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Japanese laquerwork

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  • yoshikurinagayo
    I m looking at trying my hand at making some Japanese style furniture. I know the lacquer they used would be somewhat dangerous to use today, so what would be
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 8 9:35 AM
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      I'm looking at trying my hand at making some Japanese style furniture. I know the lacquer they used would be somewhat dangerous to use today, so what would be best to use instead? Just a modern black/red spray lacquer?

      Also, what wood would have been used under the lacquer?

      What books/websites are good for documentation or how-to?
    • Solveig Throndardottir
      Noble Cousin! Greetings from Solveig! ... How about a nice high quality fir? Lots of boxes are made out fir. Aside from fir, how about balsa? It has a great
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 8 4:15 PM
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        Noble Cousin!

        Greetings from Solveig!

        > I'm looking at trying my hand at making some Japanese style furniture. I know the lacquer they used would be somewhat dangerous to use today, so what would be best to use instead? Just a modern black/red spray lacquer?
        >
        > Also, what wood would have been used under the lacquer?

        How about a nice high quality fir? Lots of boxes are made out fir. Aside from fir, how about balsa? It has a great strength to weight ratio.

        > What books/websites are good for documentation or how-to?
        As I recall ISBN: 4473008134 is a how to book on making tea utensils which includes a section on making a lacquered item. I thumbed through my copy, but a type of wood did not jump out at me. Here is a picture book which should help you: ISBN: 4872421590

        Your Humble Servant
        Solveig Throndardottir
        Amateur Scholar



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Solveig Throndardottir
        Noble Cousin! Greetings from Solveig! You might also want to consider: 桐 【きり】 (n) paulownia tree; Paulownia tomentosa Your Humble Servant Solveig
        Message 3 of 4 , Jul 8 4:25 PM
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          Noble Cousin!

          Greetings from Solveig! You might also want to consider:

          桐 【きり】 (n) paulownia tree; Paulownia tomentosa

          Your Humble Servant
          Solveig Throndardottir
          Amateur Scholar



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Ishiyama Gen'tarou Yori'ie
          ... The Japanese still use urushi lacquer quite extensively. In addition to the danger of allergic reaction, you will find it quite difficult to acquire on
          Message 4 of 4 , Jul 8 7:25 PM
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            yoshikurinagayo wrote:
            > I'm looking at trying my hand at making some Japanese style furniture.
            > I know the lacquer they used would be somewhat dangerous to use today,
            > so what would be best to use instead? Just a modern black/red spray
            > lacquer?

            The Japanese still use urushi lacquer quite extensively. In addition
            to the danger of allergic reaction, you will find it quite difficult
            to acquire on this side of the Pacific.

            There is a cashew lacquer available today that is less likely to cause
            an allergic reaction, but it is mostly intended for smaller items and
            is priced accordingly.

            I have had good luck with a brand of modern polyurethane varnish that
            contains pigment. It's sold by Minwax under the trade name "Polyshades".
            It's not quite the same as lacquer, but it has a nice translucency and
            after a dozen or so coats the color deepens wonderfully.

            You might also consider the beauty and simplicity of bare wood.

            > Also, what wood would have been used under the lacquer?

            That depends. Paulownia, as Lady Solveig suggests, is popular for
            furniture (especially traveling furniture) as it has a very high
            strength-to-weight ratio. Other popular woods are cedar, cypress,
            ash, yew, zelkova, chestnut, mulberry, persimmon, and pine.

            I find cedar to be widely available in home improvement stores
            these days, and affordable.

            > What books/websites are good for documentation or how-to?

            I recommend "Traditional Japanese Furniture; A Definitive Guide" by
            Kazuko Koizumi (Kodansha, 1986). This book was recommended to me, and
            has proved helpful. It not only contains discussion of the furniture
            items themselves, but places them within Japanese culture and history.

            For information on lacquer and lacquering, I refer to "The Inro
            Handbook; Studies of Netsuke, Inro. and Lacquer" by Raymond Bushell
            (Weatherhill, 1979). Inro themselves are so gray-area that most
            people accept them as post-period, but this books notes on lacquer
            are the best I have.

            --
            The Hon. Lord Ishiyama Gen'tarou Yori'ie
            (mka: Elliott C. "Eeyore" Evans)
            ishiyama@...
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