Friday, August 5, 2011

The Crew!

Boss Ushijima and I (covered in sawdust)!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Finishing Techniques

A particularly interesting technique that is frequently used for many of the products from Woodcraft Moku (more of a trademark technique of the studio) is a sorched + laquer finish. Tables and cabinets, as well as smaller pieces such as plates, bowls, and serving trays, utilize the technique.  It produces a soft, rich texture that brings out the deep wood grain in the Sugi (Japanese Cedar). The wood is soft, so the grain is accentuated by burning the surface. By applying the Urushi (traditional natural laquer) afterwards, the deep black color is also further accentuated.

Once finished, the central void will be fitted with a cast iron basin, which is where tea is boiled.

 Blow torches!

After a few passes with the torch, a burnishing tool is used to rub off the charred wood to reveal the smooth black finish. The tool is made of tiny reeds bound tightly together with rope. Works like a dream!

What happens to sawdust

Here is a few weeks worth of sawdust collected from dustpans and the ventilation system in the workshop. After a significant amount has accumulated, it gets taken to a local farm, about a half mile away. The dust is used to line the floor of the barns where a local specialty, Hayama-gyu (Hayama Beef), is raised.

Yesterday, me and Rina, a fellow crew member at Woodcraft Moku, drove the truck to the farm and unload over a dozen full bags of sawdust into a stall to be used in the coming months.



How to make a table...

out of a solid Cedar tree trunk.
...A chain saw is required.

After the rough shaping with the chain saw, the table gets further refined and sanded and, after making a central hole in the table top for a tea stove basin, gets torched and lacquered.