Australian Spotted Gum Connects With Japanese Decking Wizardry!

Find out about the project that accepts nothing but excellence.

Fri 18 Aug 23


Sometimes you see an outdoor timber project that is many times better than anything you have ever seen.

Friend Aki-san, principal of Japanese outside timber construction specialist Kurata at Shizuoka City, sent me details and images of a 200 square metre fully prefabricated deck with a 33-m long fence they have built for a large supermarket about 75 km southwest of Tokyo.

The area was covered with a deteriorating rubber softfall. This was removed, and careful measurements were taken of the area.

A spotted gum (Corymbia maculate) deck was assembled in the Kurata workshop and delivered to the site.

After installing the foundations, the deck took just a week to complete, which was an amazing achievement.

Congratulations to Aki-san and his team!

Installing the railings. Delivery time had to fit into the timetable for building the shopping mall.

I have had a long association with the Kurata company in Japan, first through the founder Mr Kurata and continuing with his very able daughter Aki who has visited me at Gatton.

We have spoken many times and shared the experience we have gained in weather-exposed spotted gum, a wonderful hardwood endemic to eastern Australia.

But I could never aspire to the craftsmanship Kurata regularly brings to its projects.

Kurata is principally a furniture manufacturer in Shizuoka City, an area renowned for its cabinet-making skills in a marketplace that will accept nothing but excellence,

Since 1995, Kurata has been manufacturing exterior furniture, decking and structures.

They bring all their cabinetmaking skills to their projects, accurately measuring and prefabricating complete structures offsite to minimise the time on site and conflict with other trades.

Aki-san told me more about the deck installed at Dyna City, a large shopping mall in Odawara City, about 75 km southwest of Tokyo.

Although the project was only a small part of the overall larger building plan, the delivery time had to fit into the building’s construction timetable. Production time in the factory was about three weeks.

The most difficult aspect of the project was bending the skirting board attached to the side of the deck. Creating a production schedule took about three weeks of work.

Then followed checking all the required material quantities, developed the CNC production program (including the jigs for the formwork), processed the timber, assembled the deck in pallet formats, cut the curved profile, and made temporary assembly in the factory.

The installation work on location took about four days for two people to position the parts and process other parts according to specifications provided by the shopping mall builders.

The spotted gum deck is nearing completion.

“Most time was taken investigating the overall structure, processing the decking, processing the cross-sectional joints, joining them and planning the final installation of the parts of the structure.

Kume, a famous design firm and one of the largest in Japan proposed a curved deck design. This was considered a difficult task using actual timbers, and an ‘artificial’ wood deck made from a plastic resin was proposed.

But Kurata Co proved that it could be done … with real timber!

Editor’s note: Ted Stubbersfield has published a ‘library’ of illustrated timber projects. For more, visit Deckwood’s dedicated website.


  • Ted Stubbersfield

    Ted Stubbersfield, principal of Deckwood, is based at Gatton in Queensland’s Lockyer Valley. He an international external timber design specialist with more than 40 years’ experience. Ted designs weather-exposed timber structures such as decks, boardwalks and bridges that age gracefully, requires a depth of knowledge and breadth of experience that, internationally, only a few timber design professionals possess.


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