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Started the kōzu

I finally managed to get a start on the next shoji and patterns for Book 2. I dimensioned the rails and stiles yesterday afternoon, and all this morning was spent cutting and dimensioning the kumiko. The following photo shows about four hours’ effort (the timber is Huon pine).

Kumiko for futae-kōzu

The kumiko
mitsuke is 4.0 mm exactly; not 3.9 or 4.1 mm. In fact 0.1 mm in shoji and kumiko work is a massive size. Every one of these kumiko has to be checked after I finish preparing it to the correct thickness. I use a pair of digital callipers for this.

In this shoji there are 30 vertical kumiko, and 68 horizontal kumiko. I also make up a reasonable number of spare kumiko in case disaster strikes.

In the
futae-kōzu part, there are 15 vertical and 27 horizontal kumiko, and also 64 mitre joints to cut for each panel. So there are 128 kumiko mitres to cut, and that’s just for the kōzu pattern. There are many more mitres to cut for the futae-shokkō patterns on the bottom. Each one must have exactly the right amount of tension, otherwise the overall piece can look very ordinary indeed. I can assure you that by the time you finish making this shoji, you will certainly be sick and tired of mitre joints.

kōzu is not a particularly difficult pattern to make. The futae-kōzu design here essentially builds on the kawari-gumi shoji and futae kaku-tsunagi pattern we tackled in Book 1. It is, however, a very time-consuming pattern when done properly, and this is what makes it so expensive.

It is, though, one of my favourite patterns. And it can be adjusted and used in a broad range of work, not just shoji.
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