Sad Asanoha


About a year ago I made this gate with wanton abandon towards the fundamental principles that act on hinged frames, namely our old friend gravity. The hand plane finished surfaces look really good though, haha. So I keep saying, oh, better get on fixin the gate with some diagonal bracing.  But really, a wooden gate should have a roof, so… it doesn’t get fixed because its not worth fixing without a roof on there first. More on that in a bit.


I managed to get a 3D printer working (Flash Forge Creator Pro), finicky machines these printers. After a whole bunch of fuss calibrating the build table to the extruders I still couldn’t get parts to stick properly, hot plastic mess ensued. For such an expensive machine, they are still far from perfect. The fix was a four dollar bottle of max strength hair spray, figures.

I’ll leave the existential quandary of using a tool like this for later when I have less to get done. For right now there’s a satisfying feeling to have it merrily printing out useful parts while I’m in a pit digging a foundation.


I also bought a Rikon 12″ Planer/Joiner combination machine. When you get to the point of having rough sawn lumber for a full house to process you have to pick your battles. That or start taking apprentices.

Its a decent enough machine for the money, just barely there on quality. It would have helped to know that the chip extraction is a total joke without a power dust extraction system. Even with the jointer tables flipping up and down to use the planer it seems to hold alignment. After years of planing all my stock four square with hand planes its also a bit of welcome relief, allowing me to get to joinery much faster. Of course, long thin material like shoji stiles will still have to be jointed by hand, and I kind of laugh at the idea that the planer table could adjust with the tolerances of my kumiko thicknessing kanna.


I was left with the shipping crate that the thing came in, after an ordeal with a stupid truck driver and hiring a forklift to move the thing into my shop. Oddly enough I had just enough material from cutting up the crate a bit to sheath a 7.5/10 pitch roof on top. Providence wanted it to be a chicken coop, so I build a coop.


And with the new planer it was blow and go to get the siding material resawn from 2x dimensional lumber, down to 9/16″ board and batten.


The 3D printer came in handy for printing the hinges, and I used a simple post foundation. Didn’t have to buy anything for making it but the asphalt shingles, a whopping $10 from a building recycling store.

Of course chickens also need a fenced run to keep them from eating all your tasty perennial food forest crops, and a fence needs a gate to get in and out. Around here I guess that means I need to make a gate too.


To come full circle on today’s post, a proper hinged gate, courtesy of knowledge from a Chris Hall series A Bracing Situation.

I used mostly lap joinery to speed up construction. The rails all taper from the hinge stile to the latch stile, lightening things up where gravity has the most effect. The diagonal brace meets the upper rail with a butt joint, but with a particular shape of cut that allows it to bear against more end grain in compression. And, it being cheap lumber, I painted it to moderate movement from moisture cycles.


Hopefully my shoji inspired main gates can get some tender love and care, but there’s no easy way to retrofit wooden diagonal bracing.  And the roof over it will be mostly western red cedar, currently drying a bit in my shop awaiting resawing for decking and shingles. Now if I can just remember to close the window above my drafting board and keep the rain from ruining my plans. Wouldn’t a roof help with that? Haha.


4 thoughts on “Sad Asanoha”

  1. Chickens! Nitrogen, eggs, meat, and fluffy fun…all in one!

    That gate looks nice, I can see why you’d want to save it. The Samurai Carpenter made a really fance roofed gate, that might help you get some ideas. Can’t help you much on the printer, but they all seem to have quirks- surprised you didn’t go for a reprap type printer, they’re cheap but you have to build a lot of it. Seems right up your alley.

    Sorry I couldn’t visit you. Perhaps in the future! I’m back in the Northeast and it feels awesome. I can’t believe I’m saying this…but I missed the humidity. The air feels fuller here.

    1. The 3D printer was something that my brother left here the last time he was through, just couldn’t get it working properly. I lost my coffee scoop the other day and want to print one out to replace it, but also make a nice wooden one on the lathe. Then I can hang them up side by side and contemplate the shift from making a craft item to more of pure designers role. I think if I stare at the two of them side by side for long enough I’ll arrive at some conclusion as to the role of the hands in making objects of beauty beyond the role of pure design.

      Its too bad we couldn’t meet up, I would have pressed you into service re-pointing my jackhammer bits at the forge, haha. Seems like they’re the only tools that get any use around here at the moment.

      The “Samurai Carpenter” does some good work, but I have a hard time not being a bit offended by his handle. Its reductionist, you know? Humility has never been a strong suit of Americans.

      1. It’s funny you say that, he’s Canadian. He admits he highly prizes himself, but says he thinks highly of everyone. Something about how we all have good inside? Apparently he got the nickname a while ago and it stuck…It can be a little cringe-inducing and weeb-like at times, but there’s some good content in there sometimes.

        I think hands are great, but design really is paramount- and the hands can be part of the design. Even a print needs some handwork if you want something with 0 blemishes.

  2. “Japanese Homes and their Surroundings”, Morse, Edward S., 1885

    On pg 132, Figure 111….

    Shoji screen that have fallen out of square are braced with thin sprung inserts of bamboo, placed diagonally. It does certainly alter the rectilinear beauty somewhat. Diagonal bracing IS sometimes seen in Japanese architecture, haha. Those gates are too nice to leave all crooked. The building of the roofed addition will be entertaining to follow along with as well.

    Love the chicken roosting house, and it’s a great re-purposing of materials. Things are looking very trim there. More good work, I see!

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