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Japanese Gardening Organization

  Bamboo Fences   



Daimyo Fence | Kennin-ji Fence | Yotsume Fence

Katsura Fence

Bamboo fencing is a valuable element in Japanese gardening. It is a way to create a special space while adding beauty at the same time. We will start with a well-known style from the famous Katsura Detached Palace in Kyoto. The photos are taken at Otsuka Bamboo in Kyoto, Japan. For a demonstration of Japanese fence knot, see Otoko musu.

Yuji Otsuka is selecting bamboo branches according to size & node spacing. Katsura fence design is based on the taper of the bamboo branches.

katsura fence


The branches are woven together with the large ends at one end. Side branches are tucked under the main front branches.

katsura fence


Learning the basics, Don Pylant is interweaving left and right side branches.  Work from the bottom to the top and keep the stems on the bottom.

katsura fence


Here is a small section of the waddle assembly showing the side branches woven behind the main front branches. Notice the branch taper from bottom to top.

katsura fence


Here is the assembled frame to hold the wattle. It is of 1" lumber and is predrilled and pre-nailed before assembly. I like to glue joints as well.

katsura fence


Otsuka-san makes adjustments to node alignment and tightens the stem spacing.  The woven side branches have been bundled to make handling easier.

katsura fence


Nailing holding strips of spilt bamboo to the front of the section.  This helps compress and hold the wattle in place.

katsura fence

 

 

 

 

 

The branches are aligned parallel with the frame, end compressions strips are in place, the side wattle is trimmed and saved for the next step.

katsura


The fence unit is flipped over and the trimmed wattle, along with additional that is cut to fit is added. A tight fit keeps it in place longer.

waddle


Horizontal compression strips of bamboo are applied and the wattle edges are trimmed to fit within the frame.

strips


Carefully sawing bamboo covers. The corm is slowly rotated while sawing to prevent stringy cuts. The jig helps keep the cut straight. The miter cut at the top is done on a special bench saw.

katsura


Otsuka-san is attaching the cut, cleaned and beveled half-round culms over the frame and compression strip. The holes are predrilled.

katsura_rounds


The finished model. This piece is an example of two sections of the Katsura fence. Abutting sections are alternated so that one section has large branch ends to the left and the next to the right. This creates a sort of checkerboard affect.

katsura_finished


After construction, the wattle would be straightened and any errant wattle would be replaced behind the main front brances. Additional half-culms are added to the top of the fence. Fasteners are hidden with decorative black palm rope. You can see how these knots are tied in this video on Simple Japanese knots. The real thing is usually about 2 meters in height.

See other fence styles here:
Daimyo Fence | Kennin-ji Fence | Yotsume Fence


needle

 

 

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