Yesterday afternoon, the wood arrived! It was three trucks’ worth of lumber – beams, posts, rafters, gables, studs, joists – all of the fundamental framing parts. Next Friday every stick of it will be put into place for the jotoshiki.

These hundreds of timbers have been precision milled. They are pre-cut to length as well as width dimensions and more importantly, they are carved out in traditional Japanese joinery styles: mortise and tenons; goosenecks; and the fancy ones I’ve always been in awe of. These shapes and cuts are computer controlled at the mill and save countless hours of hand-work.

Each pile arrived wrapped in plastic and labelled with the job number, site name, use, and floor location. Inside, every piece is stamped in even more detail with precise location, length, and other codes I haven’t broken yet. It is wonderfully catalogued and tidy, an utter delight to my organised self.

There are three varieties of wood making up 555:

  • 米松 literally translates to “American pine” but it’s what I call Douglas fir.
  • 杉 is sugi or Japanese cedar (and I just learned it’s also called Japanese redwood, which brings to mind happy childhood memories of redwood carpentry).
  • 檜 is hinoki also known as Japanese cypress. It smells really good.

When December 9th comes, more than a dozen people will slot these timbers together like a wooden puzzle – a very large wooden puzzle – and we will have a house.

I am unbelievably excited.

Waiting for the delivery. The doma is already a good space to hang out.
Recent Posts
Mediatinker by MAIL

Join 24 other subscribers
Longer Ago

Mediatinker, Kristen McQuillin, is an American-born resident of Japan since 1998. This blog chronicles her life, projects, thoughts, and small adventures.