. I've also ordered a tenoning stop from Martin for my shaper, and that has arrived, after delay from some shipping screw ups, sans mounting instructions. Should have that straightened out in a few days. Always want to be careful when drilling holes in the top of an expensive machine! I will probably have to rent a magnetic drill press for that task.

All for today-  thanks for dropping by the Carpentry Way. Up next is post 45.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Gateway (43)

Post 43 in an ongoing series describing the design and construction of a kabukimon, a type of Japanese gate. This is a project for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Post 1 in this series can be found here if you'd like to start at the beginning. Each post links to the next at the bottom of the page. Recent installments also to be found in the 'Blog archive' index to the right of the page.

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Most of today was consumed with the last step on the wall posts, namely cutting the end tenons. The tenon arrangement is a double hammerhead, occupying about half the top of the stick. These involved several steps to cut out, and it took a good while to complete.

I was trying hard to hit my marks today. The spacing and thickness of the necks on the tenons was the critical bit. If the head is slightly skinny, or short, or the head angle a hair out, it is no big deal. The necks however are the starting point in cut out for indexing the tenon spacing, so I took care to hit my numbers as closely as I could.

Tenon neck spacing was set at 4.00", outside to outside:


The other post came out similarly:


Tenon neck thickness was 1.00" - here's one tenon neck in the caliper jaws, a hair over dimension:


And on the other stick, I hit the same number:


Another one:


And number 4:


The front surfaces of the tenons were decked a 1/4" and the cut out on the wall pasts was done:


Another view:


I used a go/no go gauge to check the hammerhead shoulder offsets:


I find that with careful paring with a sharp chisel, you can pare a surface to a +/- 0.003" without too much trouble - - so long as you can measure that accurately of course, and don't get too aggressive with the trimming. The tool needs to be reasonably sharp of course. The go/no go is 0.004" under target, which is of no consequence as I have yet to cut the mortises. I will want a slightly tighter dimension on the neck height on the tenon so that the joint draws down snugly when slid together.

All for today - next up on this project are the flanking posts, which I have already started in on. More tomorrow on that. On to post 44

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Gateway (42)

Post 42 in an ongoing series describing the design and construction of a kabukimon, a type of Japanese gate. This is a project for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Post 1 in this series can be found here if you'd like to start at the beginning. Each post links to the next at the bottom of the page. Recent installments also to be found in the 'Blog archive' index to the right of the page.

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The big storm came and went and we got off fairly lightly in Western MA with only 6~8" of snow. It had remained rather cold however. I declined to look at the thermometer in my shop today, and kept a portable space heater close by.

I spent the morning going over various drawing details at home, and the afternoon in the shop doing layout and cut out. Today's buzz-sawing and axe work involved what I am calling the wall posts:


I call them 'wall posts' simply because they are closest to the concrete garden walls. The post on the left in the view above is framing a fixed panel and has a mud sill at the base, while the post on the right is framing the side door opening. So there are some differences in the joinery arrangements accordingly.

The layout took a while, and after double-checking the layout, I brought out the marking knife and incised the appropriate lines. As I wrapped that up, I thought to myself, "perhaps I should get some sort of knifetime achievement award?".

Yeah, I know, lame, but I had to try.

Anyway, the post tops will have double hammerhead tenons, and I bucked off half of the waste to start.


I'll leave the tenoning work for later however.

On to the mortising - the hollow chisel mortiser was fitted with a 15mm bit and I went to town:


Mortise rough cutting complete on the two wall posts:


These mortises are for the header beams.

A while later I had the mortises cleaned up:


A closer view:


The hammerhead portions of the mortises were also completed:



Then the mortises on the bottom of one wall post for the mud sill connection were also done:



The threaded rod mortise on the center of the end grain has been elongated, not by accident fortunately. The elongation will help facilitate assembly later on.

All for today - thanks for visiting the Carpentry Way. Ready for the next one?: Post 43

Monday, January 26, 2015

Gateway (41)

Post 41 in an ongoing series describing the design and construction of a kabukimon, a type of Japanese gate. This is a project for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Post 1 in this series can be found here if you'd like to start at the beginning. Each post links to the next at the bottom of the page. Recent installments also to be found in the 'Blog archive' index to the right of the page.

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Working on the mortising task for the rear posts-  here I'm drilling the first of two holes for the threaded rod hold-downs:


Right on the money:


The other one was completed a few minutes later:


It appears a bit off center, however the mortise wall (lower surface in the picture) is nearly 1/8" fat at this point, so all will be well

The lower through-mortises were roughed out on both posts using the portable hollow chisel mortiser, and the post ends trimmed and planed clean:


I used the same shim which helped make the posts into their parallelogram-shaped sections to support the hollow chisel mortiser. It worked well.

A look down one of the mortises - the remaining interior clean up will be done by chisel and I will rout the cogged seats, just as was done on the main posts:


For the upper mortises, I had to tilt the mortiser - this was accomplished simply with a 3/4" (19mm) plywood shim and a wedge, setting the angle with an adjustable bevel gauge:


Away we go:


On the opposite side, the mortiser was tilted the other way:


The mortises were punched through without too much fuss:


Then it was time to pare the mortises out:


All done with these two sticks:


A look at a couple of mortises:



I think I'll move on to the wall posts and flanking posts next in the frame member processing.

I finished up slightly early today ahead of the "storm of the century" rolling in this evening. It seems we will get about 2 feet of snow in the next day and a half, and the roads will be closed for the interim. If we do lose power my hope is that is won't be for too long, and can stay nice and warm. Our fridge is stocked, the generator is on standby. If you are in the same neck of the woods as me, please take care over this period.

All for now, thanks for visiting the Carpentry Way. Next: Post 42

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Gateway (40)

Post 40 in an ongoing series describing the design and construction of a kabukimon, a type of Japanese gate. This is a project for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Post 1 in this series can be found here if you'd like to start at the beginning. Each post links to the next at the bottom of the page. Recent installments also to be found in the 'Blog archive' index to the right of the page.

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Today marks the 800th post on the Carpentry Way.

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Another day, another day in the shop. Today's work started off with finishing up the joinery on the ends of the magusa, a pair of 'T'-shaped tenons. Here's one end:


And the other:


The magusa is upside down from its actual orientation when installed.

Then I moved on to the hikae-bashira - the rear support posts. These are connected to the main posts with a pair of nuki, and are at a wider post spacing than the main posts:




The point of making the rear posts wider is that with the gate doors open, there is a larger viewing window of the garden as one approaches. Since the gate doors are open during the museum's operating hours, the employment of wider rear support posts makes sense. If the normal condition of the gate were to have its doors in the closed position, and/or there was no special view revealed when the doors were both fully open, then employing rear posts with the same post spacing as the main post would be logical.

As the opening is effectively flared, there is the matter of dealing with the connections between the rear posts and the nuki. There are two common ways to do this. One method is to rotate the rear posts so they are normal (orthogonal) to the stretchers. This allows the nuki to pierce through the rear posts centered on the front and rear post faces. The drawback is that by rotating the post it is out of plane with the front part of the gate, main posts, etc., so that difference in orientation does create a certain amount of visual discord.

The other common approach is to keep the rear posts orthogonal to the front posts, etc., and have the nuki penetrate them without being centered on one of the faces, or indeed, being off of center on both entry and exit faces. That's how it was done in the old gate. The rear post's orientation makes it fit better with the rest of the structure, however the off-center mortises for the nuki create a less polished appearance.

My solution to this is to make the post parallelogram in section. This way its side faces are orthogonal to the nuki, and its front/rear faces are orthogonal to the main posts, etc., and thereby the nuki penetrate the post faces centered on entry and exit. This presents the most seamless look, and I expect most people won't notice it at all.

Making the rear posts into parallelogram section sticks involved doing some end cuts, cleaning up the end grain, choosing the orientation and position of each post, and then marking the parallelogram section on the end grain. From there I sliced a piece of stock in the bandsaw with the table tilted to create a tapered piece which would support the rear posts as they went through my planer. A few additional pieces of plywood were used to guide the post through.

Here's a video I took today showing the process from there on out - planing several passes to create the first sloped face on the sticks, then making some adjustments to the surface with a hand plane to get the angle dead-on, then a final series of passes through the planer with the angling shim removed to plane the opposing face parallel to the first:


Fortunately, the pieces came out exactly as I wanted them, are dead nuts on the desired angle, and are 0.01" over dimension in both axes to allow for a final round of hand planing. I also allowed for 6" excess length, so I can trim off any snipe which occurred. Next time in the shop I will lay out and cut the mortises in the rear posts for the nuki and for the threaded rod's pocket access to put the nut on the rod.

In other news, the custom-made bronze decorative hinge leafs, or hassō kanagu, arrived from Japan today - they're beautiful!:


The back sides of the two pieces:


All for today my friends. Thanks for coming by the Carpentry Way. Post 41 is up next.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Gateway (39)

Post 39 in an ongoing series describing the design and construction of a kabukimon, a type of Japanese gate. This is a project for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Post 1 in this series can be found here if you'd like to start at the beginning. Each post links to the next at the bottom of the page. Recent installments also to be found in the 'Blog archive' index to the right of the page.

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Continuing on from yesterday's work, I fitted the double hammerhead keys to the magusa:


Just a look-see to check that they would all enter their respective mortises at the same time:


Yup:


I then turned my attention to completing the joinery between the nose pieces and the kabuki. Here I'm employing lapped rod tenons running right through the post, secured top and bottom with a pair of tapered parallelogram-shaped keys called shachi-sen. 4 pairs of keys, male and female halves -- four hours of shop time. Here's a video showing a few highlights:



The trenches for the pins lined up okay and I was pleased with the outcome:


The view is with the magusa also in position - I left just enough room at the front face of that stick to slide the key in.

The other side:


A little adjustment to come yet, but seems to be most of the way there.

All for today. Thanks for your visit and hope to see you again. Onward and upward: post 40

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Gateway (38)

Post 38 in an ongoing series describing the design and construction of a kabukimon, a type of Japanese gate. This is a project for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Post 1 in this series can be found here if you'd like to start at the beginning. Each post links to the next at the bottom of the page. Recent installments also to be found in the 'Blog archive' index to the right of the page.

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This post series is likely to go on for a while yet. Will it see 100 posts perhaps?

I was interviewed, for some unaccountable reason, by the magazine Woodworker's Journal. They asked me about my background and that sort of thing. I mumbled a few answers as best I could, rambled on pointlessly otherwise, and the editor there, Joanna, did a great job making sense of it. The article can be found here.

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A video clip next to show some umeki fitting work on one of the main posts, followed by planing down the infill and smoothing off the surface:



I'm learning from these video clips. Best to wait until background noises have ceased before pressing 'record', for one thing. I will admit I'm looking a tad scruffy - verging on the 'vagrant' aesthetic. Jeez.. Maybe time for a shave huh? Okay, that's taken care of now. Time to spiff up with some fresh duds, add some background music....

Or not.

The umeki fitted on the main post front faces were a good fit, however the color wasn't a perfect match. Given the options I had for umeki material, I am glad things worked out satisfactorily. The color difference will be a non-issue after a few weeks of sunshine. I wanted 'invisible', but fell short of that mark.

With the two main posts largely completed, I turned my attention to fitting the magusa to the kabuki, as mentioned in the previous post. These will be connected using 5 sliding hammerhead keys.

The mortising work complete:


The equipment you see to the right and in the background is my neighbor's not mine.

A closer look at a mortise:


Another one:


The double hammerhead sliding keys were made from Burmese teak, offcuts of which I have no shortage:


I think it is an ideal choice as it is slightly denser than the POC, is a bit oily which makes it slide reasonably well, and is extremely rot resistant.

The five keys now fitted to the kabuki:


A check then to see that all five keys will insert into the corresponding mortises on the magusa:


Tomorrow I'll fit the keys to the magusa, make up plugs, and cut the 'T'-shaped tenons on the ends of the stick. That will complete the work on that piece, save for some chamfering and finish planing. After that, well, who knows what sort of trouble I can get in to?

Thanks for dropping by the Carpentry Way. Comments always welcome. Post 39? Why not...