Monday, June 4, 2012
Arnie makes a Japanese Circular Shoji Window.
I saw this window in a temple in Kyoto years ago. I liked it so much, I took a picture as an example of a simple but beautiful solution to create a hole for a view.
Between our main lounge and what's intended as the children's room we currently have an old double quilt as a wall.
The room doesn't get a lot of daylight, so we wanted to make a window where it would be possible for the children to look out to the front garden in the future. In the lounge we also plan to put a large wood burning stove in, so having a window that's penetrable by heat is desirable.
Making two large wooden round pieces from planks is an engineering challenge which Arnie had never tackled before.
He says his dreams at night often give him the solutions he prays for.
The flat pine planks were carefully chosen for their beauty of grain and lack of knots before being carefully sawn in accurately shaped pieces to make a well joined ring.
In all there are 12 flat pieces bonded together with two hardwood biscuits between each section, which makes a very strong & permanent join.
Each ring is 2 pieces as there's an inner & outer piec, so that's something like 48 pieces cut, shaped & joined together with accuracy - from basic planks - with no nails at all!
Arnie then used a jigsaw to cut a basic circular shape.
Using a router he milled the wood till it was all perfectly circular.
His next stage was to build small shoji doors in the traditional style (No pictures of these yet, as it's still Arnie's work in progress as I write).
He found some old shoji doors out as rubbish from a neighbour and took one as a sample to study & copy. Again, no screws are likely to be used as would be traditional. Being machine finished they'll be pretty much perfect too.
There will be a total of 4 tall rectangular Japanese paper sliding doors that fit inside the hollow wall and these will open together to slide almost out of sight, or they can be fully closed. The doors will be easily removable so in the event the Shoji paper needs replacing, it'll be easy to do. In the kids side we'll perhaps put up some curtains too, to help shield noise.
Here we see Arnie laquering the finished "Doughnuts" (as he likes to call them).
They'll be waxed and polished to create a simple, but elegant solution.
I don't know how a Japanese temple door that was used in inspiration would have been made traditionally, but the grain isn't usually as well defined so they probably paint before laquering, which will hide imperfections.
In Arnie's case he's made the wooden workmanship easier to see.
In about 1-2 weeks Arnie will bring the wall and windows here. I'll need to eco-wall before the dougnuts are fitted.
Looking forward to seeing how it's going to look!
And here's a nearly finished product ready to have the wall plastered (With Eco Wall - same as the other walls in the house), then the doughnuts glued in (Both sides of course). I'll need to find some nice Shoji door paper and put it on before it's finished. When the doors are all opened, the frames are partly visible. For aesthetics it's nice to have them about half opened, as in the first picture.
Arnie actually made 3 doughnuts.... as his daughter liked the design so much he made the same thing (One sided only) for his daughter's bedroom window too!
Update: After plastering, here's what the finished project looks like.
On the bottom left is a hole for a box which contains integral speaker wires for wall mounted terminals, to avoid having speaker wires around the edge of the room. That's for another project to be completed over this winter to build a music centre concealed behind two sliding doors.