Onto the Kumiko

Marking the kumiko for the half-lap joints was somewhat challenging. They are small pieces (1/4″ x 3/8″) by approx 21″ or 31″ for the horizontal and vertical strips respectively. The process is of the type where after you do it, it makes perfect sense but prior to, it’s challenging to wrap your head around, at least in the pre-visualization sense. One of the positive aspects is that if you are making several shoji of the same size, you can take care of several of the marking and cutting steps all at the same time.




Once I had that step completed, I laid out all the pieces again to make sure all the marks were in the right place and then moved on to cutting out the half laps. Here’s where the time saver comes in. When you lay out all the horizontal kumiko, you can orient them so that all the half laps are lined up and the sides of the joint can be sawn out simultaneously. Then, you can flip every other kumiko 180 degrees so that all the tenons line up at which point you can saw those. Repeat with the vertical kumiko.

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To knock out the waste of each half lap, lightly tap bottom of the joint with the correct sized chisel to establish a line to eliminate tear out on each side then remove the waste. While you could do this using only hand pressure, a mallet provides more accuracy.

Once done, I assembled the kumiko to confirm the fit. Everything was pretty close but some of the half-lap joints were a little short so I’ll need to go back and remove a little bit more to make them flush.

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I cut the kumiko a tad long just to give myself some room to work with-I’ll need to cut the tenons so that the final length is correct.

The last big step is to cut the mortises in the tenons and rails.

IMG_1981Unfortunately I don’t have a chisel small enough to perform this task so these guys will have to wait. Turns out it’s not so easy to find a 1/8″ or 3/16″ mortising chisel at the local hardware store. I’ve got a lead on a woodturning supply place nearby. Will report back on my findings…