Book Review - The Art of Japanese Joinery

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The Art of Japanese Joinery

Author: Kiyosi Seike

Size: 127 pages

Publisher: Weatherhill

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Kiyosi Seike has effectively captured the elegance and simplistic beauty of Japanese joinery in this attractive book. From hundreds of distinct Japanese joinery methods, 48 different styles have been artfully captured and expertly translated by Yuriko Yobuko and Rebecca Davis, with only three of the joints having a direct English counterpart for comparison. As such, this book will appeal to not only those with a passion for wood and an eye for its beauty, but also for people looking to learn more about different styles of joinery that are unlikely to be encountered in Western building methods. Indeed, many of the joints showcased could be replicated in the backyard workshop by anyone possessing a level of wood handling skill.

The Art of Japanese Joinery is broken into four distinct sections. Initially the book explores the history of wood working in Japan and the fascinating traditions of Japanese carpenters and architects. The different tools used as well as space constraints and material availability are all discussed in terms of their impacts on Japanese wood construction.

The remainder of Kiyosi Seike’s work focuses on the strengths and functions of wood joints in Japanese construction. Different types of splicing and connecting joints are displayed; each with a description of how the joint is typically applied, along with size and cutting techniques. The character of Japanese architecture shines through with each joinery style lovingly photographed and translated and if you’re looking for inspiration for your next project or simply looking to expand your knowledge of working with wood, this book will appeal to you.

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