I came across an opportunity to both demonstrate and talk about the traditional Japanese craft of Kumiko at an annual woodworking event. In discussion with a local wood supplier and mill (Wood Source Ottawa, Ont.), they mentioned their upcoming annual open house and how they encouraged local vendors and artisans to participate. I quickly signed up at the opportunity to present and share my passion of Kumiko. Proceeds from the open house silent auction also went to a good cause, so this became another motivation for me to participate. I truly enjoy discussing woodworking and love to engage with people and hopefully motivate them to either start or continue to pursue woodworking.

Kumiko Demo

I had several days to prepare and had sufficient time to create enough Kumiko components to last through the open house. The opportunity also challenged me to devise an innovative way to hold Kumiko guide blocks without having to continually unclamp and clamp the critical guide blocks to a vise. I was able to enlist my Moxon vise along with a small workbench to perform this. The opportunity also provided me the impetus to market a Kumiko Course I had been working on. I could offer the video-based course at the open house! So this all came together and I enjoyed two days at the open house engaging with people and introducing them to the centuries-old traditional Japanese craft of Kumiko.

Kumiko paring beveled edge

At first glance, people would be in awe at the small scale of components in Kumiko. Their first reaction was how intimidating and difficult it was to tackle. After engaging and demonstrating the ease of forming and shaping the small interlocking parts, their fears vanished. Often, people need to have a technique presented in a live setting to grasp its intricacies. I get this and can easily relate to this form of learning and visualization. Techniques of safely using a wide chisel to pare wood were also demonstrated, being the core of Kumiko component creation.

Moxon vise

I enjoyed the experience and in the process made a few local contacts. Hopefully, I have encouraged a few people to tackle Kumiko and woodworking in general. Working in a solitary studio environment often keeps me from interacting with like-minded people that share a common interest in woodworking. People enjoy sharing their passion and the timing of this open house was ideal since I was between projects and needed a break from my furniture design + making.

Link to  Kumiko Course