Friday, December 30, 2016

The Well of Heaven (V)

Things are progressing along relatively smoothly. The work I'm tackling is to cut the housings on the ceiling perimeter frame, mawari-buchi, for the ceiling cross bars, or sao-buchi. There are two housings in fact, a lower one for the exposed portion of the frame, and an upper one which keeps the frame from any tendency to twist, which would make for gaps in the housing in the exposed portion, were it to occur:

I have a piece of sao-buchi cutoff to use a a checking device for each connection, albeit, only for checking the exposed housing fit:

The ends of the actual ceiling rods, already cut, have a stepped arrangement so as to fit both housings on the perimeter frame.

Fully down and the fit seems to have come out okay:

There's a little pencil mark left on the bottom which needs to be removed. The exposed faces of the mawari buchi have yet to be chamfered and finish planed, and that will take care of marks like that.

There are 24 housings to complete in total.

I guess it wouldn't hurt to show a reflected ceiling view so readers can have a better idea as to the overall scope of work:

It is a standard aspect of Japanese traditional architectural design to produce a reflected ceiling view for a house, as ceilings vary from location to location within a structure. They are an elaborated aspect, and one that surely deserves to be drawn upon more by western builders. I'm hoping to have the chance to build more ceilings, like this one, and other designs.

As an example or such a plan, here's a reflected ceiling/roof framing plan from the main temple building at Shakuō-ji Temple:

Another from the Goten at Nagoya Castle:

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah....

After the perimeter frame members were mortised, I ran them through the shaper, climb-cutting with the feeder, to chamfer the outside lower arris:

The chamfer:

Frame work completed, I could start reassembling the ceiling frame for the last time, starting with the perimeter frame, miters adjusted for final fit, and then the long sao-buchi go in:

The junction of ceiling frame member with perimeter frame mortises is provided with a degree of slop on both ends to allow for any variances in the walls, beyond which I have already accounted:

I hope the above photo makes clear the nature of the stepped end cut on the ceiling rod and the two mortises in the perimeter frame member.

An overview of the completed ceiling framework all assembled:

Another view:

At last the panels could be fitted:

Then a weird thing happened. There are 44 panels in this ceiling and I was sure I had prepared 44 pieces, however today there seem to be only 43 pieces. I cannot account for this shortfall, other than with my wallet, ahem, as I need to pick up some more Western Red Cedar tomorrow and fabricate another panel.

Install is scheduled for the middle of next week. After fitting the remainder of the panels, I have to make some small frames for the light wells, and then repaper 3 shōji. Almost done.

Thanks for coming by the Carpentry Way. Post VI follows.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Well of Heaven (IV)

Continuing on now with a look at some of the steps involved in making a coffered Japanese ceiling.

There are two openings in the framework for lighting, and in these areas the frame members in a few locations do not lap, but terminate in a 'T'. To fix the connections together, I will use a long screw. Since screws have unreliable purchase in end grain, I mortised the receiving frame member so as to fit a blind cross-grain pin.

Here, the pin has been driven in and is being trimmed flush:

I chose mahogany for the pin as it is a slight bit denser than the Yellow Cedar.

The screw should draw the connection up tightly:

I found a little space where I could put the perimeter frame up using the corner templates I took from the room, and position the other frame members atop so as to iron out the issues arising from a non-square room in the install location:

The joinery between the interior frame members is complete at this juncture. Here's a look at a mitered lap with mortise, with a regular mitered half-lap above:

 A look at some of the ceiling frame end joints:

The ceiling frame parts are nearly complete:

A view of some of the mitered housings:

The perimeter frame corners have a form of mitered and stub tenoned connection:

Mating corner:

Those joints are a hair fat for the time being and don't fully close up at their 90˚ abutments. During the next fit up I will trim the miters so as to bring the corners tight together.

All for this round - thanks for tuning in. Post V come along next.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Odds and Ends Tool Sale

Cleaning out the book shelves has put me in a mood to look at my tools, and move along those items i am making no sue of, for whatever reason. Some of these tools were purchased from little mom and pop hardware stores in Japan and never used or set up, others were included in batches of tools bought in quantity, others were bought and just not put to use as I had thought I might. May as well move them along to someone who will make use of them. I'll be adding to this list over the next couple of days, so please check back if this sort of thing is of interest.

Shapton 'Pro' #2000 stone, NIB, still with the plastic wrapping:



Japanese framing hammer, medium size:

Cross-hatched face:



Brown and Sharpe trammel set:

Packed in a mahogany box:


A pair of 42mm kiwa ganna, of a unique type, kinda like a gotoku ganna was divided into two separate planes, right and left. Makes for a low profile dai so this plane can also be used for trimming the sidewalls of grooves:

I bought these from another carpenter about 5 years ago and he had set them up. I never put them to use since. They are a hair loose in fit in my judgement, so a thin paper shim will likely be required.

The sub blades are not laminated:

I think the maker is Katsujiro:

$150 for the pair.

A set of corner molding planes:

These I scrounged in small town hardware stores in Japan, and have never done much with them.

 Various makers.

A look at the profiles:

The set of 5 is offered at $225.00

The Akafuji ("Red Fuji") jointing plane, by the famous (and long deceased) Tanaka Sho Ichi Ryo:

About 15.5" in length:

Dai is fitted with a kuchi-ire:

Laminated sub-blade - the cutting steel is excellent, but I don't know what it specifically is:

I purchased this as a used tool, already set up. While the ura isn't the prettiest, the fit between blades and in the dai is fine.

Maker's name:

The plane was called Red Fuji due to the slight copper patination on the blade:

The working surface - the dai is 'hon' red oak, a material getting harder to obtain and now quite costly:

The mouth opening:

There's another one of these on Ebay right now- which is surprising given the rarity of the tool - for $900. I'll offer this one at $700.00 SOLD

More tools...

A 54mm paring chisel:

Ura certainly not the prettiest, but could be tidied up:

The maker's mark is a bit hard to make out:

$50 buys it. SOLD


A 12mm chū-tataki nomi:

I think this one came to me in a box of assorted tools I bought years ago. I already have this size a few times over so I've never made much use of it.


A 36mm bullnose plane:

Sorry for the blurry pic:

The kanji state that this is a white steel blade:

$40.00 SOLD


That's all for this set of classifieds, folks. We'll be back to normal programming after Christmas. Much progress has been made on the Japanese ceiling...