By: Christopher Pacanowski
When it comes to building buildings there are many different types of structural elements that can be used when constructing a building. Some of the most interesting structural elements are in post and beam construction. Specifically with Japanese post and beam structures which use no mechanical fasteners, this becomes an elaborate joint. There are many different types of Japanese joint, all of which use no mechanical fasteners and are made completely by hand. For a structural project that I had to do for a class, I had done a simple Japanese Joint, and the process was very interesting. With traditional Japanese carpenters, they would use chisels to make every hand joint. In my joint I had used a forester drill bit for a drill press to get the majority of the wood carved out of the 4 x4 column. Once that was done I used a chisel to chisel out the left over material in the hole that will fit the 2 x 4 beams. If I were a master carpenter using a chisel to cut out the holes would make the most accurate joint. There are also many other style Japanese joints some of which use a modified dovetail, and those types of joints require special skills in carpentry to make. This joint uses a wood wedge which is hammered into the column to keep the beam secured. Below is an image of the joint. The greatest thing about Japanese joints is that it makes a great looking secure joint.