12. January 2019 - 12:00 till 13:00
Share it on:

Demo and Q&A : Japanese Woodworking - Basics | Bellingham Makerspace | Saturday, 12. January 2019

Question about the Japanese Woodworking - Basics class?  The instructor Ivan Schierling will be demonstrating Japanese woodworking and available to answer questions.

Lesson Plan:
Day 1:  Safety, Layout, and Crosscutting (2 Hours)
The student will first go over safety measures and tool etiquette.  This includes many “do’s and don’t’s” when handling sharp cutting instruments.  They will then go over layout methods and techniques using a carpentry square, or “sashigana,” needed to scribe cut lines on milled lumber.  After scribing a series of crosscut lines, the student will learn how to cut along the line, making thin square wafers with a “dozuki” (cross cut pull saw).  A challenge to the student will be how thin can they cut a wafer.
Day 2:  Planing, Dimensioning, and More Layout (2 Hours)
Before laying out the final cutting lines for their trivet, the student will learn to use the Japanese hand plane, or “kanna”.  This finely tuned instrument produces silk thin shavings while cutting a flat smooth natural finished surface. While practicing their technique, the student will be challenged to make their widest, thinnest shaving that leaves a mirror like finish on the wood.  Once all four sides of the wood stock is square, the student will apply what they have learned from the first day to measure and layout the final cut lines to their personalized trivet.
Day 3:  Crosscutting, Chiseling, Routing (2 Hours)
The student will apply what they have learned from practicing cutting with the dozuki, and make a series of half lap crosscuts.  They will then use a Japanese bench chisel, or “nomi,” to split and pare the saw “curf,” forming a rough groove that will be shaved flat by a hand router plane.  Final touch-ups may be needed to assemble the pieces to form the compression fit trivet.
Tools:
Sashigane:  Carpentry Square that uses the traditional Shoku measuring system.  One Shoku is 1/16” short of a foot but is broken down into ten “Sun” rather than 12 inches making it much easier to divide and multiply like the metric system.  However, it is much easier to see and work with than tiny millimeters.
Sumishashi: A bamboo-marking instrument that can be re-sharpened to a sharp edge leaving thin layout lines.  
Sumitsubo: Ink pot used to dab the sumisashi with sumi ink.  Often comes with a wheel of thin twine for snapping lines on wood surfaces.  
Dozuki: Crosscuting Saw or “Nogiri.”  Japanese saws are well known for their razor- sharp teeth that cut on the pull stroke.  Pulling a saw allows the carpenter to cut much more accurately and efficiently. It also allows the toolmaker to forge a thinner blade, for a thinner curf that results in less waste.  
Kanna: Japanese hand plane.  Like the dozuki, the kanna cuts on the pull stroke.  The blade that is wedged in the wooden block or “dai,” is made from thick, laminated, high carbon steel.  When both are properly sharpened and tuned, the kanna can cut shavings as thin, if not thinner than 3 microns (.003 mm).  To give a comparison, paper is roughly 0.1mm and a human hair is around 30 microns (.03mm).
Nomi:  The Japanese bench chisel, like the kanna, is made from laminated high carbon steel.  This well developed process of forging hard steel “Hagane” and soft steel, “Jigane” is much like forging the Japanese samurai sword.  It gives a wicked sharp edge that last longer than soft steel but can take the blunt force of a hammer for cutting mortises.
Genno:  The hammer that is used for chiseling mortises comes in many head styles and metal materials.  The student will be using a generic Japanese hammer with a flat side and curved side.
Router Plane:  Though it is not a traditional Japanese hand tool, the western router plane is a fine tool used to plow grooves needed for the half lap joinery of the trivet.  

Instructor Bio
Ivan Schierling has studied Japanese carpentry for more than 10 years.  As a student of Jay Van Arsdale with the Daiku Dojo in Oakland, CA, Ivan became entranced with the beauty and craftsmanship of woodworking with well-made hand tools.  In 2011, he studied Japanese timber framing from Dale Brotherton, another well-known and accomplished craftsman, at a workshop with EcoNest in Ashland, OR. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Mathematics, focused in teaching, Ivan apprenticed with Paul Discoe and the San Francisco Zen Center to assist with the construction of a large 12-pillar entry gate to the Tassajara Zen Center in Big Sur, CA.  Recently, Ivan volunteered with Dale Brotherton and his company Takumi Design, participating in various projects in Washington.