Gold repair, kintsugi

I went to learn how to do kintsugi from a guy down the street and here are some videos from that.
This first video shows application of lacquer to a bowl. The lacquer is cut with a tiny amount of thinner.
The second video shows application of lacquer to a sobachoko. Again, the lacquer has been thinned.
The third video shows lacquer being applied to a cup that has an epoxy based putty fill. He sands it first, mainly to shape it.
This next video shows the gold starting to be applied to the putty repaired cup. It ends up with a reapplication of the lacquer because the first layer dried so fast.
This video shows the application of the gold to the putty repaired cup. The audio is about how the thickness of the lacquer application effects the look of the kintsugi.

This video shows the application of the gold to the sobachoko. First the excess lacquer is scrapped off. It is possible to do some fine sanding at this point. Lacquer is applied in as thin a line as is possible and then the gold is applied. Between the last video and this video starting we had a visitor who you will hear in the background. See below for some of the topics we covered.
This last video shows the application of gold to the outside of the cup.

Some random thoughts.

Kintsugi originated before modern adhesives. It seems most people use glue and then maybe apply a gold leaf type paste over the top. See this English site for a complete rundown on Japanese urushi.

Traditional kintsugi uses lacquer and tonoko. I have a picture of tonoko in a plastic bag. It is a clay that is mixed with lacquer and gold, I think that is the method used. It forms a strong bond. There are problems with the bulk it adds to the piece. That is to say that if the break is clean and the pieces fit together well the putty made from the tonoko and lacquer will actually make the pieces fit together less well.

Most sites that show how to do kintsugi repair talk about using a putty. In one of the videos Mr. Onishi is applying gold to a putty but it is a modern, epoxy based putty that was used as a filler for a chip.

In the last 2 videos you will hear Onishi and me talking with a guy that came into the workshop. We banter on about a number of things: exploding kilns, wind blown trees, etc. As seems to always happen in this area, Shiro Tsujimura also makes an appearance in the conversation. This is what it must be like to live close to Elvis. He makes appearances in conversations unannounced. Listen and you will hear where and how Tsujimura bought his land and some of the problems his youngest son had in acquiring his own land.

The visitor noticed I was using ‘Cashew’ brand lacquer. The visitor, Mr. Maeyama, is the owner of a large steel fabrication factory close in Nara. He built the factory for the Cashew company and in the video talks about how the owner had an epiphany while on a visit to the U.S shortly after W.W. 2 and came up with the idea of extracting the oil from cashew shells.

In the videos Onishi is using natural cotton. It seems to work well. The oils do repel the absorption of the gold and allow more to be deposited onto the surface of the piece.

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About togeii

I have lived in Japan for 19 years doing ceramics almost the whole time. I have a wood burning noborigama and a long snake kiln.. I
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4 Responses to Gold repair, kintsugi

  1. Flickwerk says:

    Thank you for posting the videos. It would be great to read and see more about fine examples of kintsugi ceramics and the gold repair techniques.

  2. Very nice. I’m working on some re-use and repair projects, and love the beauty + utility of this technique.

    Would you happen to know if any of these supplies are available around San Francisco, CA?

  3. Jez says:

    Thank you for these kinstugi instruction videos. I am familiar with the ‘Cashew’ brand lacquer. In the last video in the sequence Mr. Onishi applies lacquer in a thin line before applying gold – can you tell me if this is ‘Cashew’ brand lacquer? Thank you for your reply in advance. Jez

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