Photo Essay: Views of a Timber Frame Shed

During the summer months this year the museum forge was closed due to dry conditions, affording the time to work on other projects. This 4×16′ timberframe shed provided an opportunity to further develop and practice basic techniques of Japanese structural joinery. As with the kajiba project, the main inspiration for aesthetic and design is the humble Japanese inaka naya (納屋) style style of a century ago. From rough sawn lumber the preparation of parts took four weeks, the frame and roof assembly one day, and the yakisugi siding and doors about a week.


Simple Japanese structural joinery
Using a large post kanna made from reclaimed materials to smooth the large cedar beams before marking.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
Bamboo sumisashi (墨刺, ink pen) and permanent ink are used to mark the layout for the joinery.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
The hozoana (ほぞ穴, mortices) and arihozo (蟻ほぞ, dovetails) are cut on the red cedar dodai (土台, sill/floor beams), along with the koshikake for the aritsugi (腰掛蟻継, lapped dovetails) for the cross pieces, and the running koshikake (腰掛, step) to support the floor boards.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
Hozo (ほぞ, tenons) are cut on the fir hashira (, posts), the smaller ones are for the corners.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
Hozoana (ほぞ穴, mortices) are cut into the fir hashira (柱, posts) for the koshinuki (腰貫, hip tie beams).
Simple Japanese structural joinery
Hand planing reveals a lovely variety of grain and colours found near the bark layer of this locally milled fir.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
The nuki (, tie beams) slide into sloped mortises in the posts.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
Making compressible nukikusabi (貫楔, wedges) from red cedar scrap.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
The nuki (貫, tie beams) will be locked into their mortises using kusabi (楔, wedges).
Simple Japanese structural joinery
The hanamoya (鼻母屋, roof beams), also serving as shikigeta (敷桁, wall plate) in this lean-to construction, are cut to receive the taruki (垂木, rafters) at the angle of roof slope.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
The floorboards are cut to length and charred to show the grain in yakisugi (焼杉, charred cypress) style.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
Laying the cornerstone for the foundation, each post will have a stone directly below it.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
Soseki (礎石, base stones) laid, along with filler stones to close the gap at the front of the foundation.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
The sill corner locked together with koshikake-kata-arikake (腰掛片蟻掛, stepped corner dovetail) which forms the fourth side of the mortise for the corner post.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
The posts and beams raised, the nuki are sitting loosely and not yet wedged to allow adjustments.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
The itajiki (板敷, floorboards) in place.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
View of the fumi-ishi (踏石, entrance stepping stone) and yakisugi floor.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
Truing the posts using a plumb line and squaring the roof.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
View from the rafters.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
Wedging the nuki (貫, tie beams).
Simple Japanese structural joinery
Installing the taruki (垂木, rafters).
Simple Japanese structural joinery
View of the frame assembled.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
Installing the purlins.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
Structure is ready for the totan roofing material.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
Detail of the roof at the back wall.

Simple Japanese structural joinery

Simple Japanese structural joinery

Simple Japanese structural joinery

Simple Japanese structural joinery

Simple Japanese structural joinery

Simple Japanese structural joinery
Some lovely colours in the western red cedar for the door frames.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
Cutting the small mortises and through-tenons for the door frames.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
Assembling the door frames.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
Assembling the pressure-fit door frames by tapping evenly.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
View of the top rail, the tenons go fully through to give as much strength as possible.

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