Thursday, November 21, 2013

New Work For November

Matsu Kaze Woodworking

Aloha everyone. Much going on in around the shop and Hilo town lately.
I completed another Isho yaro, a single section tansu this month.
It measures 17x34x36.
It is made of some exceptionally nice flat sawn koa. Most of the koa milled in Hawaii is quarter sawn. Quartering, will give you the best chance of catching a glimmer of curl figure. A little bit of curl isn't worth losing the some of the gorgeous swirling figure that a flat sawn koa board can exhibit.
I flat saw a large portion of the logs I bring in. This particular tree was pretty lively in figure. The flatsawn faces are filled with circular swirls and little babbles. The top drawer has a splash of  little bird's eye that looks like the Milky Way, 

and then as you can see, the whole piece has a ruffled golden crushed velvet look.

It features antique hand forged warabite hardware on the front. I am guessing that they were pre Meiji. Making them about 150 years old or so, beautiful Edo era hand work.
Here they are restored, in place.

They are really sweet. You can see the hammer trace and they have a nice shape to them. They are bit wider than tall with a long slow curve at the bottom.
I fabricated the straps and oil blackened the handles. The back plates are newer, from Japan.

The Kendon buta, a lift out door, or drop fit door, to your choosing, is of a fancy design.
I added the bead detail to the inside edge which I had not seen on any tansu before with this 
particular frame cut out. I think it came out nice.

The pull on the door is made from iron and deer antler donated by an axis deer from Lanai. I've made a few of these, this one came out pretty good. I like the door panel alot. It's flatsawn curl ( not common). It was a bit of stress curl at the end of an otherwise ugly duck of a board. I had spotted it in the flitch early on and saved it aside for this purpose.
Here's peek behind the curly door......

Another two small drawers with contrasting hardware in the Hirute style.
Sometimes, as is the case here, I configure the kendon buta with a secret catch .
You can see it operate here.....


So far in the pics I hope you can see the deep inner golden glow Koa has to offer. This is , to me, the uniqueness of the material. Some woods come close, but the gold, only with koa.

The base in the next pic, is mortise and tenoned together, all from the same tree as the cabinet. 

I enjoy how the light changes the feel of the cabinet throughout the day.
It's bright, shimmers gold in the morning sun, and mellows with the soft afternoon ambient light.

 The finish is a hand rubbed blonde shellac polish. It gives it a very vintage look. The whole piece feels very endearing, handsome, analog, heirloom-esque. You can tell at once it is hand crafted with much attention to detail. It feels old but is clearly new. Like a fresh antique.

If your still reading on I will show some process pics now.

 Hmmm... let's go way back. Here we have the log cut to boards. Now washed, just before being stickered for a year. You will probably see the top of the cabinet....

I've taken to collecting wide pieces. They always look better than a glue up. Hard to compete with nature.

Here's a couple pics of shop work....

This is the corner joinery. The carcass is thru dovetailed together. But when you have an edge profile that needs a mitered corner, such as is the case here with the slight radius on the edges. The miter being a weak glue joint, I reinforce them now with a small blind dovetails. "It's what's on the inside that counts" eh?

 And the female part...

Here we are , cabinet assembled, drawers fitted, and finish planed.

The silver oak is exceptional drawer material. It really should serve a higher purpose. It polishes nice, makes nice joinery, medium density, and contrasts with the Koa making the half blind dovetails pop! I hand picked 300 bft out of 2000bft just for drawer boxes. All the drawers have high lace wood figure if not wide abstract banding like old school quartersawn white oak popular on mission furnishings.

The drawer bottoms are of solid silver oak too( no plywood bottoms here!!) as well as the back of the cabinet which is frame and panel. But in these places I use flat sawn.

The outside was then finished with hand planes. Very glassy smooth in appearance. You can see reflections of machinery on the surface even without a top coat.

 My little kendon buta door dry fitted together.

Here's a happen stance before and after blackening of the hardware picture. It just happened I forgot one.... ooops!

Here's the whole suite restored ...

I make the straps now. Even the best hardware I find has poor straps.
They will always need fine fitting before mounting anyway. 
So now they are all forged from 1/8" round stock. That way I can harden the knuckle but leave the tangs softer for bending when mounting. They are much stouter than the over the counter variety. And they taper two ways which is the proper way anyhow.

My living room re-purposed as a finishing studio. Best light under cover of roof, so, it just has to happen. I have a very tolerant wife.

Here the cabinet sits for a week~10 days while the finish cures enough for rubbing out.
Many people do not rub out their finishes. This is really where you can correct any sheen inconsistencies and dial in the proper sheen for the piece. This isho yaro went out as a satin finish. I stopped with a 4F pumice powder.

The hardware was all installed in the same manner as covered in previous posts.

  a few parting images......


Thanks for taking the time, see you again I hope.
This is new work. The Harbor Gallery in Kawaihea, Hawaii
has made this piece available exclusively thru them.
You can contact Gunner or Elli at 808-882-1510
Or  go to their site

I am starting an isho yaro. It will be a largish piece. Several drawers for clothing and personal storage.
If interested in owning it please contact me now. Available in 8 weeks-ish.

simple  devices  for  inspired  living

H    i   l   o   ,   H    a    w    a    i    i

There is currently no completed works for sale. Contact me for info on forth coming tansu. I am not accepting commissions unless they are of special interest and/or you are currently an owner of my work.
My work appears annually at The Winter Wood Show at Harbor Gallery and their Summer Wood Show. 
January and July respectively. If you would like to be updated as to new work please email with your contact info and you will be put on the list. Thank-you for taking the time to consider my work.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Matsukaze Woodworking's Koa and Sugi Chadansu Awarded " Best of Show"

Hello everyone thanks for checking in on my blog. Today after a looonnngggg lapse in posting I will wrap up the chadansu build.
The piece actually won Best of Show at the Harbor Gallery Annual Wood Show in Kawaihea, Hawaii. Many thanks to all that attended the show and voted for my piece. The work sold just after the show came down. The gallery listing is hereHere is a press release for the show from the West Hawaii Today. Anyone interested in current work please contact me via email.

 So that's the good news from back in March. Yeah , way behind on the blog.  So without further ado let's see that last bit of the chadansu build. Then I will take you along to see some other projects that went out this year and give you a tour of the wood I have been acquiring for up coming projects that will be introduced in future posts.
 The last post of the chadansu build we looked at the carcass construction and interiors, back panel and tools I made to fashion some of the the details  for the piece.
Let's see a few more images.......

These are the doors in their initial stages of construction without panels, grooves and interior bead detail. They are joined with thru tenons in the mitered corners.

  I used the beading plane I introduced in the last post to fashion the inside bead detail.

The corners are shaped in with various chisels and carvers.
A final bit of detailing I save until the door is glued together. 

Here are my panel parts. Some of that crazy Sugi from Mountain View. Elevation about 2500 feet.

 This sugi is really challenging to hand plane.  It's soft, like hand planing soft cheese. Even with a low angle plane I made just for planing this sugi, there were still areas that needed to get the fuzz knocked off.  

 I overlay the frames on the panel material to find a good fit with the grain.

 The panels really glow with a couple coats super blonde shellac. There is no finish other than Urushi that compares to the deep warmth and luster of shellac. Hand planed surfaces with a  rubbed shellac finish display exceptional depth.  
The difference between a planed surface and a sanded surface is that the planed surface, already smooth   with high sheen shows exceptional depth and will need less of a top coat film than a sanded surface that will benefits from the added chatoyancy created by a thicker top coat film.  The thinner surface treatment has always seemed more refined to me. Although there are places and times to put on a bit more to really show some amazing wood off.

The panels are pre-finished prior to assembly, otherwise unfinished edges will show when the panels shrink over time.
Assembled here.
 This shows the corners chamfered, tenons planed flush,fitted to the cabinet and ready for finishing.
 So that was the process for all eight doors, 6 sliding and two flanking drop fit doors called kendon-buta.

The cabinet also featured 17 drawers, yes that's right, 17!!

They are all hand cut.  They are made from Portuguese Cypress and Koa for the fronts. The cypress is nice to work with, it polished with planes nicely.
Over time I have developed the drawer I build now, I vary the thickness of parts depending on size of drawer or it's use but the over all form and detailing has started to be a constant.

 The drawer fronts are half-blind dovetails. Standard stuff for a quality drawer.

Here is my drawer bottom I enjoy making.
It's clean, strong and easy to finish.

All the edges are detailed with a chamfer and surfaces are hand planed and left unfinished.
 The bottoms are made from Port Orford Cedar, took on a really nice sheen as well. The spicy cedar scent it exudes last for decades, maybe longer. 

After the drawers are glued up they get detailed and finish planed.

 Then fitted to the cabinet for smooth action.

 Here a close up showing  final detailing .

  How about some finish?
 I really love this Curly Koa  from  Palani Ranch. It has a deep rich color and a lively figure.  Still enough left for about three projects......
 O.k. so that's my Matsukaze Drawer. I use a few species for the drawer boxes now.
 Aside from this Portuguese Cypress I have been using a Tropical Ash, very similar to  New England Black Ash polishes very nice. Silver oak which has lace figure when cut on the quarter and makes a stunning 
drawer box. Like the one below from a recent work.

 And of course Port Orford Cedar.
 I will show you some amazing POC from Bob Sproul of East Fork Lumber Co. in an upcoming post.  East Fork Lumber Co. is one of only a few mills that saw POC and is probably the only one that entertains custom orders. He stocks very rare and large old growth logs. Much of which is exported to Japan for high end residential construction and traditional timber work.  I am currently stocking quarter sawn  POC material up to 18" wide from old growth salvaged logs.  30~40+ rings per inch!! Thank-you Bob and Anne! I feel like the coolest kid on the block.
  Look for tansu this winter featuring some of this amazingly rare old growth wood.

O.k., nuff gloating, back to the tansu.

This is the base I make for tansu that need an applied base. The frame is made with thick material  and triple tenoned on each corner. It has two stretchers dovetailed in for reinforcement. 

Here it is being fitted to the cabinet. 
I like it very snug when it is first built. It's squeezed on.

The finishing came about in different sessions throughout the project.  
Interior parts are prefinished,

 Door panels before doors are assembled. The back panel in two different sessions,first the panels and then the frame after it is assembled.
 The finishing accounts for about 25% of the project.  

 I really enjoy making cabinets with all the differing parts. Sliding doors and drawers, lift out doors and removable boxes.  It makes the work very interactive.
 Many of my current pieces also have secret boxes, hesokuribako.  

 Here is a nice box for removing from the cabinet to view it's contents. It is shown here, after the exterior has been finished but the box has not been "parted" yet from it's lid. The top is a tasty piece of sugi and the box sides are a quilted figure koa from the same log as the cabinet. The recesses in the sides to ease removing the lid are carved in a pine bow motif.

The lid is parted with a hand saw .

This was the finished product....

 The dovetail pattern used on the box is inspired from those on a very old nagahibachi.

The inside is left with a hand planed surface. The sugi has a very spicy scent.

There were a few drawers behind the other kendon buta....

O.k. this brings me to the hardware....

The hardware is all hand forged with  black hot oil finish. The C shaped handles are called warabite reminiscent of the warabi a fiddle head or fern sprout.
The odd man out is a hirute that was intended for the box. Hiru is a leech form.
Here is a set-up for installing hardware.
The holes for the handles are burned in to create the rectilinear shape of the straps. This keeps the handles tight and from twisting.

I've made several tools for installing hardware. Some from recycled screw drivers
 others from old files.

 All 18 handles installed....

That wraps it up I think. The piece took around 450 hours  to complete and weighed a ton, or about 250 lbs. , and well over 300 crated. Here are a few parting images.....

I kinda like it with out the doors in the center. It gives the chadansu an entirely different feel.

Whew! Marathon post!

Thanks again to everyone that voted for the Chasdansu at last winter's 2013 Wood Show at Harbor Gallery in Kawaihea, Hawaii.  I currently only show work at the Harbor Gallery. Gunner and Elli are great people and have the best of what the artisans of Hawaii have to offer. The Wood Show is the largest selling show on this Island.

  I still have material enough for a half size version of the Chadansu detailed in the past few posts. Please send a note if interested.  Limited supply of the Sugi and the Palani Ranch log.
Thank-you for taking the time to view the pics of the chadansu build by
 Correy Smith of Matsukaze Woodworking in Hilo, Hawaii.

Next up in the blog roll is the monster monkey pod table with splayed leg base.
Stay tuned.

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There is no tansu available other than what is currently under construction.
Pictures of current work and release dates available upon request.
Please contact me for information on available work coming out soon.