Minka Disassembly

Short video from Harrelson Stanley on the deconstruction of a Minka in Japan to eventually be rebuilt in Massachusetts. I can’t decide if my favorite part is the enormous jaguchi joint at 3:03 or the quote immediately following that somehow incorporates (and I paraphrase) the Kansas song, “All we are is dust in the wind”. Probably both.


4 thoughts on “Minka Disassembly

  1. Hello, and Happy New Year,

    Harrelson is a friend of mine, and as far as I know, has not gotten the frame here yet. This will remind me to check on him…

    Now for your reference to 3:03, you mentioned jaguchi – 蛇口 which means “faucet” and is a shoji joint of some fashion but I believe there it has a better name as well. Can’t recall at the moment???

    The joint at 3:03 is in the family of roofing system joints called “Orioku” – 折置 or formal full name “Oriokigumi” – 折置組. The specific joint is hard to discern from the video, yet I do believe it is a “Juuhozo” (stacked tenon also call a “teazel” tenon in old english timber framing.) It could also be just a simple “Hirahozo” – 平ほぞ (flat tenon.) To build a foundation you should know (if you do not already?) “Hozo” – ほぞ means tenon, and “Hozoana” – ほぞ穴 mean mortise.

    Go to see you are still studing and working hard…


    • Hi Jay,

      Happy New Year to you too.

      My ignorance precedes me…I had recently learned of the jaguchi in reference to joining the rail and stile in a basic shoji screen with double tenon and mortise joint. Going back to that exercise in Des King’s book, I see that the jaguchi in that exercise was referring to (I think) both the chamfer on the stile and the haunch on the rail. In the video I noticed that same haunch and chamfer and in my own way figured it was the same joint. Turns out it’s a little more complicated than that:-) I really appreciate the clarification and now have something new to learn in that what appears to be one type of joint in shoji screens doesn’t necessarily translate into other type of structures.

      That’s one of the thing I love about digging into joinery; it’s always much more complex than it appears to be.

      Thanks again for taking the time to explain.


      • Hi Bobby,

        I know you like learning, I can tell…that is great, as you are the next generation to take our craft and keep it alive.

        If you want to broaden and deepen your search capabilities, learn to do searches in other languages. For example, take the “kanji” I have given you and “copy and paste” that to a Google search, then hit “images.” If you didn’t know how to do that all reading, get ready for a whole new world to open up for you…

        Best of luck,


      • Thank you for the kind words, Jay. I will do my best to honor the tradition. I suspect it will take a lifetime to do so and perhaps longer. My only hope is that I am able to explore the craft over time in such a way as to keep improving from one day to the next.

        I look forward to investigating the kanji mentioned in your last reply.


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