Japanese Woodworking Techniques: The Carpenters' Line

This video shows a craftsman in Hida using a sumi-nawa, or carpenters' line, to create a straight line on a block of wood in preparation for working the wood. Having begun using a set square, he then deftly marks the block using the sumi-nawa (meaning 'ink cord'), which he draws from a sumi-tsubo (meaning 'ink pot'). The carpenters' lines typical of Hida are simpler in design than those used in many other regions in Japan and characterised by their lack of ornamentation. Their simple rectangular appearance gave rise to the name ichimonjigata, meaning 'the shape of the character for one'.

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