Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Japan: Preparing Lumber

My friend Koji Matano, founder of the Wooden Boat Center in Takashima, Japan, oversaw the felling and sawing of three cedar trees and one hinoki.  This is more than enough material for our boat, but we needed to sort the material and stack it for drying.

Setouchi International Art Festival:

Our project blog:



Koji had painted the endgrain with glue and roughly stacked it all before my arrival.  Japanese boatbuilders normally insist on one year of air drying of their timber.  We are pressed for time, and hope that by placing the stacks well off the ground on concrete blocks, plus the breezy location on the shore of Lake Biwa, that we will have dry enough material come July.  


Japanese boatbuilders use flitch-sawn material; that is, the log is sliced straight through.  Normally the keel timber is a thick plank taken from the center, and each pair of planks (garboard and sheer) are taken symmetrically from the log either side of the center.  Therefore I had to hunt through the pile, finding appropriate planks for each part, then finding their match for the opposite plank.  I labeled the the names of the parts on the stickers we nailed across the endgrain.


We worked sometimes during snow flurries.  Lake Biwa is Japan's largest lake, located right in the center of the country, 50 minutes by train from Kyoto.

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