Occasionally people have asked about how I built the suspension frame that I use. Well really, just an idea, lots of unnecessary research and investigation, other peoples knowledge and experience, and sweat.
My first step with these things is to look at classical documentation for ideas of how it was done. I’m personally adverse to loud noises and power tools, so I like to look at old manual ways to do things. So my first stop is Wasada Universities library, and that resulted in four sources regarding general wood splicing, the manufacture of the Torii, and ideas borrowed from shrines and temples. The sources included:
- Daiku shoshin zukai 大工初心図解 (1882) by Chōji Saruta 長司猿田 – two volumes
- Shinpen miyahinagata 新編宮雛形 – 1 volume
- Shōka hinagata 本林常将 著 (1875) by Tsunemasa Motobayashi 本林 常将 – 2 volumes
- Taishō hinagata taizen 大匠雛形大全 – 5 volumes
This methodology was chosen as these kinds of wood-joins allowed for an absence of nails, screws, or spikes, which made the structure flexible instead of sturdy. This meant that it was earthquake and tsunami resistant – more than suitable for hanging humans from.
The next step was planning out what I was looking for, and considering the space I had to work with. So some early prints were drawn up.
However, after discussion, review of resources, and consideration of height and practicality (removed the lower of the two beams, simplified the joins and fixtures, and experimented with the base:height ratio), and the below design was the result:
Because of my aversion to power tools, much of the work was done by hand, with saws, chisels, and a plane (though some of the bigger ends were cut with a skill saw, and the doweling holes were drilled wit ha power drill – I had little to do with that part).
Eventually the results were packed up and brought to the studio for installation. It was designed with the ability to be broken down and moved in mind.
It has since been well loved…