Monday, October 27, 2008

redwood kitchen shoji


I finished a shoji for the kitchen window today.  I found some synskin  at Tap plastics that replaces shoji paper in areas that could get wet.  Wanting to just add a bit of privacy to the kitchen from the neighbors house I just went with a single sash shoji.  I used old growth redwood from a large tank (the pieces initially were 3" thick) I used the clearest and darkest for the stiles and rails ( the outer frame) of the screen.  I then cut numerous kumiko ( the cross pieces) from various boards I had at 1/2 and 3/4 inches thick.
I bunched together all kumiko made from the same piece and used painters tape to keep them together for future use.  
After choosing the bundle that would waste the least amount of wood I cut them to size roughly 1/2 longer than the inner dimension of the frame.  The 1/2 is the 1/4" that the kumiko will be mortised into the frame.
After choosing the weave of the kumiko, marking and cutting the half laps with my Ryoba saw on the kumiko a rough test fit can be made and any adjustments made.  Mortises then are cut on the rails and stiles by japanese chisel to take the kumiko tenon in. 
Just before you assemble the finished frame, cut notches for wedges in the tenons which will be used to keep the whole frame together- look ma no glue!  By not using glue here you can go back and fix a broken piece and just by chiseling out the wedge your up and running.  
Not to mention that it is just so cool to have something joined seemingly so primitively work so well and not have to clean up a huge mess of glue.

Now to add the paper, well fiberglass paper in this case.  I used a glue that Tap plastics recommended for joining material.  I am not too happy with how the glue went on to the frame though ( clumpy)  so I will look for a different product to try out.  It seems to bind ok, but the final drying time is 3 days.  It seems some people just staple the screen paper on the frame, but while I might try to use the staple as a way to add a holding point I could not think of trying to make a nice screen, and then stapling it together...
The paper was pretty easy to cut and I was able to sizeand cut it with my japanese knife



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