Minato alacarte

Traditional Craftmen in Minato City

Kenji Niwa/Kotaro Niwa

Sashimono Kenji Niwa/Kotaro Niwa

He creates beauty with precise techniques built up over the years.

Sashimono is the craft of making wooden containers with lids or drawers by measuring boards with a ruler (mono-sashi in Japanese) and joining these boards firmly at indented and extended portions. The history of sashimono dates back to the Heian Period, when carpenters started creating it in the ambience of the gorgeous court culture of the time in Kyoto and its vicinity.


Process of making a Sashimono container

  1. Saw the material
    Choose a knotless part of a paulownia board and saw it to the necessary length along the lines exactly measured and marked in Chinese ink.
  2. Plane the surface
    Plane the surface to the required thickness and smooth the surface.
  3. Chisel the joints
    Create the various types of joints in the board by chiseling indented and extended parts appropriate to the piece of work.
  4. Assemble
    Put the boards together by applying paste or glue to the joints and fixing them with wooden pegs.
  5. Smooth the surface
    Plane the surface of the work to remove roughness to the greatest extent possible and round off the angles slightly.
  6. Polish
    Polish with pieces of tokusa (special polishing plant) or sandpaper to bring out the best of the grain on the surface.
  7. Attach the string
    Drill holes for the strings to pass through the lower parts of the container and attach strings of the necessary length.

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