Japanese Woodworking
Japanese Woodworking

Making a Folding Byobu Room Divider


with Osamu Shoji

As a woodworker you have probably seen Japanese hand tools, and possibly wondered what is so special about them. Perhaps you have purchased Japanese tools and experienced mixed results. Almost everyone loves the saws, but Japanese hand planes can be quite mysterious. The chisels and sharpening stones seem more straightforward, but there is much more to learn that makes these tools particularly effective and a pleasure to use.

This course solves the mystery. Japanese tools don't look like western tools because they are meant to be used somewhat differently. Once introduced to these techniques, you will find that the design of Japanese tools is not only logical but also very efficient. For instance, Japanese saws and hand planes are meant to be pulled toward the body rather than pushed away from yourself. This means that you become more centered and controlled during each pass, rather than shifting yourself off-balance. With the saws, a pull allows use of a much thinner blade, which not only makes a narrower kerf, but also requires much less effort to use.

Traditional byobu screens are made in many sizes, styles and configuration. Osamu Shoji has selected a small type, sometimes called makura byobu. These are about 20-inches in height with 2 to 4 pan- els. In some cases, the panels frame paint- ings on silk; in our case we will utilize a patterned wooden grillwork. A special feature will be the wooden hinges. Class participants will design their own projects, within parameters of size, complexity and individual work skills. Although the byobu is a specialized piece of furnishing, many aspects of the construction are fully ap- plicable to making other types of interior furnishings. The class is suitable for inter- mediate and more advanced woodworkers.

The tuition for this 5 day class is $1125. This includes materials, meals and lodging. Because tool preparation and sharpening is a major com- ponent of the process, students bring their own tools to this course. This includes: 3 chisels, a hand plane, a set of Japanese water stones, and measuring/layout tools. We will help with sug- gestions on how to keep costs reasonable, and to prevent mistaken purchases.

www.japanwoodworker.com Phone: 1 800 537 7820
www.hidatool.com Phone: 1 800 443 5512

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