A traditional tool in the service of measurement, still produced in Japan today. The 30 cm ruler is marked on one side only, the 50 cm long is scaled on both sides in centimetres and part of the way in millimetres, though not with any figure marked. Only reasonably accurate, as such a natural product will tend to be, but a joy to have on any desk or drawing board.
|30 cm, graduation see picture bottom|
|50 cm, graduation see picture top|
This is like the familiar carpenter's chalk system, but the Sumitsubo produces a much finer line. Instead of the dry chalk used in Europe, ink grains are dissolved in water and the cotton wool is soaked in this solution. The line is drawn through the damp wadding, fixed under tension and snapped against the surface - a fine, straight line is the immediate result. A traditional model with carved design.
Japanese carpenters always tended to keep their toolboxes simple. Decoration was seen as boastfulness and thus despised. However, these rules did not apply to the Sumitsubo, which was a symbol, often left in the finished building. Because it had this ceremonial function it used to be crafted by the carpenters themselves, frequently with very rich carving.