Making the alcove (Tokonoma)
The alcove pillar (tokobashira) is by tradition built from un-sawn or carved wood and left with all its natural beauty. The first task was to select a reasonably straight branch from the oak tree in my garden and start to strip off the bark. Tokobashira trunk could be imported from Japan, however are very expensive! Take a look - 600,000 Yen! Mine, cost me nothing...
The oak tree...
If the bark is beaten with a mallet its strips off quire easily I found
Hint: By the way, you MUST cut a slot in along the length of the back of the wood straight away going to the heart... If not it will split in a most unsightly manner!
The bark can be pulled away with just your fingers
Gluing the oak together for the bottom of the alcove
It'll eventually look something like this...
The top rail fitted made from planed oak
The tokobashira looks like a calves hoof at the bottom - very appropriate I thought!
The complete pillar attached
Alcove with bonsai