The Finest Experienced Carpenters : Katayama Haruo and Master Craftsma

The Finest Experienced Carpenters : Katayama Haruo and Master Craftsman Ījima Masao

The Highest Quality of all Paulownia Wardrobes in Japan Made by the Finest Experienced Carpenters:
Kiri Tansu Craftsman: Katayama Haruo (片山晴夫)
Katayama's Teacher: Master Craftsman Ījima Masao - 飯島政夫

► Where to Buy Kiri Tansu Craftsman: Katayama Haruo (片山晴夫) Address: 台東区竜泉 - Ryusen, Taitō, Tokyo 110-0012, Japan

The history of Kiri chests was said to have been originally made in Osaka at the beginning of the Edo era and became popular in the early 18 Th century.

They are made from Paulownia wood, much appreciated for its durability and excellent moisture- and fire-resistant properties.

Let's see the manufacturing process of "Osaka Senshu Kiri Tansu" by visiting Katayama's house.

► General Production Process
1. Drying and Sawing
Excellent quality paulownia wood, such as that found in Aizu, is used in the making of Osaka Senshu Kiri Tansu. In recent years, due to over-felling in the country, there is a shortage of mature trees. Nowadays, logs from Virginia and Pennsylvania in the United States, which are close to Aizu in latitude, are increasingly used. Although such quality timber is very expensive, it is indispensable for the making of high quality Osaka Senshu Kiri Tansu.
The logs are first sawn by checking their itame (flat grain) and masame (straight grain) and attention is paid as to how best utilize the wood grain patterns. The sawn wood is naturally dried for one to three years; exposure to wind and rain for a long period helps remove, aku (substances causing discoloration) and allows wood of excellent quality with few blemishes to be obtained.
2. Preparing the Timber
This process is key to the making of Osaka Senshu Kiri Tansu. Planks are assessed to best display their beautiful wood grain by constantly keeping in mind the appearance of the finished tansu.
3. Correction of Warpage
As the wood dries it will naturally warp, and this is corrected by gently heating over a fire and applying pressure.

4. Hagi Process
The hagi process unique to Osaka Senshu Kiri Tansu is used to make wide wood planks. The sides of planks are glued and joined together, which requires high-levels of skill, since the wood planks need to have matching wood grains when joined together.
5. Preparing the Planks
In this process, the planks are cut to the dimensions of parts including the tansu top board, the boards for the body part, drawers, hinged doors, and sliding doors. The surfaces of the wood planks are planed.

6. Joint Process
Mortise and tenon joints or box joints, in which the ends to be jointed are cut with a concavo-convex shape to allow assembly without nails or screws. Accurately cut tenons ensure no movement as the joint sections interlock to increase strength, making the tansu extremely durable and ensure a long-life.
7. Assembly of the Body
For the body, inclined hozo called arikumi (dovetail tenons) are cut. In the assembly of the body, arikumi are tapped home with a hammer, followed by a light planing to remove traces of assembly.

8. Drawers and Sliding Doors

Drawers are made by fixing the bottom board with wooden nails.

Sliding doors are made while closed. As even little gaps are not permitted for drawers and sliding doors, they are planed in units of 0.01 mm, which requires high-level planing techniques and skills.

9. Finishing
In finishing, a small brush-like tool or uzukuri is used to bring out the wood grain, and a liquid obtained by mixing polishing powder and yashabushi (Alnus firma) is used for coloring. By repeating the coloring process, the beautiful wood grain is increasingly burnished.
A final wax polishing is given, followed by attaching selected fittings.

► This is the original videos was uploaded by Kotaro Tanaka:
Kotaro Tanaka:

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We are an organization from Japan that like to preserve and promote the beauty of these traditional products. We do NOT own all the materials as well as footages used in this video.
Please contact to [email protected] or [email protected], for copyright matters. ご検討の程、よろしくお願いいたします。

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