Japanese Woodworking Techniques: Mageki (Wood-bending)

This video shows the technique of mageki (wood bending) in a woodworking workshop in Hida, being applied to a single, solid piece of wood. The wood is first steamed, then bent with a mechanical press and then secured in a mould to dry and harden. Mageki craftspeople must keep a close eye on the wood’s condition throughout this process. If it is too dry, then it will break during the bending process, but if it is too wet, then it won’t retain its shape when bent. The technique requires considerable manual and mechanical skills, producing curved results from a single rod of wood, that can then be incorporated in furniture that is strong and elegant. 

Discover more about Japanese woodworking techniques in the Hida region in our exhibition The Carpenters' Line