Sunday, June 12, 2011

Antique Japanese Gates

The Portland Japanese Garden is one of the most wonderful gardens in a city of wonderful gardens. The Japanese garden, of course is very special in its devotion to authenticity of plantings and the built environment.

The Garden asked me to rebuild their antique entry gates. These are original from Japan apparently they were the entry to a samuri's home garden two hundred years ago.

When I came to be involved in the project the gates were showing alot of age, they were sagging with the large corner joints gapeing open. Some of the massive door frames were dry rotted.

Nonetheless they radiated power and greatness. Each door is basically an outer frame that is about 3 inches thick and 8 inches wide housing a panel that is a single piece of wood over 4 feet wide and about 6 feet tall.

I'm going to repeat myself. a single piece of wood 4 feet wide and 6 feet tall.

The tree it came from 200 years ago must have been about 8 feet wide.

When I got these doors into my shop I slowly removed the damaged wood and exposed very complex joinery that was cut by a master craftsman two hundred years ago.
That is humbling and intimidating.
I'll let the photographs tell the story..........

This last picture is of a prototype joint in the header over the doors.
Nice fit.