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Shoji screen pattern 2

This is the second of the standard screens I finished about a week ago. This is Tasmanian oak, and it’s the first time I’ve used it. This screen, too, is hand-plane finished, and it’s amazing what water can do.

At the College, we used
bei-hiba (yellow cedar) for the vast majority of our shoji work, and this timber is widely used for shoji in the general market. We always wet the timber after cutting the tenons on the rails and mortices on the stiles to raise the grain and remove any machining marks. Once these pieces had dried, we then did our final planing before assembly. With a sharp plane, this left a beautiful glistening appearance on the timber.

Initial planing of the Tassie oak left a reasonably good surface, but it needed to be better as a final finish. So after doing all the tenoning and mortising work, I wiped a liberal amount of water on the wood, and left it to dry thoroughly. Naturally, the water had left the wood with a very furry surface. A couple of swipes with my finishing plane, and the surfaces were like glass. When I held them up to the sunlight, it was like looking along a mirror. No need for sandpaper on these.

(I’m still trying to sort out the lighting settings on the digital camera, so the shoji paper appears to have a slightly red tinge - I’m certainly not a photographer. The paper is, of course, white.)


We’ll be heading off to Japan to have a look at the national tategu competition and exhibition. This year it’s being held in Gifu Prefecture, and while entry numbers could possibly be down from previous years because of the disaster in March, I’ve no doubt there’ll be some absolutely amazing work on display. My HANABI art piece had roughly 10-12,000 pieces, but some of the work on display in previous years had more than 80,000 pieces, and I’m sure these will be matched this year. Totally mind-boggling. I’ll post some photos here in the blog.
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