Back in December, we installed a murphy bed in the guest bedroom. The room is kind of small, so the guest bed was taking up most of the floor space in the room. A murphy bed leaves more of the floor open when it is not being used. I saw some nifty-looking wall brackets in the Woodcraft, and these looked good to the landlady, so I went for it and decided to install a wall-mounted fold-down desk.
The desktop is actually four lengths of 1by8 that I edge-glued and doweled. Then, I cut the desktop to length, sanded, stained, sealed, and finished. After that, I just had to mount the brackets on the wall, and attach the desktop to the brackets. Easy peasy.
More than a decade ago, when I first started braiding, I made a couple of warping pegs so that I could measure out material for setting up a braid on my marudai without having to pay for pre-measured silk. Not too much later, I made a nicer set of pegs for Sharon, so that she wouldn’t have to borrow mine. Over the next ten years, I kept telling myself that I should make myself a nicer set of warping pegs because my first set was kind of “quick and dirty” in their construction. Finally, I was in the mood to actually do that.
Same as Sharon’s pegs, I did a pair of pegs on one board, and a since peg on the other. This is really common, and you will see it a lot if you do a web search for “warpings pegs”. It enables you to do a few different things like keeping two parts of a warp separated, effectively doubling the length of your table by using the single peg in the center of a long warp, and making part of a warp slightly longer than the other.
That last one is handy for some of the braids where the uptake on some strands is higher than the other. If you make all the strands the same length, you wind up running out of material on some tama faster than on others, and you usually throw away a bunch of material. Anyway, I’m glad to have them now.
The boards are both cross-drilled, so I can clamp them to a table edge using these ginchy clamps from Rockler. These clamps are a really good buy since they accommodate a large number of table thicknesses in a compact, sturdy clamp.
The wooden pegs have metal hooks extending from the top, same as all the other ones I have made. These are imitative of Japanese bodaiwarping stands. While they are not necessary, and most warping pegs made for weaving do not have the hooks, I like them.
I also put some sticky felt on the bottoms of the boards, so maybe they won’t scratch up the dresser in my crafting room like the cheap ones did.
I was on a Zoom conference recently with a bunch of braiders, and somebody was showing off a portable frame loom she’d made from dowels and plumbing fittings. It was compact enough to fit into the laptop compartment of her backpack, but she often had to display it to the TSA because of the copper elbow joins at the corners. I was pretty sure I could make something similar from just wood, so I did it just to prove my concept to myself.
Mine is a little beefier than hers. She used 5/8 dowels, but I wound up using 3/4″ dowels and 1″ square rod. Mine is also a little larger than hers, at 12″x17″. This (for obscure reasons) is a very Japanese aspect ratio. There is no glue, so I could knock out the pins if any part needs to be replaced. Here’s a close-up on the joinery.
I did use a drill-press and some fancy bits to make sure the holes for the joinery were straight and clean, but other than that it was all sawing to length and tapping together with a hammer. The materials were all purchased at a local chain hardware big-box store, so nothing too exotic.
If I want to be able to take the Hitomaro Kakejiku with us when we go camping or whatnot, it is going to need a storage box to protect it in transit. Such things exist in the Japanese tradition, so I made one.
It’s made mostly of poplar. I had an abundance of quart-inch poplar in my stock of surplus wood, so this was an easy choice. The top of the lid is actually 3/4″ poplar, to give the whole thing a little heft. I rabbeted the top so that it would fit inside the walls of the lid, and not appear thicker from outside.The inside is unfinished.
There are small blocks of cedar at either end of the box that cradle the ends of the scroll rod and keep it centered in the box. You can see the rabbet for the lid top and the interior blocks in this process photo.
The outside is finished with several layers of garnet shellac with a black dye added. That’s what gives the final finish that deep mahogany color. I was hoping this mixture might be a good substitute for black lacquer. It is not, but as its own thing it is very nice.
Progress on the wood frame lanterns to fit the solar flicker lighting units continues! I completed the fifth of six planned lanterns recently, this one made from some surplus poplar lumber I had in the garage.
Here is the lantern hanging in the Shourou at night after a recent snowfall:
I started working on another lantern today, and I thought I’d show you how I use a Japanese kanna block plane to remove the marks left on the wood by the band saw that I use to mill the lumber into pieces. You can hear the vibration at first, that eventually gives way to smooth shaving noises.
I spin the piece around part way through so that the blade is cutting at an angle across the grain instead of into the grain. This yields a smoother cut. You can see that at the start, the grain lines are pointing up and to the right. Then, after the spin, they are pointing down and to the left.
You can also see that the piece I am planing is not clamped down at all. Since you’re pushing down on the plane, and so down on the piece, the only thing that’s necessary is the planing stop that you can see screwed down to the “planing beam”. My planing beam is simply a length of 2by4 held in my bench vise. My planing stop is 3 inches of 1/8″ welding iron that I drilled a couple of holes in so that I could screw it down. I did have to file the edge of the iron so that it wasn’t rounded over.