: Craftsman
Antique Restoration
Specializing in Japanese Tansu
Guestbook Contact
History of Tansu Japanese Cabinetry Experience & Skills

David Jackson specializes in the restoration and conservation of antique Japanese chests and cabinetry known as Tansu. He has completed conservation work on Martin Puryear's sculpture.

He has also worked on African furniture and sculpture. His experience includes sculpture restoration, custom woodwork and carving, and custom lighting.

More about David's Skills >>

Tansu is Japan's cabinetry tradition. They are the wooden boxes and chests that largely originated in Japan's Edo period (1603-1868). From trunks with wheels to shipboard safes, from kitchen cupboards to chests for clothing, Tansu were the receptacles of an age of economic expansion.

About Tansu >>

Interested in learning more about Japanese cabinetry?

David Jackson is available to give lectures on the History and Mystery of the Japanese Step-chest. Costs start at $200 per lecture plus travel expenses. Please contact David at (828) 768-2356 for more information. Or e-mail david@tansuconservation.com.

David Jackson and Dane Owen have written an excellent book on the making of Japanese chests, entitled Japanese Cabinetry: the Art and Craft of Tansu.

The Japanese word for tools is dogu, reflecting much about the attitude of the craftsman and the intimate bond between toolmaker and tool user.

The characters for dogu can be translated as "the way of the tool" - do (path or way) and gu (implement). Interestingly, the character for gu reads, both literally and visually, "tools need a good eye and two hands."

Do Gu

2007 Japan Foundation Fellowship: Hako Kaidan

David Jackson Fellowship Project:

The Kaidan Dansu, a Stairway in Historical Shadow

The cabinetry of Japan known as tansu has within its multiplicity of designs something truly unique: a hybrid that is both staircase and cupboard. It is invariably known as the hakodan, hako kaidan, also the kaidan-dansu, literally box stair and stair chest or step-chest. Its history has been obscured by myth and anecdote as no other tansu that I know of, both its origins and uses.

Additional Sites & Resources

Hardware & Tools:





Tansu Websites:


Plane-Spoken Furniture
Custom shoji, tansu for home, office, or commercial space.

Wood Suppliers:




Other Sites:

Japanese translation services

Japanese food and cooking

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Last updated November 3, 2010