Back in San Francisco – Continuing my Japanese training (self-conducted)

I have returned safely to San Francisco and settled back in to my so-called normal life.
To continue my Japanese garden training here, I volunteer at the Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, the oldest Japanese garden & estate in the western hemisphere. It has an incredible authentic feel to it. When I visit Hakone, I feel as if I am in Japan.

I currently have a small screening fence project. I chose this site to practice my fence building technique as it is inconspicuous. When I am finished with this, I want move on to a more prominent fence near the tea garden.

The idea is to screen off the storage area under this wooden building with a Kennin-ji gaki style fence (建仁寺垣).

Screening of the storage area for ladders with a Kenninji-gaki-style fence

Screening of the storage area for ladders with a Kenninji-gaki-style fence

I designed the setup and built the framework in the last 1.5 days. Instead of the traditional round Maruta (丸太) fence posts, I use pressure treated 4x4s (4 inch x 4 inch timber) posts. I used concrete as a foundation for the longest post. Since the existing post of the building has a concrete foundation, I couldn’t dig past it, which would have been necessary to securely plant the post in the ground (1/3 rule, one third of the post should be below ground).

The framework: Three 8x8 inch timber blocks are securely  fastened to the foundation structure of the building. Each of these has a 4x4 inch post attached.

The framework: Three 8×8 inch timber blocks are securely fastened to the foundation structure of the building. Each of these has a 4×4 inch post attached.

I also attached five horizontal rails to which the bamboo slats will be nailed (no picture). After finishing this, the head gardener Jacob Kellner and I split bamboo to make bamboo slats. I used my new Nata (鉈), a square hatchet used by Japanese gardeners and fence builders. The bamboo I cut was very thick. My nata must have slipped off the bamboo and I cut my left thumb and index finger. At first, it looked pretty bad, but I think it will heal in a couple of days.

 

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