I have been immersing myself into the world of Kumiko over the past year. The intricate patterns or motifs draw you in and the possibilities are endless to the application of the panels in furniture. Another interesting fact is that Kumiko is a traditional Japanese form of craft. To be able to recreate the same motifs that were designed centuries ago intrigued me. At first I thought the delicate technique would be difficult to achieve since the scale of the components in Kumiko is quite small. Kumiko can be intimidating to a novice. Upon further research, I decided to further explore and experiment. As a woodworker, I enjoy challenges and this would be yet another in a long string of challenges over the years. How else do we grow as woodworkers if we don’t embrace new skills and techniques.
So one thing led to another and after a few early failures and struggles, I was successful at mastering the Kumiko process of creating intricate lattice-like patterns within a grid or frame. The prerequisite to even beginning Kumiko is to create a couple of guide blocks. The blocks have preset bearing surfaces shaped at various angles. These angles are instrumental to the components within a Kumiko grid. Through the judicious application of a chisel to the miniature Kumiko components, precise angles that interlock the pieces are shaped or beveled. The process is methodical but enjoyable. Small or large grids of components can be created, where time and patience are the only variables.