I spent today milling the pieces of the 1st shoji screen to their working size. Using the dimensions in Van Arsdale’s book, I started with a 6′ 2×6″ piece of Poplar. I used the table saw, mitre saw and planer to get things to their approximate dimensions for length, width, and thickness. I’ll move over to hand tools once I finish up getting the kumiko to their working size.
I marked out the dimensions of the pieces on one end of the piece of Poplar to ensure proper size and to account for the kerf on the table saw blade which turned out to be about 1/8″. I left anywhere from 1/8″ to 1/16″ all around each piece to allow for hand planing to exact specifications and to remove any machine and layout markings.
Poplar is good, straight wood, with a slow, easy grain pattern. I made a point to keep the original orientation of each piece as it lived in the original slab of poplar so that when I choose the final layout, I’ll be able to keep to that same pattern, at least somewhat.
After a few hours in the shop, I ended up with 2 rails, 2 stiles, and 9 kumiko strips. Each screen only calls for 7 kumiko, but this leaves some room for error. There is also enough wood left over to mix and match on the later screens.