Sweet Woodworking, Bro: The Japanese Sunrise Dovetail Joint

April 3, 2017


This is a video of master woodworker Theo Cook of the Robinson House Studio Furniture School demonstrating a properly cut Japanese sunrise dovetail joint. Apparently (and unsurprisingly if you think about it) the style and complexity of joints used in furniture construction are often representative of the overall quality of the piece. *pointing* Take my favorite chair for example. "It looks like it was made out of PVC pipe and duct tape in less than twenty minutes." Wow, twenty minutes -- really? It only took five. Tell you what: a thousand bucks and its yours.

Keep going for the satisfying video.

Thanks to Ryan, who expected a Japanese sunrise dovetail joint to be way more smokeable.

  • Jenness

    This is one of those incredibly complex and lovely things that I want until I see the price tag or they explain that there is some inherent flaw in the design that renders it more art than functional. Like wicker furniture - I've never seen a piece of wicker that I didn't think "that probably took a human being an amazing amount of time and skill to create just to have it bust the moment a fat ass sits in it.":

  • Meh

    The real genius of japanese woodworking is that its earthquake resistant. There is this 5 story pagoda that's hundreds of years old, one of the few that's that old without withering and collapsing. In-genius moving yet rigid parts allow it to slightly slide along certain axis to avoid breaking at stress points. God i love everything Japan, always plus 25.

  • GeneralDisorder

    I thought pagodas were rebuilt ritually every 30 years or so? Not so much that they needed to be but they just did.

    Anyway, there is definitely one design that was earthquake resistant because it had a huge "tuned mass damper" in the middle to prevent things from getting wonky when the earth moves.

  • Meh

    That too, a large (mostly) square beam hanging in the middle, which absorbed part of the shocks. I should really try to find the original article or book where i read it. It was very interesting.

    After a quick search its this one:

    But I'm sure there's also a docu about it focusing on the woodworking genius that they had when it was constructed.

  • Talon184

    I was waiting for one of those tabs to snap off...

  • TheQiwiMan

    Form over function. Looks nice, but horribly weak joint.

  • TempUserName4

    Oh shit. We've got a master carpenter in the house here. What woodworking projects are you working on right now?

  • DrZanz

    You evidently lack this 'master carpentry' skill yourself yet you berate someone else for stating an obvious observation of physics...
    Oh shit indeed.

  • TheQiwiMan

    The little bitch deleted his comment and ran away again! Hahahahahaha

  • DrZanz

    He posted "Before I make an example of you, are you sure that you want to stand by this opinion? Don't be afraid to use google. Jump right in!"

    I guess he went ahead and googled it -_-
    Kids these days.

  • TheQiwiMan

    Well I'm making your mom a hand-cranked wooden dildo. I warned her about splinters, but apparently she's desperate to make sure another failure can never come out of her hooch. 😘

  • steve holt

    That was tight.
    But they should call it the "Vader Mouth"

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