We tend to think of knowledge in terms of progressive accumulation, with each succeeding generation having more information at its disposal than the one that came before it. What is less recognized, however, is the knowledge that gets lost in the course of progress. In architecture, particularly, little attention is paid to the way in which the standardization of building practices led to craftsman techniques falling by the wayside.
Nowhere is this more apparent than Japan, a nation with an architectural tradition like no other. Long before screws and metal fastenings became de rigueur, Japanese builders had mastered the art of wood joinery. Using techniques handed down in guilds and families for centuries, Japanese builders would fit wooden beams together without any external fasteners. Buildings would stand for generations, held together with nothing more than tension and friction.
Over time, these traditional building practices mostly fell out of ordinary use, although they continued to serve as a source of inspiration for architects like the Japanese master Shigeru Ban. While traditional joinery techniques were documented in books and archives, their two-dimensional representations were hard for non-experts to visualize; that is, until recently, when one woodworker decided to bring these techniques back from the dead in GIF form.
@TheJoinery__jp is the Twitter account of this artist, a young Japanese man who works by day in automobile marketing. At the time of writing, he has created GIF illustrations of 81 traditional wood joints. The project is ongoing, as the creator continues to seek new information about this fascinating tradition from books, magazines and other archival sources.
To create his GIFs, The Joinery uses the mechanical design software Fusion 360. His own experience as a woodworker brings an expert touch to the animation, which deftly captures the satisfaction that comes when parts fit together perfectly. Overall, the project is a great example of how modern technology can facilitate novel, dynamic engagement with old secrets buried within the archive. In fact, as ArchDaily’s Patrick Lynch points out, these joinery techniques may be relevant yet, as CNS milling and 3D fabrication continue to transform the way we build.
Check out more of these mesmerizing animations via the medium of Twitter:
渡り顎二重枘仕口 Watari-ago-niju-hozo-shikuchi pic.twitter.com/4U3hrvFMGt
— The Joinery (@TheJoinery_jp) September 1, 2016
小ひび天秤組み継ぎ Kohibi-tenbin-kumi-tsugi pic.twitter.com/HOGj2WVYU6
— The Joinery (@TheJoinery_jp) August 31, 2016
平掛け隠し目地継ぎ Hirakake-kakushi-meji-tsugi pic.twitter.com/XmNfK9CWRi
— The Joinery (@TheJoinery_jp) August 12, 2016
二重水組み継ぎ Niju-mizu-kumi-tsugi pic.twitter.com/0vLifW7uud
— The Joinery (@TheJoinery_jp) August 10, 2016
箱相欠き車知栓仕口 Hako-aikaki-shachi-sen-shikuchi pic.twitter.com/FKRVB8uDVt
— The Joinery (@TheJoinery_jp) July 6, 2016
雇い実留め仕口 Yatoizane-tome-shikuchi pic.twitter.com/QE8B99txar
— The Joinery (@TheJoinery_jp) July 2, 2016
寄せ蟻枘仕口 Yose-ari-hozo-shikuchi pic.twitter.com/XIlcPKwvdm
— The Joinery (@TheJoinery_jp) June 30, 2016
平掛け込み栓継ぎ Hirakake-komisen-tsugi pic.twitter.com/QxQz83HIkM
— The Joinery (@TheJoinery_jp) June 29, 2016
杵形千切り継ぎ Kinegata-chigiri-tsugi pic.twitter.com/3IyWvoa2IX
— The Joinery (@TheJoinery_jp) June 28, 2016
小菊組み継ぎ kogiku-kumi-tsugi pic.twitter.com/D9ovyTitg2
— The Joinery (@TheJoinery_jp) June 27, 2016
隅切りいすか継ぎ Sumikiri-isuka-tsugi pic.twitter.com/GbuTzQdtYg
— The Joinery (@TheJoinery_jp) June 5, 2016
芒継ぎ Noge-tsugi pic.twitter.com/kEvN8cn9cw
— The Joinery (@TheJoinery_jp) June 4, 2016
箱車知栓継ぎ Hako-shachisen-tsugi pic.twitter.com/NOhU3ktifp
— The Joinery (@TheJoinery_jp) June 3, 2016
箱隠し継ぎ Hako-kakushi-tsugi pic.twitter.com/1pXO6v1RhE
— The Joinery (@TheJoinery_jp) May 31, 2016
上端留め形四枚仕口 Uwaba-tomegata-yonmai-shikuchi pic.twitter.com/XaAmbYYbLE
— The Joinery (@TheJoinery_jp) May 27, 2016
Top image via HILLBILLY DAIKU