Saturday, November 21, 2015

Autumn leaves - bring on the colour.

An outside wall of Eikando-in Temple, Kyoto with a bed of the reddest of all Japanese shrubs.

And...on the other side of the wall a serene pond with an arched granite bridge in the background. It was Thursday 12th November and the Japaese Maples (Acer palmatum) were bringing forth all their Autumn glory of red and yellow.
A very large granite lantern with all the Japanese Maples in the background. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Chop, chop.......

I came across a house building company in a quiet country location in the midst of preparing a house frame the Japanese way. They were using a combination of electric power tools and traditional hand tools to make intricate joints in the timber. These joints slide into one another and are held together with wooden pegs.
Lots more future timber house frames in the distance.
Using a a hammer and chisel to remove the excess timber and give the finishing touches.
In this instance the tradesman is just using hand pressure to do the finishing touches to this joint with a chisel.
Wouldn't you love to know your house had been constructed using these wonderful methods.
After reading so many woodworking books with photos of immaculate workshops with everything in it's place and not a bit of sawdut anywhere it was reassuring to see that not everyone's workshops look like that.
A beautiful and decorative Japanese line marker and hand saw. All these hand tools are still used in the making of traditional framed Japanese houses.
Still in the same factory where all this frame making has been taking place. But what's this? Check out the next blog to find out!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

.....a light to my path.

Japanese paving is different in it's informality, textures, materials but still beautiful and interesting in all it's forms whether it's leading up to a restaurant, a public building or meandering through a sublime Japanese garden.



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Such a simple looking knife, such a complicated process!

If Jules Verne and Steven Spielberg both put their heads together they couldn't have conceived a scene like the following picture. What would you make with machinery like this - submarines for the Australian Navy? Perhaps this is the office of Hanna Barbara where the Jetsons was produced just after finishing off the Flintstone series!!
While you're trying to work it out let's take a look at another part of the same factory.
Now, this has to be the office because there's an office chair and it's surrounded by paper. And although I am a part of the 21st century's paperless office elite my office does look like this only there's no paper.
I'm looking around and I'm starting to think this place is older that I first thought because the walls are made with stcks and finished off with clay and I know they don't make factories like that these days - do they?
Could this be modern Japan, the country that emerged from the second world war in tatters and in 15 years would be described as the "Economic Miracle"? That's right - congratulations. The same place where in the capital city, street vending machines can do a face scan to determine your age and sex and make a suggestion as to what you would like to drink at that time of the day!! Yep, you're right again.  
Not far from the office in a back room, Charles Dickens has just ducked around to the Blue Boar Inn to get a coffee leaving the office boy to repair the stapler (got to keep all that paperwork together until they too join the paperless office craze that's sweepiing through the 21st century).
But look at what the office boy emerges with from the back room with - what happened to the stapler!!
But wait, that's not the office stapler, but it is one of the best knives I've ever seen. Yes, it's a Damascus steel bladed beauty with a gorgeuos timber handle to finish it off. So that's what they make with all that amazing machinery - well done. If only I could turn my stapler into a work af art and slice up the roast with it as well.  

Monday, December 15, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Making a mortise using a Japanese mortising chisel.

 The Japanese Mortise Chisel (Tategu) - double layer blade laminated with White Paper steel , has a square cross section that tapers towards the end of the blade. Handles are made from Japanese White Oak. In Japan these are used to make or rework the guides of Japanese sliding doors (shoji) and partition walls. 
Start by marking the outer dimensions of the mortise using a square and a pencil.
Next use a mortise guage to mark the width of the mortise. 
Using a hammer drive your Japanese mortise chisel into the timber starting near the centre of the mortise at an angle of approximately 45 degrees and keeping within the lines marked by the mortise guage. The mortise chisel needs to be driven in line with the timber for the best end result. 
Turn the chisel in the opposite direction to remove your first piece of timber.  
The recess is made larger gradually by repeating the first two processes.
When you get to the point where you're almost at the pencil lines use the chisel in a vertical position to remove small shavings until you reach the pencil line. You may need to remove more timber at the bottom of the mortise to allow for the tenon that's going to fit into it.
With the tenon already prepared it's now ready to fit into the mortise.
Tap the tenon into the mortise using a wooden mallet. Now you've got a joint that is strong and suitable for a range of different uses such as tables, chairs and cupboards.

Monday, October 7, 2013

In a "Garden City" what else would you expect?

Managed to get up to Toowoomba on the last day of the Carnival of Flowers last week. The Toowoomba City Council really does a wonderful job of putting the gardens together for this once a year show.
A geometric pattern of blue and yellow Violas.

The aptly named Smoke Bush(Cotinus coggygria)

Red and white Tulips in a bed of red and pink and white Dianthus.

An aerial view of the main section of gardens. Held every September and really worth the drive if you love glorious flowers with plenty of colour.