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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Chapter 52 - The Walls and Floor of the Right First Floor Porch, the Shōji

August 22nd - 25th 2012

Staining and painting again.
Painting internal(white) and external walls. I use the sponge to give a stippled effect.

Staining wooden embellishments

Using an exacto knife to cut into the wood enhances the "juncture" sections on the floor
The pavement section was the same as the other one already made before but this time I decided to do a test run on the varnishing of the floor.  Once I get up to the last room, I want a super glossy floorboard finish so I figured I’d try it out on this floor to see if I could achieve a high gloss.  I needed to first paint the floor, sand it, gloss it, sand it, etc.  I figured I’m going to have to buy floor wax to make it really shine but sanding in between glossing did help to smooth out the overall look of the floor.
Painting shades of wood to give the floor some interest.
Nice shine to the varnished "hardwood" floor.

Building the porch went easy enough - some clamping to be sure the woodglue would keep the outer walls held tight.  The rest of the pieces slid in with little difficulty and the porch section is done.  Just the windows and railings need to be added.
Wooden embellishments being added.

Porch section temporarily placed.

Cutting away sections for the small internal window
The last part of this chapter was putting together the shōji windows.  The kit comes with all the necessary pieces but there were some changes to the inside woodwork to give these shōjis a window within a window.  I think it’s quite nice and the final effect will be more interesting so we can actually see into the bamboo bedroom.  The only pain in the butt was having to cut the rice paper to fit the little window.  The first one came out with a few tears (oh well) but for the second one I used the first as a template.  That way the first cut would be clean.  The final effect is acceptable even if there are some small tears on the corners.

Back side of door - you can see the torn corners :-(
Right side of door.  No defect is seen.  Small plastic pieces are placed to simulate glass.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Chapter 51 - Back Wall to Right Porch Area First Floor

August 18 - 20th 2012

After a few months, back attacking the actual build of the house.

The section on the right is identical to the one on the left.  Perhaps for this reason I wasn’t really looking forward to doing it because it becomes somewhat “routine” (like the tatamis) and less fun.  The fun bit of the build is actually figuring out new things and different sections.  Since I cannot really invent something here, it was a bit boring the idea of repeating myself but here I am.

To start as usual, I laid out all the pieces after cleaning them up and sanding them.  Then I had to stain the structural pieces and paint the wall pieces.  I continued with the bamboo room’s green wall theme and split the two panels into two colors.  A little more interesting I think and they would match up with the actual room’s walls.

...painting, clamping...


Elastics, clamps and hammers...
The rest of the pieces just had to fit together like a puzzle.  Since I had already done this once before, it was easy to find all the pieces and how they fit but difficult to actually make them fit.  Most of the pieces are a little wide for the slots they have to fit into.  Lots of hammering into place and changing the order of the actual placement because of it.  It was easier to hammer in small pieces than once they were put together on the frame.  I think I sanded off quite a bit as well.  There was really no other solution since I had to be sure the sliding windows would match up later when they get installed (as well as the two porch sides meeting up more or less in the middle once closed).
Sanding to fit the slots

Did complete tho in the space of a few days (also because it was so hot, I really didn’t fee like working much on the house during the day - just in the evening).

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Intermediate Work : Additions to the Buddhist Shrine in the Bamboo Room

Toothpick and text. Wood held by clamps in the background for bending.
August 13 - 16th 2012

Been on vacation but not much motivation yet to attack the build.  So...adding in a few things in the house. 

I decided the shrine needed an incense burner and maybe a little scroll.  I managed to find some pics of the Heart Sutra and made one into a scroll and another into a book form.  I managed to print them out on calligraphy paper without tearing so I can now make some wall hangings too.  Just a toothpic and some ribbon and the scroll was pretty much done.

Incense is used during prayer time in front of the Gohonzon (or mandala or whatever a person uses in their shrine) to purify the air.  It was the last element that needed to be added to my shrine which includes a living plant, fruit, water bowl and a bell which is chimed during the prayer ceremony.  I used leftover wood, soaked and bent it into shape then added the incense stick and painted it.  Lots of people like to “pile up” their burnt incense on the holder to show how much they have been praying (or for some other reason I don’t know) so I simulated that using some glue and some sand. 
Small leftover pieces to make the burner.

Ribbon to close the scroll and sand to simulate burned incense.

I plan on making another small Buddhist shrine in another room but one that would have a statue instead of a scroll.  There are lots of schools of thought and manner of worship in Buddhism (probably more than there are forms of Christian worship) but I still prefer that my Ryokan favors Buddhist sects than Shinto.  If you are interested in finding out more, click on the hyperlinks.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Intermediate Work - The Shamisen Stand, The Rolled up Futon, The Shower in the Spa

August 5th - 8th 2012

I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of my room screen which I ordered from Eileen Davis-Wright thru her Etsy shop A Life In Miniatures so, in the meantime, I decided to finish up a few things for the music / bed room. 

Returning to the original idea that these rooms are used for eating, sleeping and entertainment, I decided to make a Shamisen stand since I had no way of displaying the instrument unless I just propped it up against the wall which I wasn’t so keen on doing.  I found more than one picture of the Koto propped up against the wall but not the shamisen.  So, while researching an appropriate stand, I came across a site that sells accessories for shamisen and there was the most beautiful stand fashioned from a branch.  So, that was my inspiration.
I had to soak the branch to make it pliable, then I taped it over a brush handle to fix its shape.  Eventually, I was able to obtain the shape I wanted and rienforced it with some glue.  I cut an ice cream spoon in half and used that for the bottom of the stand.  All it took was drilling a hole, inserting the branch and varnishing it up to finish it.  I think it’s quite nice! And the shamisen looks great sitting in it.
A gelato stick for the base

Drying overnite
Finished Stand

The shamisen in its stand

I also added a wall print of a woman playing a shamisen.


While these pieces were drying, I worked on the shower for the spa.  Also here, some research for a suitable shower and I stumbled upon a really neat solution called a Japanese rain shower.  I guess it’s just a very large shower head that simulates rain so instead of a shower you are rained upon.  I’d like that....  This version was too large and for that price I figured I could wing it somehow.

The shower had a little platform with stones so I made that and painted the stones to somewhat match the stones in the spa.  Lots of varnish gives the stones a nice wet look.  The shower tubing was a bigger problem and I’m still not very pleased with it.  I tried to gild some copper foil over some wooden pieces to simulate copper tubing.  The shower head is fine with its irregular holes and the size as well, but the tubing bothers me as did the attachment process.  The foil doesn’t allow for easy gluing.  Superglue was the only solution.  But still, I think the location of the shower and the look inside the spa is nice.  I left out shower controls because I would want a shower like this to be on all the time with that rain water sound trickling on the stones.  Wish I could figure out how to make fake rain water...

Cardboard and wooden trim

Filled with stones

Punching out the shower head holes
Adding the copper tubing to the head

Shower head and platformm to the right
The last thing was to tackle the folded futon and bedding.  Since during the day all the bedding is folded up and put away, the perfect place was in the cubbie hole under the bookcase. 
I made quick work of the futon mattress using bubble wrap to bulk it up.  I had purchased some double sided 1/4” tape and it was much easier than cutting my large width tape to size.  I made the futon cover using some plastic wrapping (with no bubbles) and then made a few pillows.  I folded over the bedding and used the tape to fix the shape then inserted everything into the space under the bookcase (which now has books since I had purchased some and they arrived in the meantime). 
Sheet and double sided adhesive

Bubble wrap for bulking up the futon

Same method for the futon cover

Flat plastic wrapping for filling.

Quickie pillows

Using tape to fix the shapes

Rolled bedding and pillows stowed away for the day
The screen finally arrived (hoorah!) and I was able to add it into the Music room.  I think it’s fantastic! It’s a work of art really with leaded stain glass figures of some beautiful koi fish.  I actually special ordered the screen (at no extra cost) to the same scale as the house.  I’m glad I did since you can see that it fits in height perfectly.  At this point I can say that the screen is the most precious object right now in the house - and I hope the first of many.
Beautiful koi fish - graceful addition to the music room.

Detail of the stain glass screen.
Completed room with dinner table set and lights dimmed.