Japanese tools #23: Bunmawashi - Japanese beam compass

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Blog entry by mafe posted 11-12-2013 05:21 PM 8503 reads 21 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 22: Ki-zuchi - Japanese plane mallets Blog Part 23 of Japanese tools series Part 24: Japanese kanna-mi (plane iron) restore - MaFe style Kanna jointer »

Japanese marking compass

I post my blog no 200 here, amazing how time is running and that so many blogs have been made from me playing with wood and trying to understand how to work it.
I will like to thank you all here on LJ, for all the inspiration you have given me, good advice, friendships and kind words that kept me posting.

In this blog I make a Toshio Odate inspired compass.

I dedicate this blog to all my friends here at LJ and since it is my 23 blog on Japanese tools of course also to Toshio Odate, who has been such a huge inspiration to me.

(As some of you can see this project is also from the archive, the old workshop).

Here is the sketch, less is more.

So we start with a piece of oak on the table saw.
Cutting up strips and a blank for turning.

Spin that thing!

A broken drill bit is grinded to a pin in each part.
And at the end of the cone, a hole is drilled to match the bit.

Here the parts and with the bit inserted in the cone.
I also burned my mark on the wood as you can see.

Marking up for the ‘mortise’, decided to go as low as possible for stability.

Drilling a series of holes in the centre jig.

Clamping and removing the waste.

Like so.

We like sharp tools so a quick hone before cleaning up.

Mean clean.
Notice the hole are following the wedge, so only bottom goes straight.

‘Braking’ the edges a wee bit.

Nice fit.

Now the wedge is finally drawn up so it makes a perfect fit.

And cut.

And cut…

Edges trimmed.
And put in place.
The knot does that it will not fall out.

Final trim of wedge.

Final trim on the bar.

Drill bit to fit pin, use a wee bit smaller one.

Drilling through the bar.

A bang with a hammer.

And we are through.

Wedge goes in.

like so.

Arm goes in.


Since I drilled the hole a little to deep so it goes into the hole, I deside to fix it with epoxy.

Here we are Japan meets MaFesan.


It works really fine.
And with no doubt it is the sexiest compass I have.

Hope this blog can inspire to some tool making and once more thank you all.

Best thoughts from my heart,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

26 comments so far

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4631 days

#1 posted 11-12-2013 05:29 PM

Wonderful build MADS. Thanks for sharing. Perhaps I will build one of these in the future.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 4448 days

#2 posted 11-12-2013 05:32 PM

Bunmawashi ? (thanks to google )
and perhaps you mean 11.12.13? 12.13.14 will be next year.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3390 days

#3 posted 11-12-2013 05:35 PM

Sweet Mads
A very nice addition to you to your Japanese tools


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View waho6o9's profile


8785 posts in 3111 days

#4 posted 11-12-2013 05:46 PM

Beautiful work Mads!

View mafe's profile


12135 posts in 3623 days

#5 posted 11-12-2013 05:48 PM

Auuuchhh, I was a day late daltxguy and yes I even wrote it wrong…, you are allowed to laugh, lol.
Thank you for the name I was spending half a hour last night looking on Google and gave up…
You must by now think I am completely hopeless… Smiles.
Thank you, I will now change the name.
Wayne, thanks, its sweet little build.
Jamie, yes it lives in my Japanese toolbox normally.
waho6o9, thanks.
Best thoughts and a auuuchhh,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19361 posts in 3101 days

#6 posted 11-12-2013 05:53 PM

well done. I like the wedge idea.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3574 days

#7 posted 11-12-2013 06:00 PM

Very Nice !!!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23507 posts in 3639 days

#8 posted 11-12-2013 06:23 PM

Thanks for the build process!! You are such a fine hand wood worker!!
Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 4448 days

#9 posted 11-12-2013 07:07 PM

Not hopeless Mads :) You more than make up for it with your fine examples of hand tools and woodwork! I make the errors in my woodworking, you’re entitled to a few typos in your text.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View luv2learn's profile


2977 posts in 2836 days

#10 posted 11-12-2013 07:22 PM

This is a very stylish beam compass. Thanks for sharing the process of making it with us.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View patron's profile


13658 posts in 3875 days

#11 posted 11-12-2013 07:30 PM

always something new and challenging mads

you make it all so easy to understand

thanks for that

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Notsquare's profile


50 posts in 2382 days

#12 posted 11-12-2013 08:19 PM

Really neat! I really want to study more on Japanese wood working. My wife is Chinese and I research a lot of that style for obvious reasons =) I wonder how much of it is the same?!? Method and tool wise anyway. Well excellent post, thank you for sharing and in such detail!

-- "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind"

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 3073 days

#13 posted 11-12-2013 09:20 PM

That is a fantastic compass Mads, I like it! Job well done.

-- I never finish anyth

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 3136 days

#14 posted 11-12-2013 09:37 PM

Inspiring work Mads. Your projects are always creative, clean and full of spirit and imagination. This compass looks great! All the best.

-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3019 days

#15 posted 11-12-2013 09:55 PM

Yeah, that’s going in my favorites. Great work.

-- Brian Timmons -

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