I’m playing a little “catch up” on my blog regarding the Oguraike boat. As a reminder, this is a boat used for fishing and sightseeing in Kyōto, which was the former capital of Japan, prior to the Edo period. The boats were used until the pond was drained in the 1930s as part of a reclaimation project. My model is a 1/10-scale reproduction, based on the research of Mr. Tomohiko Ogawa, an artist and boatbuilder living in Kyōto.
Again, I don’t know the term for the bottom connecting plank, but with it now in place, I went ahead and added these mortises. On the actual boat, nails are driven into the side, to fasten the plank to the shiki, or bottom board. Nails are also driven up through the bottom edge, to fasten the plank to the hull plank. On the real boat, it would make more sense for this to be nailed first to the hull plank, then that whole plank assembly nailed to the bottom board.
I’d been making progress on the Ogura Pond Boat up through the month of March, but I hadn’t posted very much information about it here. Last I posted was back in January. At that time, I had glued up the three boards that make up the shiki, or bottom plate of the boat. Next is to shape the shiki, which is really quite easy the way I’m building these models. It simply requires printing out a portion of the drawings I’m using.
In this drawing, you’ll notice that I’ve marked out the mortises as well. This was something that was not on the original drawings, but I could see some of them in Ogawa-san’s photos. As I mentioned in my last post, what’s special here is that the mortises clearly aren’t perpendicular with the edges of the planks. This is something I’ve never seen this before, except where an occasional mortise has to angled to avoid a knot in the wood or similar reason. Here, however, they seem to be regularly placed so that the nails are driven at a slight angle towards the bow.
Back in August (2021), I discovered Japanese boat builder and artist, Mr. Tomohiko Ogawa, who had written several posts on his own blog about his research of a couple wasen in the Kyōto area. One was a type called a Sanjikokku bune (三十石舟), a famous type of river transport for passengers and cargo between Kyōto and Ōsaka. This type was well known to me, so his post on the subject caught my attention.
Hiroshige print depicting a Sanjikkokubune (三十石舟）
However, I soon discovered another subject that he wrote about, and that I wasn’t specifically familiar with. And, it soon became clear that this second boat was of a style that I had been very curious about. The boat was a small boat used for fishing and for lotus viewing on the old Ogura pond in Kyōto. It was of a style called a kensakibune (剣先舟) or sword-tipped boat, so named because the hull planks came directly together at the bow, with no stem in between, forming a sharp tip, shaped like the tip of a Japanese Samurai sword. Continue reading