This is the completion of my 1/10-scale model of the 15-shaku ayubune. This began with the cutting of the beams. I made the smallest beam at the bow, called the tsunatsuke, 1.5-sun square. The other two main beams I made 3-sun wide and 2.5-sun thick. I didn’t have any sugi of the necessary thickness, so I had to use two pieces glued together. I put the seam on the side of the beam in hopes that would make it less visible.
I used the beams as a guide to help me size the cutouts in the hull, which I cut with my Japanese Hishika, Super Fine Cut Saw, that I got from Zootoyz. It worked really well for this.
I found a supplier with the exact same saw in the U.S., but the cost for the saw was more than what Zootoyz charges, even when you add the international shipping. The one thing with this saw is that it cuts so easily, you have to be careful not to cut too much. For the final trimming of the notches, I used a scalpel.
First, I notched out the hull for the bow platform, called the omoteamaose, and the stern platform, called the tomoamaose. These were the easiest to deal with, since they are at the ends of the boat. So, I dealt with these first.
It was simple enough to add the omoteamase using a 3mm wood. I pre-cut the piece to roughly the correct size by inserting the piece into place and tracing out the extents in pencil. I could then glue the piece into place and sand away any excess using a large sanding block.
Next, I wanted to add the tomoamaose, stern platform, but I needed to add a piece that fits across the tomo first. This piece is hard to see in my photos, but I made this with a slight V-shape on the bottom edge, it’s 7-sun high in the center and 6-sun high at the sides. I sanded the top of the piece flush with the notch, then I added a piece of 3mm wood to fit across the notch and over the currently nameless transom piece.
Next, I dealt with the beams, beginning with the small one at the bow, the tsunatsuke. I cut the notch for it 3-sun aft of the omoteamaose. The notch is the width of the beam, 1.5-sun, and half the depth, or .75-sun.
I fit the beam into the notch and then marked the edges of the hull onto the beam. I cut just under half-way through using the Hishika saw, then used a scalpel to carefully shave away wood until the beam fit properly into place.
For the main beams, the funabari, I cut the notches to a depth of half the beam thickness, as it turned out, the seam from the 2-layer thick beams I made served as a perfect marker. With the notch cut, I could then trim the beam so that it fit tightly and cleanly. Again, the 2-layer beams worked out very nicely. Cutting half-way through, I could then pry the excess piece loose, which popped off nicely, requiring just a little cleanup.
On the real boat, the ends of the beam form dovetail fasteners that fit into the hull planking. I didn’t do this, though maybe I should have at least tried. Once it fit correctly, I glued the aft beam into place, then trimmed off the excess by cutting, again with the Japanese saw. While the saw is not a flush-cut type, it does cut very close and cuts very cleanly. It only took a few passes with a sanding block to finish up the joint.
The forward funabari was a little more complicated as it’s actually part of a 3-piece assembly, including a floor beam (I don’t know the name of these piece), and a vertical connecting piece called a tatematsu. Unfortunately, I don’t have any images of the construction process, but I basically made the tatematsu from a 1-sun thick piece of wood about 5-sun wide at the base and 3-sun wide at the top. I notched the floor beam and the underside of the funabari to fit the tatematsu properly using my smallest Japanese chisels.
Finally, I finished up the model by trimming out the mortises and adding wire nails where needed. For the nails, I cut steel straight pins into short pieces, filed one end flat, and treated them with some stuff from Caswell Plating that works great for blackening stainless steel. I drilled all the holes for the pins, which have a blunt end, and pushed them into place. Only friction is holding them into place.
Finally, I cut out the mortises using 1.5mm and 3mm straight carving chisels, completing the model.
The basic model is now complete. I may add a few accessories to the model, but probably nothing more than a bamboo pole, which was used to propel the boat, and a small, round bailer that looks something like a tiny wooden bucket with a handle sticking out one side.
For displaying models of this type, because it’s an open boat, I can’t fasten the hull down to anything, plus I want people to be able to see the mortise details on the bottom, so I will just find a nice contrasting display board to set it on.
I plan to add the model to my next Japanese boat models display, which I have been showing in the window of Union Bank’s community room in Japantown, San Francisco. I’ve only had one such display this year, as I wanted a new model or two, and this should do the job nicely. Ω