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Summer Beam Books

Making Shoji

Making Shoji

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by Toshio Odate (Author), Laure Olender (Photographer)

Learn to make traditional Japanese sliding doors and screens for your home!

The construction of shoji—Japanese sliding doors and screens—requires great skill and attention to detail. However, the task is within the reach of amateur woodworkers, and the results will add grace and serenity to any interior. With Toshio Odate’s help, woodworkers can tackle this traditional craft with confidence. 

Odate, who served a craftsman’s apprenticeship during his youth, unites traditional insight and technical mastery in a way that anyone can understand. Making Shoji includes step-by-step instructions, illustrated by photos taken at every stage of the work, give detailed information on how to prepare materials, lay out joints, cut the parts, and assemble two shoji projects: the common sliding screen with hipboard, plus an intricate transom featuring the beautiful asanoha pattern. Building on this foundation, Odate gives construction details and notes on eight shoji variations. Technical chapters cover the Japanese mortise-and-tenon joint, shoji paper, and homemade rice glue.

Drawing upon his unusual life, Odate includes richly moving stories of his sometimes harsh apprenticeship in post-War Japan, an era almost incomprehensibly far from our own. These revelations help put traditional Japanese woodworking techniques and attitudes into their cultural context. Odate’s authentic account thus will enhance every woodworker’s library.

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