By Andrew Curle

Lit by n simple incandeacenl hull», this (lelicntr pupcr-und-wood lamp produces a room full of ainhieiice.

I became interested in Japanese woodworking about 10 years ago. I was employed in a library at the time, and started reading about woodworking so I could plan a shop. After seeing photographs of work from Japan, though, I knew that was where I had to go to learn.

Once there, I spent a couple of years studying the local woodworking and architecture, reading Buddhist literature and traveling in the Far East. Eventually I realized that in Japan, beauty is perhaps as important as strength in many objects. For example, this lamp, made with a thin frame and light-diffusing rice paper, weighs less than i pounds, so it seems more like a box kite than a household furnishing.

The lamp represents a fairly traditional style in Japan. The top rails arc joined to the four legs with blind slip joints, while simple mortise and tenon joints connect the lower rails to the legs. (See Fig. 1.) These joints are tiny, but they are adequate for this job because they arc under very little stress. Also, they represent the fragile nature of Japanese objects, which I admire. You could dowel the pieces together, if you prefer.

The thin latticework frame between the legs and rails is made of thin strips of wood, called kumiko. These interlock in half-lap joints where die and horizontal strips cross and are held together with a drop of glue. The kumiko simply press-fit between the legs and rails, so the)- can easily be popped out if you need to replace die rice paper. Finally, the top is a separate mitcred frame, that is reinforced and accented with splines and inlay.

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