Building Woody Joe’s Shinmei-zukuri Shrine – Part I

In my previous post, I went over the contents of the kit and gave some details about it, so I’m just going to dive in here and start Step 1. Progress will probably start a bit slow, since I’m describing some of the features of Woody Joe kits in general as I go.

The Instructions

As I mentioned before, the instructions are very well illustrated and it looks like you should be able to build it without being able to read any of the text. However, since I’m writing this blog, I figure I might as well translate what I can.

I scanned the first part of the instructions and used a free online Japanese OCR program to turn the printed image into actual computer text. The site I use has actually gotten easier to use since last I visited the site. It used to be that I had to use pass a “robot test” each time I process an image – you know, where you have to look at a scrambled word and type it in the text box. The process is now MUCH faster without having to do that each time.

So, here’s what I translated:

Step 1 << Foundation Floor >>

Part number with a pink background is a laser lamination part.

Adhere with adhesive for woodworking.

“To Customers” Wooden parts are laser cut. Parts are fragile, so when you cut them out, please cut carefully from both sides with a knife, and please remove carefully.

Inset image: Adjust the corners

As you can see, there isn’t too much that you can’t figure out just by looking at the parts and the illustrations carefully. The exception are the notes about cutting the laser-cut pieces carefully from both sides, and about using wood glue, but those are more common sense or things that experienced wood modelers know.

This step requires the following parts:

  • 3A, B and C
  • 4A
  • 9A, B and C. Note that there are two of part 9A and 9C

The number corresponds to the specific laser-cut sheet the part is from and the letter tells you exactly which piece it is on the sheet. All of these parts are labeled in the instructions with a pink background, which indicates that it’s a laser-cut part, and the instructions specifically state that these are laminate pieces, but doesn’t seem to be the case for most of the wood that I’m seeing here.

Construction Begins

The first task is the construction of the floor itself. The parts needed are very clearly marked in the instructions as well as on the parts card that’s stapled to the bag. No need to read Japanese here unless you really want to know how the parts are labeled. This time, I’m just focussing on the build. This task needs parts 3A, 3B, 3C and 4A.

The sheet numbers are clearly labeled, so you know the sheets are in this bag.

The text mentions laser-cut laminate wood, but this stuff is straight hinoki. It’s not a plywood in any way. Oh, and I guess I’m really accustomed to this now, so it almost doesn’t seem worth mentioning, but as soon as you open the box, you can tell this is a Japanese kit from the lovely aromatic scent of hinoki.

As you can see, the parts sheets are very clear as to which part is which. You can’t see it in this photo, but pay attention to the fact that that Parts 3A and 4A appear to be identical, but they are not. The notches that fit with parts 3B and 3C are slightly different sizes. The same is true of 3B and 3C.

I thought I’d take the note in the text to heart and carefully cut out the pieces from both sides of the sheet, and have a new blade in my hobby knife for this. However, the wood is thin enough that sometimes the cut pops all the way through. However, there were a couple pieces where the laser didn’t cut cleanly all the way through. I think the particular piece of wood may have been denser than the others. This required a light cut on the back side across the grain.

The main thing is to not punch out laser-cut parts. It’s just a really bad idea, though I’ve seen some American manufacturers tell you to do just that. I guess if the wood is particularly tough and the parts in question won’t be visible on the final product, you can get away with it. But, on a Woody Joe kit, don’t even think of punching them out. Take your time and cut the parts free.

At this point, there’s hasn’t been any actual building, so I’m just going to push ahead here. After cutting the parts out for this first task, I noted that all four parts are different, so make sure the right parts are in the right place before you start gluing. Best to use the layout shown in the instruction. However, once you cut the parts free, it will be harder to know which one is which, but you can always compare the parts to the holes left in the original laser-cut sheets. You can also stick a temporary label on the part, but actually, they’ll really only fit together properly if you have them in the right places. So, you can just move the parts around until it looks right.

I glued up the parts using Titebond I wood glue and will set it aside for the glue to dry. I’ll go ahead and wrap up this post and get it online. It’s been a slow start, but there was a lot of photos to take and details to write about.

Next time, I’ll finish up Step 1 and get into Step 2.



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