charlie b (in email@example.com) said:
| After you spend an hour or so on
| Yazawa's site you'll come away saying "DAMN that
| guy is a great woodworker - and truly a master of
| his craft!
Interesting site! Thanks for posting the link.
DeSoto, Iowa USA
Miter the corners of the box, glue it up then make saw
cuts acrossed the corners. Plane stock down to the
width of the saw kerf - in this case in the thin veneer
range, slip pieces in the saw kerf with a LITTLE bit of
thinned glue and wait. when the glue dries pare off
the excess and carefully scrape or plane off any high
bits of veneer. the idea is simple. the execution at
this size is probably not simple.
That's a splined miter, a many splendored but still splined miter.
Here's a picture showing what the guy in question does - true finger
joints the width of a saw blade.
http://www.eurus.dti.ne.jp/~k-yazawa/jointwork.html Looks like he had
a little blow-out, but that's the wabi in his work.
Looking closely at the second and third picture on the page
Leuf provided I stand corrected. He didn't take the easy
way with veneer thin "splines". He actually cut ectremely fine
finger/box joints - and on a mitered corner at that. This man
is amazing! To think up this joint is impressive. To be able
to actually make it - even if the "fingers" were twice the width
of those he actually made - is astounding. A very good designer,
a wonderful eye for wood AND the woodworking skills to do
this level of work. Truly a rare combination.
Those are all valid points Charlie.
What I would add to the above remarks is that this guy has some amazing
physical skills. Great visual acuity and the delicate touch of a surgeon
would be required. And the patience of Job. And an almost mystical
relationship with tools and wood.
The list goes on. You can not say enough good things about this man and his
Another thought I have about this level or artisanship and beauty, is it
art? There are always those artistic purists who proclaim that no craftsman
type project ever achieves the status of pure art. I think that many people
would catagorize Kintaro Yazawa's work as true works of art. I know that I
Again I get very humble when I see things like this. My wife, the quilter,
looked at Yazawa's work last night and just proclaimed him to be some kind
of mystical woodworker. Beyond normal abilities and sensibilities. Sort of
an Olympic level artist. Almost beyond our ability to understand or
Now that is good! (Funny that she never says anything about me like that!)
Not intendng to detract from the man's work (but perhaps to embrace it...),
doesn't his choice of wood and the condition it's in (moisture content,
etc.) have a lot to do with what he can do with the wood? Seems like you
can do lot more when the wood "likes" what you're doing to it and you
don't have to fight it. I know I've had many fights against wood where I
chose material that was too soft/hard/brittle/, too porous, etc. Sometmes
you go where the wood takes you, sometimes you can gently direct the wood.
Brute force seldom seems to help, and more is definitly not better.
Absolutely and an overlooked subject in most wodworking books, tapes
and magazine articles etc.. Some woods you can use for almost
anything and some shouldn't be used for certain applications. Trying
to do handcut dovetails in soft pine is normally an exercise in
often discouraging people enough to give up on trying again. BUT -
they had the luxury of practicing in mahogany for example, or cherry
or maple the problem with crushing and tearing the wood rather than
cutting or paring it would be significantly reduced or eliminated.
And using SHARP cutting tools, be it chopping dovetails or turning
on a lathe - especially on a lathe is often one more source for
success and satisfaction or failure and frustration.
And stock prep is another often overlooked factor. If you've
ever tried half blinds when one or both parts are either cupped
or twisted, or the ends weren't cut square you'll eventually
figure out that that might be why the joints don't close nice
and neat, or why your box or drawer etc. is out of square
in one or more planes.
Part of the beauty of this man's work is that it requires not
only the skill to make it, but the knowledge of his tools and
wood. We get blown away by technique but seldom realize
the underlying, seldom obvious, knowledge required BEFORE
the first tool touches the wood.
This guy is truly a master woodworker
Different strokes, of course, but that's exactly the opposite of what
Frank Klausz said at a recent woodwhacker club meeting. He counciled
starting on softer woods and working your way up to the hard woods. I
suppose the general procedural objective for any hand cut work -
patience, sharp tools and don't force things. Oh, and learning a
wood's properties on your project stock is not a good idea.
I'd love to see a video of that guy cutting some of his joints. The
thing that I've never been able to make any real headway on in my own
skills is speed - particularly in the fine hand work. I don't know if
it's because I enjoy it so much that I want it to last or if I'm just
speed impaired. Probably both.
I do wonder a bit at his choice of wood on that diamond corners piece.
The diamonds pretty much disappear in the top half of the piece. That
may just be the photography, but if I could do a joint like that I'd
choose wood for the box that was consistent from top to bottom. That
wood there was beautiful enough on it's own a simple miter with hidden
reinforcement would have been my choice.
Plus there's a smidge of dirt under his fingernail in one of the
photos. That's about all I can find to criticize.
Check again Charlie, those aren't splined miters like you are
describing, those are honest to goodness fingerjoints- the width of a
sawblade. Even more impressive huh. I'm with John B: shop full of
tools for sale, only slightly used by a rank amateur! bc
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