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My, how they've grown.

This was a photo I took in early November last year.

I took this photo this evening.

It’s great to see them grow into healthy (and, more than likely, troublesome) adolescents.
A wonderful sight.

Landscape 2 (5)

With the patient help of wife Mariko, yesterday we managed to get the tsukeko attached to the jigumi without any major problems. We then began to prepare the first batch of kumiko.

I finished dimensioning the first lot of kumiko (walnut, Tasmanian blackwood, Huon pine, and radiata pine) this morning, then started on the patterns for a couple of hours this afternoon. As can be seen, still a very long way to go.


In my entry “Landscape 2 (2)” on 21/1, I mentioned the enormous wastage involved in this kind of work. The following photos will give an idea of this. American walnut is a beautiful timber, but it’s very expensive to get hold of here in Australia. For this piece I wanted to use the dark walnut timber for a tree feature. I cut off a piece about 650 mm from the board that I have, and ripped it in half. These photos show the kumiko I prepared from the half that I used, and the other half, which is roughly the same size. Huon pine is another beautiful and precious timber, and with this the story is the same.


The wastage is unfortunate, but hopefully the piece will eventually do justice to the timber.

Landscape 2 (4)

Safely finished the jigumi this afternoon, with a couple of kumiko to spare.


How straight the individual kumiko pieces are is a good indication of the accuracy of the cuts, and the overall jigumi itself.
The following photo shows the longest diagonal kumiko. Not 100%, but considering the length (1200+ mm), the number of angled joints (36), and the fact that it was all done by hand, I’m reasonably satisfied.


The next process is to trim the edges and fit the tsukeko (internal frame). After that the fun begins with the various patterns, including a couple of very challenging patterns that I haven’t tried before.

Landscape 2 (3)

Spent all weekend making up the internal design, so I was only able to start the actual marking and cutting part for the jigumi today.

Finished the diagonal kumiko this evening, and will start on the vertical kumiko tomorrow. Provided my calculations are correct, there should be enough diagonals with one or two to spare.

Because it’s all by hand, this is a very time-consuming process, and requires constant concentration. One mistake, and I have to start all over again. Fortunately, so far, so good.


Landscape 2 (2)

Spent most of today cleaning up my workbenches to make room for the jigumi, tuning up a couple of my planes (the wet weather we’ve had over the past week or two has played havoc on the planes - it’s required some serious dai-naoshi), and on the machines getting the kumiko to the proper thickness dimensions.

I’ve cut up 50 longer pieces for the diagonal kumiko, and 28 shorter pieces for the vertical kumiko (there are 35 vertical kumiko so I’ll use a few of the longer pieces for the vertical kumiko). This should be enough with a few to spare provided there are no blunders. The thickness is 1.6 mm. Considering the blade kerf on the tablesaw (I use a 1.8 mm thin-kerf blade) and the extra I have to cut to reduce it down to the required 1.6 mm, probably less than a quarter of the rough-sawn timber I use ends up as usable kumiko. This enormous wastage is one of the unfortunate products of this kind of work

The thickness (mitsuke) is 1.6 mm. On these longer pieces, I accept anything between 1.62 and 1.58 mm. On the shorter pieces, it’s 1.60 or 1.61 mm. This way, any gaps are kept to an absolute minimum.

Tomorrow I start cutting the joints.

Landscape 2

I have an order for a few coaster sets, so I’ll start on those as soon as I get final details on timber types.
Once I finish those, I’ll start on my next competition landscape piece. This has to be in by the end of March. This will be my most ambitious project yet. The jigumi will be 1090 x 630 mm (about four times as large as my first landscape), and the longest diagonal piece will be over 1200 mm. This piece will have 36 mitsu-kude joints, so 36 joints in exactly the right position at exactly the same intervals for the jigumi to fit together. Each one of these joints will be cut by hand using my Nakaya kumiko saw (with a new blade inserted - the saw on the left). At a rough guess, there’ll probably be more than 10,000 individual pattern pieces.


This is my CAD drawing of the jigumi. The pitch is 35 mm, and the kumiko thickness (mitsuke) will be 1.6 mm.

Landscape 2 jigumi

The first thing I have to do is make up a couple of new jigs for the angled cuts. The jigs I’ve used to date are too small.

Putting the jigumi together is the most fundamental part, but it will be the most difficult. Most kumiko shokunin in Japan use radial saws, many computer controlled, to cut the jigumi, but unfortunately, I don’t have this luxury. I have to cut mine by hand. A major challenge, but I’m sure my skill level will be much improved at the end of it. Once that’s been done, it’s then simply a matter of putting in the patterns. I’m thinking of trying a couple of new patterns that I haven’t made before, and some interesting variations on patterns I’ve already done.

I’ll chart my progress (including any disasters) here.

New art piece and patterns

Finished the landscape piece on Saturday. Haven’t thought up a suitable title for it yet. It’s now safely tucked away…

Landscape 01

and I started on the next pattern piece with a couple of new patterns. Tomorrow I’ll cut up and fit the main frame, then give it a couple of coats of finish.

Pattern piece with yuki-gata and kaza-guruma patterns

The next photo shows the new patterns in a bit more detail. The centre pattern is the yuki-gata kikkou (雪形亀甲), and the outer pattern is the kaza-guruma (風車), a fairly new pattern developed by a tategu shokunin in Fukushima Prefecture. Surrounding these two patterns are asa-no-ha.

Over the next week or so, I’ll add these two new patterns to the kumiko patterns page.

Landcsape 1 (cont.)

I’ve only been able to do this in bits and pieces since daughter arrived, so it’s taken a bit longer than normal, but the end is generally in sight. For the snow-capped mountains I used the yae-asa pattern with silver ash, for the mountain body I used the yae-zakura in Tasmanian oak, the foreground feature (which still has to be filled in) is kawari-yae-zakura in red cedar, and the lake section down the bottom is asa-no-ha in Huon pine. The four or five open triangles in the lake section will be filled in with a new pattern - tsuno-asa-no-ha.