Japanese Hakone marquetry


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/10/24/japanese-hakone-marquetry.html


Spectacular. Truly wonderful. The plane he uses to take the final sheets off is a thing of some extraordinary sharpness. Here I am, contemplating whether or not I have the skills to make a basic kit-set acoustic guitar. I’ve just been set straight, and inspired, all at the same time.


just wow… that is serious craftsmanship and skill.


I love that dish at the end. Just beautiful.


I understood only one word of the title, but damn that craftsmanship…


Aw it is just a veneer? I feel cheated… but still very cool.


Set your goal at least 20% higher than you believe your skill level to be, then don’t give up.


If you live this stuff, get a puzzle box:


They are amazingly well crafted, fun to play with and make fantastic gifts.


Yup, essentially, that’s what marquetry is. For the western state of the art 200 years ago, “To Make as Perfectly as Possible: Roubo on Marquetry” https://lostartpress.com/products/to-make-as-perfectly-as-possible-roubo-on-marquetry and “https://lostartpress.com/collections/books/products/l-art-du-menuisier-the-book-of-plateshttps://lostartpress.com/collections/books/products/l-art-du-menuisier-the-book-of-plates


I love these sorts of crafts where the basic concept is straightforward – but the execution is nothing but decades of technique. My grandfather was a printer and explained that being a good letterpress man required “fifteen minutes of instruction and fifty years of tricks.”


That’s the route the artform takes, but if you note at the beginning, when he is first laying out the patterns, they are long. Solid things could be made that way, it would just mean using the pieces at a greater thickness instead of paper thin, and cementing them together horizontally into stock. Not sure how that would work with their complex joinery.

I think, however, that would seem terribly wasteful in the whole mindset of the art, don’t you? I remember when the whole furniture refinishing craze caught on, people were pretty down on veneer, but the spirit of veneer is conservation. I can see how that fits with the rationale behind an artform like this, and the culture as a whole.


This! Whatever value can be assigned as “the sharpest” to steel, that plane is at it. I exclaimed out loud in disbelief when he cut the first sheet.

Whole process was fascinating, I never knew anything about it although I suppose I must have come across these objects before; the style was not altogether unfamiliar.


What do you expect; the man lives in a place where Totoro wouldn’t be too surprising.


Yeah, I have some chisels you can shave with, but I want whoever sharpens that man’s planes (probably he himself) to come over and sharpen mine!


They (the Japanese) have planing contests where they compete to make the thinnest, complete sheets from blocks wood. The winning shavings are thin and translucent to the point of disbelief.


My mind also immediately jumped to, he must also be a master sharpener of plane blades, and now I want to see him do that, too.


The final honing is performed by brushing the blade gently across angel’s wings.



in much the same way as we westerners look at this video and are all “Ohhhh-kaaaaaaye, Japan. Whatever floats your boat, guys.” I imagine them having a similar reaction to videos of, say, monster truck rallies.


My reaction is about 40% that and 60% “omg that’s awesome”.

When Japan takes to monster truck rallies, I’m sure the result will be more monstrous and more truckish than anything seen before, resembling our rallies the way the tea ceremony resembles a tea bag in a styrofoam cup.