Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Anderson Japanese Garden Tenmasen

For the last several months I have been working off and on building a small Japanese boat for the Anderson Japanese Garden in Rockford, Illinois.  The Garden looked at the various boats I have built in Japan and chose the tenmasen I built with my teacher in Tokyo in 2002.  That boat was about eighteen feet overall but the Garden wanted a boat less than fourteen feet so I redrew the lines.  I maintained the construction details of the original, including the use of copper plate for nail covers and covering the stem.

I built this boat out of southern cypress, and sourced my boat nails from my friend Tengu Shibafuji in Kochi, Japan.  He is an avid researcher and amateur builder of Japanese boats and has been buying nail stock from former boat shops.  His own blog is well worth a look:

The bottom complete with extra material where the stem is joined.

These boats are somewhat like prams, with wide stem timbers.

A friend who is a blacksmith made my copper clench nails for the rub rail.

These boats feature lots of copper plate, covering nail heads and wrapping the stem.

The boat is framed with horizontal beams.

I hope to get some photos of the boat in the garden which I will post.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Oh, I'm fond of the boats made by this amateur builder.

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  4. The boats look insanely fantastic! They are so majestic. Thank you for sharing such amazing blog post. I really appreciate you doing your job so well!

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  6. what is the reason to cover the nails with a copper lid? Doesn't water get trapped inside and rust the nail head?

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