Introduction: Japanese Geta

Picture of Japanese Geta

This is a tutorial on how to make your own pair of Geta. (this is the real way of making them. these are made from one piece of oak instead of 3 glued together.)

It is fairly easy but you do need some moderate wood working skills.
I have made longbows and other stuff from wood before so I know how it will behave

This pair of geta's will be made from Oak.

Step 1: Choosing the Wood

Picture of Choosing the Wood

The choise of wood is important.
You dont want it too be full of cracks and holes.

I have already mesured and cut out for each foot on the picture below.

Cut about 1 cm from your foot because then you will be able to shape your geta later.

Step 2: Start Sanding and Sanding

Picture of Start Sanding and Sanding

What you need to do now is sand down the rough surface with a sandpaper (I used grit 120)

And when you are done with the first one then its on too the next one.

(this took me about 5 hours to complete because I wanted it too look really nice)

Step 3: The All Important Teeth

Picture of The All Important Teeth

When you are about to make the teeth I have one very important scentence for you.


First mark out were you want your teeth
there are really no standards to where and how high but a minimum of 4 cm high is recommended. (I have seen some that are as high as 17 cm !!!)

Use a chisel (i think that its the right name) and a hammer to slowly remove the wood.

Make sure you dont hurt the teeths.

Do this on both shoes :P

OBS the front shall be a bit longer than the back. for more easy walking

Step 4: Start Sanding and Sanding Again

Picture of Start Sanding and Sanding Again

Start sanding with a wood rasp on the bottom and make it look good

Step 5: Round the Edges and Strengthening the Teeth

Picture of Round the Edges and Strengthening the Teeth

Now its time to round the edges you do this best with a rasp .

then sand it down again so it look nice.

then oil it with treeoil.

after this is done you need too strengthen the teeths.
First drill two holes in each teeth then fill it with glue and the hammer in a plug and chop it off.
Leave it to dry for a while

Now you can also decide were the holes for the Hanao (thong) should be. and drill them ( you can use a powerdrill here but I used a Handdrill)

Step 6: Sew the Hanao

Picture of Sew the Hanao

I used strong wool fabric on the outside of the Hanao and inside its a "rope" of hemp.

I did forget to take picture while sewing but it shouldnt be a problem. Just sew it to your foot size and it should be fine.

(drill larger holes if you need to I needed to re drill 3 times xD )

Step 7: Finishing the Geta

Picture of Finishing the Geta

When you have tweaked all the little problems and have attached the Hanao securly then go out and let the world know that you have a pair of geta's (atleast let them hear it)

(About a week later I did put rubber soles on the teeths too protect them and make the noise lower, it also makes them look fancy)

がんばってね :D

This was my  first instructable

I hope you enjoyed it :P



astrawberryneko (author)2016-12-12

i don't have a chisel what should i use in its place

ancaf33 (author)astrawberryneko2016-12-12

maybe a saw would work :) and smash out the middle part with a hammer or something

the legit walrus (author)2015-06-06

Hey 40wolvesdancing, where did you get that pair of geta? Did you make those?

StephanieE2 (author)2015-04-09

how do you measure size?

ancaf33 (author)StephanieE22015-04-09

Measure your foot, though your heel should stick out a bit from the back, look at pictures of people wearing geta and you'll see. Also when making for women the overall shape should be more rounded of, mine is more round now than in these pictures.

40wolvesadancing made it! (author)2015-03-02

There.. These are mine. ;)

40wolvesadancing (author)2015-03-01


ancaf33 (author)40wolvesadancing2015-03-01

ありがとう , although there are some improvements made to them now :)

40wolvesadancing (author)ancaf332015-03-02

These are mine. I didnt make them from one solid price of wood. And I need to sand them more. But the part I had most trouble with was the hanao.. I made these myself. Good thing I can sew :)

ancaf33 (author)40wolvesadancing2015-03-02

ah お疲れさまでした

40wolvesadancing (author)ancaf332015-03-02

You see the picture?

Where is my picture:/

40wolvesadancing (author)ancaf332015-03-02

Ohaiyo ancaf33-chan.. Genki desu ka? Anata ga e o matte imasu?

snoop911 (author)2014-12-07

The rope at the top of the clog seems to go down in the middle, instead of offset towards the big toe.. doesn't that make it akward, or is it meant for stability Speaking of which, what's the maximum weight undeneath it can support?

I'd like to make it 22cm tall (9").. any recommendations since finding such a piece of wood is unlikely?

ancaf33 (author)snoop9112014-12-08

Hi I put my foot on the piece of wood when I chose where to put the hole, and maybe I put it a bit more towards the middle, because of estetics.. well since I made mine (maybe a bit too) very sturdy it will not break because of the weight. but since you want to make it that tall, you would have to need to make them fairly thick and with the strengthening woodpegs running through, you can make it of cheaper wood and just glue on rubbersoles (on the teeth) which I did with mine, which made it possible to walk on asphalt without ruining them :) and if you want to use oak or such, go to where people go to buy wood for repairing like their wooden boats, there you can buy it :)

MissLevana (author)2014-07-09

They were NOT easy to make, but they turned out so well after all the hard work. Walking on them for 2 days straight was painful, but so worth it. People kept asking where did I buy them, and I was happy to tell them they were hand maid.

ancaf33 (author)MissLevana2014-07-09

nice looking pair of getas :D よくできました!

MissLevana (author)ancaf332014-07-12

Thank you for the tutorial ^^

zelback1 (author)2013-08-15

What are the benefits to these shoes? I can only assume that since historically these shoes have been worn for centuries that they have some long term benefit or perhaps an attribute that is revealed over time. Footwear back in those days was primarily functional, even for the people with more money than the rest. And yet I just can't seem to imagine a benefit or even a terrain where these are 'The perfect fit"... I just wonder why these never gave way entirely to Tabi, (Another shoe of ancient Japanese design, much more like an ordinary, modern-day shoe only with a split between the big toe and the rest of the shoe which enhances traction.) Any ideas?

ancaf33 (author)zelback12013-08-16

They were used in bad weather so the hakama("pants") did not get wet, at other times they used Zori. Geisha also used geta, the tabi shoe was invented in the 20th century from what I have heard (the ninja shoe) the traditional tabi socks however have been around very long :) , I have also heard that they could secure geta with additional string around the ankle down to the shoe.

siamonsez (author)2011-09-13

That is a really nice finished product, all the effort that went into it is obvious. I could never see myself walking any distance in these, they weren't meant for streets and sidewalks, but rocky dirt.
My dad has a pair from when he was stationed in Japan in the early '70s and they are heavy and take time to get used to walking in, in the same way I would imagine high heels would, so I don't see how anyone could wear these often unless it was their only option or they were super dedicated.

ancaf33 (author)siamonsez2011-09-13

Thanks =)

These are also quite heavy. I have put rubber soles on the teeths and that makes them much more comfortable to walk on sidwalks with =) :P

fabianfred (author)ancaf332012-08-07

Yours would be heavy made from wood other than Paulownia.
Many people think that adding rubber soles make then less slippery but actually if made from Paulownia which is a soft wood they give more grip without rubber soles.

fabianfred (author)siamonsez2012-08-07

I wear geta every day here in Thailand. They are not available for sale so i got mine from mail order from Japan. I am now starting to built geta for sale in my woodwork shop at home since many students want them and could not afford real ones. As you say these are really beautifully made. I make them with seperate Dai and Ha since this way is easier. The Thais do not know how the traditional ones are made and look anyway. They are strong though since I use two-part epoxy glue to attach the teeth. I do use the correct Paulownia wood. A scroll-saw would make the cutting-out easier for one-piece geta like in this project.
I also like to walk barefoot which is healthier and like getting a foot massage all the time. Geta are hard, but if made from Paulownia not too bad, and still less hard than concrete and without small stones and grit to damage the feet.
One advantage is that they do not throw water up the back of the legs in the wet like flip-flops do.

LordMekk (author)2011-09-13

I call the tool either a wood rasp or wood file.

fabianfred (author)LordMekk2012-08-07

the tool in the photo is a half-round file..

ancaf33 (author)LordMekk2011-09-13

oki =D thanks for sharing :P

cap n crunch (author)ancaf332011-09-14

a rasp has protruding teeth a file just has cuts into it

ancaf33 (author)cap n crunch2011-09-15

yea i know xD cus rasp is the same word as you descibed on swedish and file is called fil on swedish xD :P

bbrooks5 (author)2012-03-26

I don't quite understand the strengthening of the teeth. I understand how they COULD break, I just don't understand how drilling and gluing will prevent it.

fabianfred (author)bbrooks52012-08-07

The traditional geta are made from Paulownia wood which is very light, does not crack easily, and has some 'give' to mould to ones foot after some use. It does wear away quicker though. To strengthen the teeth the Japanese makers often drill and add dowels of a harder wood for extra strength as a strong blow at an angle could snap off a tooth if they are not strengthened in this way. The more expensive have dowels but ordinary ones do not.

ancaf33 (author)bbrooks52012-03-27

When you put plugs down all the way up to the platform when you hit against for example a stone with the teeth it wont brake off cus its against the fibers in the wood, so it provides more strength to the teeth. If you understand?

wbautista (author)2011-11-18

I really like your geta. Every since I saw this pair of beautiful geta. I hope there's someone who can make me like that because I'm to young to make such a thing. By the way, I need it to use in my cosplay which is japanese traditional costume from cabal online. Please tell me where in Philippines sell japanese geta, I need to have before december. thank you.

ancaf33 (author)wbautista2011-11-19

Thanks :D
It is not that hard to make, it would be much eaiser if you made them out of softer wood :)

rkeyzer (author)2011-09-14

how would you go about makeing single tooth tengu getas the 12' kind

ancaf33 (author)rkeyzer2011-09-15

yea of course you can make it and there were some fish traders that used that but I think it will be quite hard to walk with them :P

rkeyzer (author)ancaf332011-10-08

check youtube its hard but possible

japanesegeta (author)ancaf332011-10-04

They're as easy as left-right, left-right, no special skill to learn, just walk.

japanesegeta (author)rkeyzer2011-10-04

Tengu geta are made of 2 pieces of wood. the top piece is thicker at the center and slotted for the tooth.

ancaf33 (author)japanesegeta2011-10-04

yes exactly :P

oda-marie (author)2011-09-13

It`s like Swedish wooden clogs eeyy??

Arano (author)oda-marie2011-09-13

more like trippen(german)/patten(english)

ancaf33 (author)oda-marie2011-09-13

NO not at all =(

Nuonaton (author)2011-09-13

Excellent instructable and beautiful geta!

ancaf33 (author)Nuonaton2011-09-13

Thanks :D

jessyratfink (author)2011-09-13

Great tutorial! I've always wanted a pair of these. :)

ancaf33 (author)jessyratfink2011-09-13

Thanks :D

Well then get on and make them ! :D

Conker-X (author)2011-09-13

I saw a guy wearing a pair of these in Geneva.

He was over six feet tall and wearing a rucksack at the time - I was so impressed, I took a sneaky photo of his feet, just in case I ever decided to make a pair.


ancaf33 (author)Conker-X2011-09-13

:D I know i think it is one of the best pair of sandals you can have :P

About This Instructable




Bio: Im from sweden. I like Japanese culture and fashion. I play the Flute. My favorite song to play is Haru No Umi by Michio Miyagi ... More »
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