I spent some time yesterday and today helping Mr. Arimoto install a bannister and railing that he’d made for a client.
Tadao cut and shaped the pieces from walnut, and finished them with Osmo Polyx oil finish. We spent about ten hours total getting everything cut to fit, installed, and touched up.
He didn’t make the metal balustrade, so we had to adjust everything to fit somebody’s else’s work. It was a good exercise in the difference between theory and practice, or between design and execution.
Some months ago, we got a new sofa and comfy chair for the den. These pieces are very rectangular, and go nicely with the Mid-Century Modern look of the den, but it’s very tempting to rest your drink on the armrest while you’re sitting in them, which would be unwise since that drink is likely to sweat or spill onto the upholstery. I’ve seen little table-like structures that sit on the arm of a couch, and I figured, “I am a woodworker, and I don’t need to pay those prices for somebody else to make this for me.” Behold!
I had a walnut board in the garage, left over from some project long ago. The corners are miter-cut, and I managed to keep track of the pieces well enough that you can see the grain flow around the bend. The corner joinery is reinforced with splines, also from walnut). You can see that I had a difficult time getting all this glued up, because of the blotches in the linseed oil finish.
This was a pretty-good fast project, only taking a few hours over the weekend. I may wind up making a couple more of these.
An ashiuchidai is a piece of braiding equipment used when braiding long loop braids. If the material is too long, it’s impossible to pull the “stitches” tight by spreading your hands apart. The ashiuchidai provides a fixed point to hold the braid up where you can work it easily, and a beater bar that can be activated by tugging on a string. The string can be tied to your toe so that moving your foot taps the stitches into place while your hands braid.
I made this ashiuchidai back in June of last year, but I recently added some features to it to improve its performance. There are two stabilizers that keep the beater bar centered and straight on the axle (only one is visible in the photo), and five brass pins added to the beater (visible as the dark dots on the back ot the blade just below the tip) as counterweight. Despite my best efforts, the beater could still get stuck in the “up and in the way” position, and this counter-weighting makes it much more likely that the beater will fall back out of the way.
I still have to try it out! I haven’t made the “helping-hands” that allow you to put down the loops while you’re loop braiding, so trying out the ashiuchidai means devoting a block of time to completing a braid that is pretty long.
This is a project I started way before I got the blog going gain, but I finally added one of the final details to make this project complete. This is a “hitsu“, a Japanese storage box. They’re often used to store armor (which would make them a “gusoku hitsu” or “gusoku bitsu”), and often when you see a set of Japanese armor on display, the armor stand is sitting on top of the storage hitsu. They often have bail handles so a pair of people can carry one or multiple hitsu slung from a pole, and sometimes they have carry straps so a single person could carry the hitsu on their back.
The body of the box is thin plywood to keep the weight down. It’s framed in on the inside with 1×1 lumber, to give the nails something to bite into. The corners are also reinforced with brass hardware that I made myself by cutting it from sheet brass with snips. the latch is a sash lock, which isn’t the best, but it looks ok and is beefy enough to keep the hitsu closed during carrying.
All the wood is protected on the outside by spar urethane, so I think this will be good for carrying things around on drizzly days at Pennsic. that’s the main reason for this project, carrying things around at Pennsic.
When we were recently in Japan, we visited the Costume Museum in Kyoto. There are only a few costumes on display in the costume museum these days. Now it is mostly a large dollhouse model of scenes from the Tale of Genji. Part of one of these scenes was this great little bench.
So of course I decided that I need to make a bench just like this. The “no hardware” aspects of it really appeal to me, and even though it may turn out a bit unstable due to that, the ability to break it down into pieces for travel may come in handy. Also, since so many of these pieces have the approximate proportions of modern dimensional lumber, it shouldn’t be too hard to make.
Needless to say, it’s quite a bit of work to go from a photo of a scale model to a plan for cutting and joining actual lumber, but assumptions about scale, combined with measurements of actual lumber, can be used to make decisions, and create plans.
I need to make a new hanging lantern for Pennsic, and I actually managed to spend some time out in the garage this weekend to get some of the bigger work done on this frame of the lantern.
It’s all left over cypress, joined with mortise and tenon joints. I cut the sticks on my band saw, smoothed them with a hand plane, cut them to length by hand, cut all the tenons on the router table, and cut all the mortises with a mortiser.
So, not a great example of hand work, but I might need to make a bunch of similar lanterns in the future, so I wanted to try to automate as much as possible. It still needs sanding, gluing, papering, and the insertion of some kind of light source.