Japanese Gate

Tom Musco offered to design and build a structure that would link the Hardy School garden to an outdoor classroom.  A Japanese style gate was suggested for its esthetic appeal and its connection to the many Japanese families whose children attend Hardy School.

After consulting with Japanese parents in the school community Tom designed the gate pictured here.

It was during the final stages of the planning for the gate that the March 11, 2011 earthquake struck off the coast of northern Japan.  In the terrible hours and days after the quake and tsunami the Hardy communitytried desperately to contact family and friends back home in Japan.  When all were found to be safe, the school community focused on fundraising and outreach efforts in support of the people of Japan.

As work on the gate neared completion, Tom suggested that it be dedicated to the bonds of friendship and caring between the Japanese and Hardy communities, and the school community agreed.

The gate was made from white cedar logs milled into timbers by Tom’s son-in-law Joshua Doub. The arched timber is black cherry milled by Josh from Tom’s woodlot in Royalston.

A story about the gate raising appeared in the Arlington Advocate and the dedication ceremony was covered by the Boston Globe.

The kanji symbol, “kizuna” means “the bonds between people”.  It was chosen in Japan as the Kanji of the Year 2011.  Tom’s carving of “kizuna” was added to the gate during the May 2012 dedication ceremony to symbolize the strong bonds between the Hardy School community and their Japanese families, both here and back home.

Hardy Principal Deborah D’Amico and Mr. Ryota Kikuchi made the formal dedication of the gate. The dedication reads:
“We, the Hardy School Community, hereby dedicate this Japanese Gate to the strength and courage of the Japanese people and to our ties of friendship and caring which reach beyond distance and time.”

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Tom Musco, the founder and principle timber framer of Royalston Oak, began his professional woodworking career as a musical instrument apprentice to Peter S Kyvelos in Belmont, Massachusetts in 1973. Tom spent several years making and repairing a variety of Middle Eastern and Western stringed musical instruments. One of his dulcimers was featured in the first Fine Woodworking Design Book in 1976. Tom and his wife Judy moved to Royalston, Massachusetts in 1977 and began building timber frames, an interest he discovered in a beautiful timber-frame barn on his in-laws farm in Petersham, Massachusetts. His first frame was for his shop and his second frame was for his house. He made furniture and timber frames until 1980 when his shop was struck by lightening and burned to the ground along with all his tools and machinery. He built a new timber framed shop with the help of his neighbors and began timber framing full time. Tom was a founding member of the Timber Framers Guild. He has done workshops in NE ( Pembroke workshop at TFG ) and England. In 1989 Tom and his crew participated in the famous Concord Barn Raising episode of This Old House. He has built timber frames in New York State, the Hamptons, Tennessee, North Carolina, Alaska, and all the New England states except Rhode Island. Tom has crafted almost 200 timber frames since 1977. Tom is also an excellent cook with an interest in food of Sicily, where 3 of his 4 grandparents were born. He has written a series of articles on Sicilian food which you can read at the website of the Umass Journalism in Sicily Program.