The Beauty of Japanese Woodwork

People have been doing woodwork for as long as they've had both tools and trees to do it with. They've been constructing things out of trees for thous...

People have been doing woodwork for as long as they’ve had both tools and trees to do it with. They’ve been constructing things out of trees for thousands of years now and as time as gone on things have become more advanced. At first, these things were simple things like cups and spears, but as time went on, people began to use wood for more advanced things like beds, bookcases and even entire houses. And Japan, as one of the oldest countries in the world, has a beautiful and rich history of Japanese woodworking to showcase.

So what tools are typically used in Japanese woodwork? Japanese woodworkers use chisels, marking knives, planes, hammers, chisels, spoke shaves, axes, scrapers, spear pines and adzes, among others. These tools are known for having extremely sharp edges that make cutting far easier; the hand saws and hammers come in a variety of shapes so that they are always perfectly sized for the job. Japanese woodwork is most famous, however, because it typically uses a special construction method that manages to hide joints from view, something that gives their wood creations extra beauty.

Japanese woodwork has infiltrated Japanese culture so completely that even houses are constructed based on some of its principles. Most Japanese woodworking consists of building storage spaces like closets, shelves and other storage alcoves directly into the walls so nothing sticks out; this means that there is very little furniture in a typical Japanese house. However, there are some classes of Japanese furniture that are famous all over the world: the tansu class and the nagamochi classes of furniture.  Furniture included in the tansu class includes things like bolted-door chests, other simple chests and even things like chests-on-chests that look like steps; all of these things are designed to save space in a house. The nagamochi class, meanwhile, includes things like trunks and other pieces that box-like and a little bit bigger. There are other types of Japanese woodwork furniture that includes shelves made with doors that have ceremonial purposes like displaying ancient scrolls or things like tea ceremonies.

An important aspect of Japanese woodwork, however, is the deep respect that is still afforded to those woodworkers who choose to use their hands to construct this furniture. As with most things in Japanese culture, those who choose to devote their lives to something and become masters at it are deeply respected. They have spent years perfecting their woodworking skills and are often perfectionists that refuse to let a flawed piece leave their stores. This is why Japanese woodwork furniture is so prized.

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