Fun with Ko-Ko-Gen and other Facts of Wood

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Starting off from where I left you on my last post, staring at the end grain of some old douglas fir decking. In many respects, perhaps not remarkable lumber, but I love the warm glow and even grain, it is something as to character that I look for in other species of timber to favour. This material will be planed down to 1/4″ and given tongue and groove edges with my plow plane.

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Stable material like this behaves during sawing! I also have a much better understanding of how much set the saw needs for me to re-saw and leave a nice surface like this.

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I recently bought Chris Hall’s “The Art of Japanese Carpentry Drawing, Volume II: Fundamentals of Kokogen”, which I have found to be totally worth the outlay of cash for a bit of scarce knowledge in the English language.  Now I get the whole unit triangle thing, and kept on having these dumb moments where I felt like I was in high school geometry again (although I loved geometry!). Now when reading “The Complete Japanese Joinery” I see something like, use reverse chogen slope, and it seems pretty straight forward, sort of. There’s theory, and then there’s putting it to practice.

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Both the edge cut and the face cut of a hopper (splay sided box) can be determined directly with different segments of the unit triangle for the overall rise/run. Unfortunately I still had a bit to learn about what value is used on which side of the sashigane, and marked out the wrong angle for the miter cut on the board edge.

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But the layout looks so promising! Meh. Now it just looks wrong. Still some challenge left in executing these diagonal grain cuts with a hand saw.

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I didn’t have time to try again, off to lunch with mother and my niece Lilly. This is what I look like close up to a four year old, haha. Childs eye view?

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She was by today as well picking up a special delivery. Anyone know what this tool is for?

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Slicing some different kinds of domestic truffles! I’ve never tried any of these before, the smell was very rich in an off sort of way.

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The grain of this beam is what I think of as rich in an off sort of way. As in, off enough to break the window from swelling and bowing in the middle during a freak 1000 year rain event we had not too long ago. Beautiful patina for some old redwood 6×6 that’s taken fifty years of weather and sun.

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Up next, daiku study group day. And what mysteries of joinery might this shachi-sen hold under key?

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