Japanese Joinery, Animated

by ziggy on October 13, 2016 -- 0 comments -- Follow

Japanese craftspeople have the reputation of designing and creating some of the most intricate and complex timber joinery on the planet. The use of timbers in construction has a long and deeply fascinating history, and many of these astonishing joints have their roots in the building of temples. Historically, these techniques were fiercely guarded secrets of the carpentry guilds. (If you’re interested in Japanese joinery history and the current practice of temple restoration, check out the fascinating book The Genius of Japanese Carpentry.)

Check out this collection of beautifully simple animations of Japanese joinery in action. These are great little demonstrations of timber frame joints interlocking together.

Japanese Joinery Animations

All of these animations come from The Joinery on Twitter. They’re made by an enthusiast who has been creating a growing catalog of dozens of joinery animations using the mechanical design software Fusion360. Here are some of my favorites.




There are plenty more to view and enjoy. Click below to see more:

On a side note, if you’re interested in exploring Japanese joinery a little further, I highly recommend this “Begin Japanology” video about sashimono woodwork techniques. This is much more about the creation of fine furniture, but a lot of the underlying principles are the same — creating beautifully fitted wood joints without the use of any hardware whatsoever. Watch it and weep.

Here’s their synopsis: In Japan, traditional wooden furniture is assembled without using a single nail. Advanced sashimono joinery techniques have been passed down for centuries. There are around 30 different basic types of joint. Tenons and mortises are carved to precisely matching shapes.

Sashimono techniques are used not just to connect pieces of wood, but also to enhance visual impact. Master craftsmen use subtle optical illusions to make finished items look more elegant.  On this edition of BEGIN Japanology, we look at sashimono woodwork, which embodies the essence of Japanese aesthetics and traditional craftsmanship.

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