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Kōzu cuts

I finished the frame pieces and tsukeko, and they’re safely tucked away until the final finish planing before assembly. Today I started on cutting the kumiko joints for the kōzu. The photo shows the kumiko for one kōzu panel.

You can see by the number of cuts for just one of the panels how much work is involved in this pattern. This, though, is only the preparatory work. From here, I will assemble the main vertical and horizontal kumiko, then trim the shorter kumiko and cut the mitres.

kōzu was a popular pattern for shoin shoji - the attractive decorative shoji in the shoin-zukuri style of architecture - but it was largely limited to nobility and the upper echelons of the samurai warrior class. It was this kind of work and the skills needed to make it that led to the growth of the sub-branch of shokunin within the tategu trade known as kumiko shokunin. They are the shokunin who specialise in the intricate kumiko patterns.

Cuts for the kozu pattern
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