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half-kamachi outlet tub

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Asnaro is very aromatic and its “forest scent” perfectly matches the spring-time atmosphere.
We had just the right lot so we decided to make a new outlet tub.
This tub is not only new, it has a new design – and I am sure it will become a classic!
It did not happen on the design table, it was just when we were picking up the material to laminate the sides we noticed we were just a little short. Of course we could re-assort the planks to compose a different size but playing with the lumber that was there we had an inspiration.

I am almost sure that the asnaro aroma kind of made this idea sprung from Nobuhiro`s mind.

He said: why don`t we apply a kamachi (top frame border) only on the short sides?
This makes the corners flush when you look at it from the top, additionally it makes it easy to lift the tub (like a handle) from the head and feet side.

From now on, I will call it “half-kamachi detail” until I come up with a better term.

This springy, fresh design outlet tub is made with straight grain asnaro-hiba.
Details as here below:
L1150mm x W750mm x H675mm (external dimensions) 580mm(depth) knotless natural Asnaro wood bathtub.

1) AB grade tub (quatersawn) : 410,000. JPY
2) Packaging: 135x95x88cm plywood box: 36,000. JPY
3) transportation: to be quoted (please let us know your exact address: we will provide a quotation before you purchase the tub)
Please check the drawing here for the detailed dimensions: outlet170421

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This tub does not have a “back side”. It has the copper apron on both sides so we can apply the iron brand on whichever side – if you want. About the short side, you can see what I was meaning by saying that the “half-kamachi” can be used as a handle to grab and lift the tub.

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The immaculate interior of the tub!

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And this is the “half -kamachi” seen from the top. It makes the forner look flush (L-shaped)

If you like this tub, I recommend to contact us soon. I am sure it will not last!

survey for new product: aroma cards

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Please let me know your opinion about the product currently under development: the “hinoki aroma cards”.

I am interested in hearing which message would be meaningful for you.
If it is a great one, you will be able to choose it once the product is developed in february 2017!

Please particiapate to the survey below.
It is easy!

Last thatched roof in Tokyo is endangered.

A friend running a real estate agency in Kobe informed me of another beautiful & sad story.
The “grievous finale” is incumbent but is still avoidable and I am now starting to dream about how I can rewrite the epilogue of the story and conclude with a happy end instead!

Anyway, let me explain. A friend showed me the blog of a volunteer association (the “Nakano Building Support Committee”) supported by 50 local residents who are devoted in collecting and diffusing information about historical buildings in Tokyo`s Nakano district and organize community events.
http://nakanotatemono.blog.fc2.com/
Nakano district is one of the 23 cities forming the Tokyo metropolitan area and is located west of one of the busiest high-rise office district in the world: the Shinjuku area.

Well, the volunteer association is very lively and recently held their annual “persimmon pickup and drying event” (maybe there is a better way to translate it…?!) at the “Hosoda house.”
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A) Features
Well, this is the “beautiful” part of the story.

The Hosoda house remains intact like an oasis in a neighborhood once rural and now inexorably covered in asphalt and concrete.
I cannot judge which is more noteworthy: if the vast garden boosting a great variety of indigenous trees / or the house: a 160 year old japanese traditional “minka” farmhouse, the last surviving thatched roof in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
The straw roof has been temporarily covered with a metal roofing but if properly restored it would show in its full glory.

Hosoda house is strikingly important for many reasons: its architectural details, its unique atmosphere and especially the fact of being the last one! Hosoda house is not only an example of an endangered species: it is the last example… The city around transformed into a neoplasm of asphalt and asbestos but the Hosoda house is here to witness that there is another way of living and it may inspire future generations to rethink the image of the city.

Hosoda house is not only last thatched roof in Tokyo (and I believe one of the few private gardens with so many variety of species) but is a presence of hope, showing an alternative to our inhumane cities.

If the Hosoda estate is destroyed also its function as a “light tower of hope” and “example” will be interrupted.

(Here below a picture of a traditional cultural event held on the premises)

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B) Threats

We see here one of the many contradictions of the japanese society: this unique gem is not protected and actually it is severely threatened by multiple small-minded circumstances.

1) The municipality is planning to expropriate it and demolish for the construction of a road. The road plan was enacted in 1966, but, as happens for many similar “pork barrel” public spending projects, remained dormant for several decades. The city obtained approval from the national government for the road construction in 2015 and plan to have the project completed by 2020. It is useless to say that priorities and needs have changed in this 40 years and this sacrifice would not only be harsh but also meaningless.

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2) Hosoda house is owned by a descendant of the Hosoda family but he is not living on site.
The house itself does not have any real estate value (like any building 25+ year old in Japan) but the land is very large (1000 tsubo = about 3300 m2) and based on land prices in this area, the property could be worth anywhere from 1.5 ~ 2 billion Yen or more (approx. 13.3 ~ 17.7 million USD).
It is already a miracle that the owner is holding firm and is not allured by the lump of money he would make by selling this rare gem to the next ruthless developer.
But this situation cannot last forever. Inheritance tax is very expensive in Japan and most people inheriting this type of precious estates are cursed with the destiny of having to sell it to be able to pay the succession tax.

3) Another secondary but significant threat is the “asphaltification” of the common sense of the society. It is becoming more and more rare to find deciduous trees in japanese cities and people are just not used to it anymore! Neighbors complain when they see some fallen leaves on the sidewalk. Yes, they complain…!
The owner has to heavily prune the trees to avoid diplomatic accidents but this is not only a mutilation for the centennial plants but is very expensive (since the trees are very large they need to use a crane).
It is a trying situation and I would not be surprised if the owner would decide one day to just get rid of everything.

Well, maybe I have 3 years, maybe less but I am sure that everyday spent in passive contemplation is just going to bring the deplorable end closer.

Between the end of year and the beginning of 2017 I intend to take the following actions:

1) individuate the public agencies involved and understand exactly the progress in the approval process. Then, find some weak points and possible ways of opposing the project.

2) try to reach Mr. Hosoda and verify directly his plans for the future. Set the bases for a safe alienation of the property (ex. creating a foundation an collecting donations as needed to purchase the property)

3) network with the “Nakano Building Support Committee” and identify some individual who are critical about the trees. Then try to talk with them and evaluate a reasonable compromise. Sometimes just one voice against can be contagious. And people “against” are often just looking for attention or a channel to relieve their stress…

This is all for now.
I will keep you updated and will ask for your advice and support once I have a clear target.

Feel free to comment here below.

testimonial from Sidney

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Hi Iacopo,
Bathtub cleared customs and quarantine last Thursday and we have been loving the bath ever since. It’s gorgeous :)
We just love it and the whole family uses it including my very tall partner !!
It’s beautifully made and makes our bathroom look fantastic.
Thankyou for your hardwork and craftsmanship it will be appreciated by our family for a VERY long time.
Of course you can publish my email in your testimonial corner :)
apologies for the photo we are still renovating our bathroom and are in the process of replacing the toilet and the sink ! but the bath still makes our bathroom look good…lol
thanks again,

L.

“longed for” ofuro to australia

Sometimes we deal with architect offices or construction companies, often we deal with end users.
Some clients are rationally minded business owners who have an organized mentality.
Some clients are carrying on their house remodeling and are very excited about the details.

Each tub has its own story which is what makes my work of “bridge between two cultures” so meaningful and rewarding.
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This tub belongs to very enthusiastic client who knows what she wants and can communicate it very well.
Every email from the client it is like an energizing potion that leaves me fully recharged for the whole day…!
After about 3 weeks from the first email the tub is completed and ready to be shipped! It is a beautiful custom size kadomaru tub (see the details below)
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Material is sawara cypress. The difference of color between the different planks is minimal, but because the wood fibers reflect the light with different angles when taking a photo the contrast appears increased.
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Hot water will release a soothing aroma out of the straight grain of this sawara wood.

Here are the specs:

material: japanese Knotless Sawara cypress wood bathtub

shape: kadomaru with customs sizes

sizes:  L1100mm x W630mm x 740mm (630mm deep)

details: stainless steel wire bands. Iron brand at front top-right

P.S.

I just sent the photos to the client who immediately replied:

“Please send as soon as you can!”

I am sure the ofuro is going to be pampered in his new home in Australia!

flooring for Singapore house

We were contacted by an architect renovating his home in Singapore.
The client was keen on hinoki material but did not like the traditional “white-pink melange” look of japanese evergreens.
After considering several options, the client opted for a more expensive “all heartwood” material.
The sapwood is eliminated before sawing and milling the planks so the color is more uniform and the lumber itself is harder.
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We milled a tongue and grove on the long sides but did not manufacture the end matching joint (the planks would have become about 4cm shorter and would not fit the module of the project)
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Also, we were requested not to bevel the edges. Our grumpy carpenter was quite uneasy about this (eliminating the corners make the flooring look more regular and prevents indenting of the edges during installation)
But we agreed that everybody would manipulate and install the planks with the utmost care and were able to manufacture the custom “perfectly flat” product.
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The specs/sizes of the flooring are:
material: hinoki (Yoshino-Nara pref.) all heartwood
size: 2000mm x 150mm x 15mm.

I am looking forward to seeing the completed room!
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ofuro for Cape Town -4- completed!

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This is the second ofuro we are shipping to South Africa in 2016!
In both cases we were in touch with the clients, architects and interior designers for over a year but it was worth it! Take a look also at the pictures of the manufacture phases:
part 1part 2part3

Here is the photo of the back side.
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We created a new type of overflow cut: it is tuck in the back towards the wall and is drawing the water to a gutter running along the wall.
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The spout cover is openable for controlling the built in tap. Not a high tech solution but very practical!
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Here is the layout of the whole composition including a duck-board and bench cut with an angle to match the corner of the bathroom. I am looking forward to seeing the completed space!
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Here are the specs of the project:
Material: Asnaro wood AB grade bathtub (quarter sawn) t42mm
Size: L1500mm x W750 x H670mm (ext. dim.) – depth 543mm
Details: copper apron, wood dowels. Iron brand at front side top-right
Option: overflow top cut
Accessories:
* Ledge and filler: W165 x L1500 x H670) assembly on site
* Bench: W 454/367 x D 515 x H 450mm
* Duckboard: W 521/454 x D 400 x H 55mm
* Asnaro wood ledge mounted spout D with faucet

ofuro for Cape Town -3- manufacture

This is sequel of the manufacture of the tub for South Africa.
for those who missed it check in a separate window part 1part 2

So, the planks have been laminated and the edges trimmed (you can see on the wall a plank before being rectified)

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The tongue and grove joint is hand made with a handsaw and chisel. To see the process and understand the way the japanese ofuro water-tightness is assured, refer to the second video from the top in our media section
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3 faces have been assembled together. Now is time to insert the bottom plank. Finally, the last wall will be hand-planed on both sides before being set in place and close the circle.
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You can see here the geometry of the traditional “Tjoint”
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To tighten up the faces, we use long stainless steel bolts. The head of the bolts is capped with round wooden dowels (for a natural look) or copper plates (the traditional detail of the Edo area, borrowed from the ship building practices).
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ofuro for Cape Town -2- start work

Continues from a previous post. Open the blog about “choosing the lumber” in a separate window.

We have been contacted by a private client in South Africa about 3 years ago.
He was going to build a new house overlooking the sea and wanted a japanese bathtub.
Apparently it took more than expected for the permits and to start construction but he got back to us and placed the order. We have a comfortable time frame but since we will ship by ocean freight we started construction:
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First the planks are planed

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Then the material to compose the side walls is selected also considering the grain direction (both to avoid warping and for the aesthetic balance)

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Then thru-holes are opened in the sections of the planks

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and the different parts are composed together with the aid of wood dowels and waterproof glue (only on the matching sections)

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The laminated side walls are pressed and left to rest for few days to dry and stabilize

<will continue…>

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