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Two more benten patterns

These are two more benten patterns for Book 3. The meaning of the word benten is covered in my blog entry of 24 July.

The first pattern is the
benten tawara kikkō (弁天俵亀甲). The tawara kikkō pattern was covered in my 11 July blog entry, and if you look carefully, you'll notice that the benten tawara kikkō is simply that pattern with the addition of a triangle in each jigumi triangle. The dimensions of the individual pieces have, of course, been changed to give, in my view, a better balance for the new pattern.

Benten tawara kikkō pattern 弁天俵亀甲

The second pattern is the benten mie-kikkō (弁天三重亀甲). Mie means triple, and this pattern consists of triple hexagons with the benten triangle structure.

Benten mie-kikkō pattern 弁天三重亀甲

Both of these patterns are quite fiddly, and the benten mie-kikkō in particular is perhaps getting towards the upper end of the difficulty scale. The half-lap joints of the pattern pieces are quite close together in some parts (3mm), and there were a few breakages, so it was also a good test of patience. Very satisfying when the last piece slid in.


New patterns — Urahana variations

The following three patterns for Book 3 are the urahana variations. The actual meaning of urahana (裏花) (or urabana) as it relates to these patterns is a bit of a mystery. Ura () means the back/rear, or reverse side; it also indicates a hidden meaning when used in relation to something that someone has said. Hana () simply means flowers. So here, I think the best thing is simply to accept that a kumiko shokunin sometime in the past decided to call this family of patterns "urahana" and leave it at that.

The three patterns are:

Urahana kikkō
Urahana kikkō 裏花亀甲

Yae-urahana kikkō
Yae-urahana kikkō 八重裏花亀甲

Kawari urahana kikkō 変り裏花亀甲

These are quite interesting patterns to make, and each has its own set of challenges.


New pattern — Tsumi-ishi kikkō

This new pattern is called the tsumi-ishi kikkō (積石亀甲). Tsumi-ishi means piled rocks, and in this pattern, the repeating hexagonal shapes take on the appearance of rocks stacked on top of each other.

Tsumi-ishi kikkō pattern

This is one of the simpler patterns for Book 3, but there's still enough of a challenge in cutting and trimming accurately to keep you on your toes.


New pattern and process — Yae-karahana kikkō

This is one of the more complex patterns that will be included in Book 3 — the yae-karahana kikkō. It is closely related to the previous karahana kikkō pattern.

Yae-karahana_kikko pattern

The following photos show the process I followed in putting it together. I don't explain how to make the pattern — you'll have to wait for Book 3 to be published for that — but the photos will give you an idea of what's involved in making a pattern such as this. As with all the patterns in all of my books, the yae-karahana kikkō was made without using any specialised tools; just the normal tools I detailed in Books 1 and 2.

First, I cut the three-way
mitsu-kude joints in the jigumi, then the three half-lap joints between each of the mitsu-kude joints.

Yae-karahana_kikko 02

I then cut the jigumi pieces to length, and chamfered the ends. Two of the Type A pieces will be further trimmed, but it's more efficient to cut all the pieces together.


Next, I assembled the jigumi.


After which it was time to make up the hexagons.


Eight hexagons are required, and each hexagon side is 7.5mm. The following photo will give you an idea of the size of the piece.


The hexagons are secured in place by three longer locking pieces extending from the corners of the triangles. Jaguchi joints are used to hold the hexagons firmly.


All the triangles have to be filled in.


Next, I started on the smaller locking pieces that intersect the outer jigumi pieces (red arrow below). These also use jaguchi joints to lock the hexagons.


All these pieces have to be inserted before I can move on to the next step.


The next pieces to insert are the smaller internal locking pieces (red arrow below). These have jaguchi joints at both ends, so any adjustment is quite difficult. The half-lap joint has to be in the exact centre between the jaguchi joints, so in this pattern, these are by far the most difficult pieces to cut and insert.


The final pieces to insert are the second hexagonal pieces (red arrow below). These are trimmed to fit on the 60° jig. These are not particularly difficult, but the sheer number of pieces make this final process quite time-consuming.


Once these final hexagonal pieces have been inserted, the pattern is completed.


And that is how I made the yae-karahana kikkō. Most of the more complex kumiko patterns at first seem to be a confusing maze of pieces of wood heading off in all directions and angles, but if you can break the patterns down into their individual pieces within each of the triangles, they do have a much more structured feel about them.


New pattern — Karahana kikkō

This new pattern for Book 3 is called the karahana kikkō, and is a well-earned break from the pattern mitsu-kude joints. Karahana (唐花) is a Chinese floral arabesque-like pattern, and the karahana arrangement of petals is often used in family crests.

The hexagons and short pieces with
jaguchi joints at both ends make this quite a challenging pattern.

Karahana kikko pattern