Takumi Woodwork - Methodology

Much of how we work is a result of time spent in Japan. Louis worked as a joiner in Kyoto and Osaka before establishing Niseko Construction in Hokkaido, Japan

For the 3 years he worked in Japan, Louis enhanced his skills, learnt new techniques and developed a style of work which has become the foundation of Takumi Woodwork

Takumi Woodwork - Sliding Dovetail Rail

While we take on all forms of commissions, we specialise in live edge pieces using large wood slabs

When producing these large pieces, we use a traditional Japanese technique to stabilise the wood to prevent it from twisting and warping- allowing it to shrink and expand with seasonal changes whilst ensuring the longevity of finished piece

[ pictured - sliding dovetail rail used to control seasonal movement of wood slabs ]

Takumi Woodwork - Scorched Oak Frame

A common feature in our pieces is the charring of wood, which comes from the traditional Japanese process of ‘Shou Sugi Ban’ (焼杉板)- the process of burning the surface of Cedar boards to preserve the timber

While it is typically only done to Cedar for the purpose of external cladding, we apply it to various wood types to produce a blackened wood that still retains its characterful grain

[ pictured - scorched oak half lapped joint ]

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The majority of our work is done using Japanese hand tools

These are produced using a finer quality steel with greater toughness, tensile strength and resistance to wear, making them better suited for working with harder woods

[ pictured - a Japanese smoothing plane and chisel ]

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Japanese hand saws differ to Western Saws, cutting on the ‘pull’ stroke rather than the ‘push’ stroke

This gives greater control over the saw and holds the blade in tension as it cuts, allowing the saw blade to be thinner and more precise to use

[ pictured - 'azebiki' saw ] 

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Japanese hammers are shaped in a way that they can be used to gently bow the fibres in the wood (木殺し), which allows us to produce tighter joints

Before assembling, the male components of a joint are gently hammered smaller. Moisture (glue) is then introduced to the assembled joint which causes the wood to expand back to its natural size resulting in a tighter fitting joint

[ pictured - Genno hammer ]

Takumi Woodwork - Chisels

Japanese chisels are renowned for their quality. Not only do they use the higher grade steel, but this is paired and laminated with a softer steel on the back to absorb some of the shock from the blow of the hammer

Unlike Western chisels, they are designed to be struck with a smaller hammer rather than a larger mallet, which gives far greater control and feedback

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Our use of these tools and techniques is a result of time spent working with them and alongside the Japanese craftsmen who use them

Fine woodworking is still commonplace throughout Japan, and our time there has inspired us to emulate their meticulousness and dedication to their work

[ pictured - Walnut Dining Table and Maru Chair ]