By: Stephen Lauer
All buildings use different methods of joining elements together that range from disassemble-able connections like bolted connections or Japanese wood joinery to permanent welded connections for steel. For centuries Japanese carpenters have been building with nothing but wood and extremely intricate joints. As a part of the Arc 532 – Global Traditions course I undertook the task of constructing a type of mortise and tenon joint that the Japanese use to join beams together. When I found this joint I felt that it would not be difficult to construct and after finishing it I would say that it is somewhat difficult to build just because everything has to fit together. To build this joint I used a table saw, router, jigsaw, chisels, and a file.
The first decision I made was to make the joint as a series of 4 components in order to lower the difficulty and build time required. From here we decided to draw out each of the cuts and grooves onto the components so that we understood what to cut away and what to leave. Next we began to cut away the pieces to create the box joints and lap joints required to fit the pieces tightly together. Minor chiseling was required to clean up the grooves and square up corners to allow for the joints to fit cleanly together.
The final step of cutting was to router away the back side of 2 of the components to create a large lap joint to allow the pieces from coming apart horizontally while the box joint locks it vertically. Once the routing was done we did a quick test fit to make sure the joints work together before gluing the components together to get the 2 finalized components. Once the glue had setup and was dry we pieced the joint together and it fit extremely tight making the joint extremely strong and durable. When we were building this I realized that this entire process would be much easier if I had done all of the cutting on the CNC router making the process not as much of a learning experience but instead in the end taking much less time and making the cuts much more precise.