I ended up going back to the MET one more time before leaving for Colorado. Here’s the tokonoma for the shoin style room. Is this alcove pretentiously wide? I wonder about the choice of the gilt paper as well. I love the way this room is presented, but its not a place you can live in. The good design I care about these days has more to do with a self-sufficient life. Where in that is space for a room of display and reception? In the splendor of viewing this room I forgot that the average carpenters house, for his entire family in Edo period Japan, would be about the same size.
I truly enjoyed seeing the re-created early American rooms with furnishings and nick-nacks, because it gave me a feeling of the people that might have lived then. As a friend of mine has said, its the relation between the subject and the object that matters.
So, while I loved seeing a re-created shoin style reception room, I would get so much more out of the more humble carpenters room from a row house, perhaps with a workspace in one corner, and the furnishings of a lived in space.
Back in the mountains of Colorado I’m awed by a different kind of beauty, one that has you not caring about bad design and life as a poor redneck. There was something greatly compelling and exciting about life in the city, the possibilities of it all, and the youthfulness and affluence. It was a real spin around and half of the time I felt like I could forget about the country and make do with a park…but really no. A man should be able to take a piss when he needs to. The great irony of a completely constructed space for human needs is that it is greatly inhuman.
I finally felt human enough to get back to work on the closet cabinet build. As it turns out I’ve left the panel work alone for long enough to visibly swell in width, the story stick doesn’t lie. I had planned to attach the bottom skirt that hides the caster wheels with sliding dovetails into the long grain of the panel. It hadn’t occurred to me that as the panels shrink and swell it would be putting constant stress on the dovetails for the skirt corners.
So some re-evaluation followed, obviously the attachment needs to allow for the panel to move freely. Now the sliding dovetail keys are on the short edge of the cabinet, and will be mortised into the panel above with the cross grain to follow the direction of greatest movement in the panel. I had to draw out the various conditions that might occur to see how it would effect the sliding dovetails. I realized that if the panel is to move freely the sachi-sen doesn’t make sense. If I put it in I have to leave the dovetails with a gap either end, and then what is the wedge for if you can’t draw it up tight?
So forget the wedge, it’ll move freely and keep the panel above from splitting in the long run. I’m still not sure about leaving the sachi-sen out, I would have liked to use it. Chris Hall over at thecarpentryway is working on some Ming inspired cabinets and dealing with the support stand attachment to the bottom of the cabinet carcass as well. I hope to learn more as his work progresses.
I spun a new silk line for my sumitsubo, this one is about half the diameter compared to the one I have in my ink line now. I’m hoping that it will be fine enough for joinery work and timber framing.
Apparently I didn’t forget how cut hand cut dovetails while in NYC, it felt really great to get back to work.