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furo, Japanese tub construction?

Ernest_Omori's picture

I want to build a furo and I need any information on the types of joints used on this project. I have read the string on furos in the archives and all I found was a suggestion to use T&G for plank to plank and through tendons for the corners. Has someone used this method and did it work? My original thought was to use a sliding dovetail for both joints. My reasoning was that I thought the water pressure would squeeze the joint and seal the tub. I'm planning to use Port Orford, no glue and no finish.

I looked for a book on furo construction but couldn't find one. I'm surprised there isn't one. If anyone knows of one, I'm in the market.

All input is appreciated,

Danford_C._Jennings's picture

(post #106095, reply #1 of 4)


FWIW, I would stick to the T&G and mortise & tenon joinery. The wood will soak up the water and swell and, IMO, give you stronger joints. In traditional carvel construction on boat hulls the planks were butted edge to edge with a slight chamfer on the adjoining plank edge, below the water line, for caulk. I have seen pre-milled boat planking that is tongue and grooved. Good choice on the Port Orford.


Madison's_dad's picture

(post #106095, reply #2 of 4)

Try coopering, as in barrel construction - avoids corner joints, and self-sealing. Might experiment with using a through bolt just under the front edge of the seat to form into an oval shape, so as to give more leg room and cut down on total volume. All that requires is an oval bottom, rabbeted into the staves, constrained by the outside hoop.

Tom_Witt's picture

(post #106095, reply #3 of 4)

Hi Everyone,
I've been thinking about making an ofuro for a while now and have not found plans but did find the site posted below that sells them. Have'nt gotten up the nerve to ask them if a woodworker could buy some plans or if they have books they could recommend about the subject. Seems like it might be rude to ask a business something like that.
But what the heck they can always say no.
The whole issue of the wood swelling and self-sealing is certainly boat builder territory. Might be worthwhile going to the Wooden Boat website and checking around there for ideas and comments. good thread!

Tom Witt -Iron Dog Design

Ernie_Omori's picture

(post #106095, reply #4 of 4)

Well I just water tested the furo and it has some small drips. All and all it's ok. I used sliding dovetails except for the last two panels which I use T&G so I could slide that edge into the last piece. I used a polyurethane glue and I hope it last.