Monday, July 13, 2015

learning the secrets of a Japanese puzzle box...

I have been fascinated by Japanese puzzle boxes, and today took a desperate measure with my own hands to learn how they work. I want to make a few for my tiny boxes book, and could just barely see the mechanism between layers when the lid was removed.

Through careful study with a flashlight as I worked the mechanism I could see and understand how it worked, but not how it was made. So I used my small band saw to make three cuts, liberating one end. What I discovered surprised me.The mechanism is quite simple and should present no great challenge to a skilled box maker. The sides, rather than being made from solid wood, were laminated in three layers including the veneered pattern on the outside.

In addition to cutting one open, I began making veneered sides based on what was revealed about how it is made. One challenging part of making it is that it requires very small channels for the parts to slide, which I'll cut on the router table using a solid carbide 1/16 in. diameter bit.

On the academic side of human reality, you can look inside between the cracks and use your power of imagination to postulate
veneered sides for boxes...
how things work. The actual circumstances and mechanics are often far simpler than the mind projects. The eyes and mind seek the truth. The hands find it. And often the complexities of the mind's perceptions are laid bare and artful simplicity is discovered when the hands take the lead in our investigations.

Make, fix, and create... teach others to do likewise.

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