Kasumi Gumi Shoji – Marking and Measuring

After the initial rough sawing of all the pieces for the second set of shoji screens out of Book 1 of Shoji and Kumiko Design, by Des King, I planed every piece to size. The horizontal and vertical kumiko, and the tsukeko all needed to be 6.4mm thick and the kasumi kumiko sized to 4mm thick.

The best way I’ve found so far to ensure uniform thickness after rough sawing is to adhere to 6.4mm strips along the bottom of my 22″ bevel up jointer plane. I set it to take very fine shavings and after several passes on each side of the kumiko the piece is sized correctly. It takes a bit of time, but I can size 2 to 3 kumiko at a time which helps speed up the process. For the stop I just use a small piece of wood in the tail vise and get to planing.


And here are all the parts ready to be marked and cut.


Before going further, I like to lay out the pieces in the order that they will go together. It helps to visualize the end goal and alerts me to any oddities that may have cropped up in the sizing process.


Next is laying out all the markings on the story stick. Before reading Des King’s book, I wasn’t familiar with using a story stick but it is indispensable in this process.


And the first kumiko mortise in one of the stiles. This mortise is for one of the kasumi-kumiko and is 4mmx4mm. I like to drill out the hole and then chisel out the rest w/a 1/8″ mortise chisel.

From here I’ve got lots of marking, mortise making, and sawing to take care of…time to get to work.



4 thoughts on “Kasumi Gumi Shoji – Marking and Measuring

    • Hi Brian, when I made my first shoji screen a few years back using Jay Van Arsdale’s plans, I chopped all the mortises by hand and it indeed took some time. I actually quite enjoy going through that process by chisel only, but I’ve got this whole full time job thing and I get impatient enough that I want to get quicker results, hence the drilling. So it goes. Have you started on your hip-board shoji yet?

      • My reply should say 2 times longer ‘than’ drilling. For me paring those corners is a long process. Are you finding just the opposite?

        Yeah, cruising along in Western red cedar prep. The wood is reminding me how much I like AYC.

      • It will definitely take some time but it’s kind of satisfying work. I’m using Monterey Pine which so far has been quite nice to work with. Nonetheless I agree with you on the AYC.

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