Matsu Kaze Woodworking
Aloha One and All thanks for checking in at the Matsukaze Blogspot.
I recently completed an Isho Yaro Dansu.
18.25 x 38 x 42
curly koa, silk oak, port orford cedar, australian cedar,
western red cedar, bronze, iron
The Isho Yaro were a single piece tansu. There were many differing drawer configurations
some implementing safe doors and drop fit doors.
I enjoy this particular style with the two small drawers for keepsakes or small clothing accessories.
The small drawers also allow for secret compartments and boxes known as hesokuribako.
Which loosely means belly button chestnut box .....
An elderly Japanese lady had said to me that wives would stash kuri ( or coins) in their heso away from their husbands. Who knows, maybe when the husband was looking for some cash to go to the pub or some other
Either way, I enjoyed the story and pass it on to you.
So without further ado here's some images in a variety of day time light.......
The carcass top and sides are made from rare single 18.25" wide boards in the typical Matsu Kaze fashion.
Beautiful Hawaiian Gold Koa from salvaged dead trees in upper Kaiwiki just a stones throw from our house on the foot hills of Mauna Kea. Elevation approx.2500'
The carcass is fully joined with through double tenons and dovetails , hand cut of course. The corners are mitered to facilitate the oval faced edge of the front to flow around the exterior and the dividing partitions terminate in sword tip miters.
The drawer front material is quite elegant. The board that I was able to eek out two tansu from came from under a house in Mountain View area. A widow of an off bearer was selling off boards that her late husband had collected and stashed over forty years ago and had been air drying since.
I would love to know who has the rest of the tree or see what they made from it.
It's absolutely stunning Koa. A true 5A Curl with sweet cat's paw burls scattered about.
The color changes in the light from a vibrant gold amber to a rich Kona coffee. Very dynamic.
The drawer side and back material is Silk Oak from Australia, planted here in the early 1900's
It's easy to work and very beautiful itself. I had saved some of my best pieces for this project.
This drawer in particular has some nice wide ray flecks. It contrasts nicely with the darker Koa highlighting the joinery.
Drawer bottoms are made from Port Orford Cedar and left with only a hand planed finish
so not to restrict the aromatic quality of the wood.
The drawer bottoms are .45" solid Port Orford Cedar made in a traditional Western style with beveled edges beneath and secured with a brass screw.
The kanagu , metal fittings, on the chest are of the Mokko Style. It's shape is reminiscent of a half cross section of a melon I do not know the name of. I like the mating of these Mokko with a Matsu or Pine bow motif back plate. The handles are caste in bronze and the back plates are steel. The straps that hold the handles to the drawer are forged steel and all is presented in a blackened oil patina.The back plates are worked with a hammer, edges are hand filed to a neat bevel, and the four nails are of a wrought appearance.
The handles were caste by Daniel Chisler, now retired. He was the only place in the world to source these handles. I still have a small inventory and a couple sizes to round out a suite that he and I developed together. Exceptional work by an exceptional craftsman. Thank-you Dan.
When you remove the small top drawer you will find a hidden box behind.......
The box is made from koa left over from the Koa Sugi Chadansu from last year.
Lined with Toon an Australian Cedar, which to me is exactly like Spanish mahogany.....
Toon polishes to a exceptional sheen with hand planes.
There is one more hidden box but out of respect for the future owner I can not disclose the location.
It's made from Toon with a curly koa top.
The back of the Tansu is made of Western red cedar. Some tight grained quarter sawn boards.
I make the backs in a frame and panel style with through tenons for extra rigidity.
The cedar helps keep down the overall weight of the tansu and adds to the bouquet of cedars used in the piece.
The finish is Super Blonde Shellac, made from flake here at my shop to ensure freshness
and clarity. It is applied in a french polish method. To me there is no finer finish than shellac over a hand planed surface save for urushi. Super Blonde is lighter in tone to Blonde which I use from time to time for it's vintage appearance.
So now we have a Japanese tansu of Hawaiian woods with a French polish built by one haole from Maine.....
If you can find a more cross cultural piece please share!
Thank-you for taking a moment to view the new Tansu.
This Piece is Exclusively Available from
The Harbor Gallery
Located in Kawaihae , Hawaii
say hello to Gunner and Elli for me.
The Harbor Gallery represents over 100 of
The Island of Hawaii's
Best Artists and Artisans
On the way out I will share some images I snapped during the construction of the piece.
The process inherently affects the finished work.
Matsu Kaze Tansu are uniquely handcrafted.
Po napping on the job.....
this is a hand planed surface prior to the french polish......
Another member of the zoo......
Everyone has to be in the show......
M a t s u K a z e W o o d w o r k i n g
simple devices for inspired living
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