Building an Old-Style Japanese Roadside Teahouse

Last year around this time, I purchased a few Woody Joe temple and mini architectural kits from none other than Zootoyz, where I buy all my Woody Joe kits.  Incidentally, if you haven’t visited in a while, you should check it out. Morikawa-san revamped the site and it looks really nice. If you buy a kit from him and build it, be sure to send him photos. Also, the folks at Woody Joe would love to see them too.

In any case, in early January, I had a weekend to kill, so I started one of the mini-kits. This one is called Sato no chaya, or Sato’s tea house. It’s a very simple kit that costs around $26 plus shipping. My guess is that the scale is somewhere around 1/50.

Teahouse Mini-Architecture Kit

I didn’t bother to write this up into a step-by-step build log, as the whole project took me just a couple days, though I worked pretty quickly. Even so, Woody Joe lists the build time as 8 hours. The kit features laser-cut and some pre-milled pieces. The instructions are a single, two-sided sheet of drawings. Some printed paper parts are included for certain window and other details. As with some other Woody Joe mini-kits, string is provided to simulate the thatched grass roofing.

The base went together very easily, but given the prominent seam down the center, I decided to cut a piece of beige colored fine sandpaper to cover it. This also meant that I could stain the base edge pieces, even after this was all glued together.

Lots of easy to work with laser-cut pieces, starting with the roof parts.

I don’t know what kind of wood was provided for the darker trim, but it’s very thin, so has to be cut very carefully. It’s a very nice looking wood, whatever it is.

Note how some of these pieces have been milled at the ends, making it very easy to fit parts together nicely.

Below, you can see the first use of the printed paper parts.

Here’s an example of the instructions. If you don’t read Japanese, you just need to study the pictures a little more. The indicated corners are shown in close-up detail in the photo below, which indicates the alignment of the end pieces of the roof.

Wanting to finish up the project quickly, I skipped taking any further photos and just focussed on building the model, which went together easily.

The most difficult and time-consuming part of this build was the cutting and gluing of string to the rooftop. I feel I could have done a better job. On my model, you can see the strands of string. On the Woody Joe made models, the roof tops look really great.

I used yellow carpenter’s glue for the whole model. Perhaps this soaked into the string too much, instead of just to the surface of the string. In the future, I’ll try some other way to attach the string to the rooftop. There are, after all, at least 3 other kits I haven’t built yet that have similar roof styles. Ω




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