Hand Tools Archive

Question on prismatic stringing

All stringing is prismatic, i.e. is a prism. Mostly stringing is square or rectangular in shape. Some is not; some is triangular and it is this triangular stuff I am curious about.

Khatam is a veneer, mosaic really, that is very similar to Japanese hakone in principle. The differences appear to be the patterns, the thickness of the veneer, and the size/pitch of the repeated elements. Most hakone veneer appears to be relatively large, each sheet of veneer being an end grain slice made with a plane. These hakone veneers are of a thickness of a plane shaving. I like the idea that these small sheets are almost translucent. Khatam veneers, on the other hand, are cut with a saw and are somewhat thicker than hakone, though the concept is almost identical.

Hakone marquetry

Khatam marquetry

The question I have for you folks is how do you think triangular stringing that is on the order of 1/16" in dimension is made. I am imagining that rectangular/square boxwood stringing is pulled through a die or past blades to make it triangular, but I don't really know. I know that triangular brass or silver wire is easily made by running two wires through a rectangular rolling mills, the distinct wires being pushed to diametrically opposed corners of the die to form triangles. If the cross sections of each wood strip were larger, I can imagine cutting or planing these, but they are truly small.

I'm not ready to move on this project, but I am interested in how this might be done.


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