• Antique Restorations
  • Chai Kai – the art of structural repairs


    拆开 (Chāi kāi) essentially means to “take apart” and people often don’t realize that when you restore a piece of Chinese antique furniture, usually in addition to carefully cleaning it, it also usually must be taken apart and entirely refitted back together. Since Chinese furniture rarely uses nails, and instead uses a complex system of pegs and joints, the item can be completely disassembled, with the pieces spread out over the workshop floor.

  • Books, Magazines and Publications
  • Chinese Woodworking: books and resources from around the web


    Chinese Woodworking: Stock Preparation This is a nice overview of materials preparation that was posted in the forums at Fine Woodworking. “In some way it is lucky that we met Liu Shifu at the end of his career: early in his career a Chinese Shifu will hardly ever allow outsiders to watch them work, not […]

  • Furniture Design & Construction
  • Excellent diagrams on chinese joinery and chinese furniture construction.

    This diagram from an article on the Woodworkers Institute website shows how traditional Chinese joinery works There is a great article on the Woodworkers Institute website which I stumbled upon quite randomly. I was actually researching some information on construction techniques for making dining room extension tables, when “lo and behold” I came across this […]

  • Chinese Furniture
  • Chinese Antique Furniture Joinery

    Chinese Antique Furniture Joinery   (Note: this article is a reprint which seems to be widely circulated on the internet. I think it is reprinted from the book “Classic Chinese Furniture: Ming and Early Qing Dynasties” by Wang Shixiang – though I could be mistaken.)   Introduction to Joinery Overview of Styles Glossary of Relevant Terms Understanding joinery and […]