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The Art of Japanese Joinery by Kiyosi Seike is one of those books that shows how far one can take wood joinery as an art, not merely as a functional process. The book starts with the history and philosophy of Japanese architecture as it relates to joinery, then (at least in my edition) there are 57 pages of pictures of wood joints, 9 of which are examples as found in Japanese buildings. The remainder are simple pictures of joints between two pieces of wood. The joints range from the simple scarf joint to the insanely complex joint such as the “Mechigai-koshikake-kama-tsugi” – lapped goose-neck mortise and tenon joint with stub tenons and “Kanawa-tsugi,” mortised rabbited oblique scarf joint. Some of the joints are truly puzzle-like in construction.

The text continues with a  chapter on the functions of Japanese joinery, then a chapter on “Tsugite,” splicing joints and finally “Shiguchi,” connecting joints, both of which have drawings showing the construction of the joints with hidden lines for further clarification and obfuscation.

All in all it’s a great read for those seeking to complicate their woodworking and push the boundaries of the craft! It’s available on Amazon for a reasonable $18.21 and around $5.00 on the Internet generally.

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