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Are Urushi And Chinese Lacquer The Same? If They Are The Same, Would It Be Unethical To Sell Chinese Lacquer Pen As Urushi?

urushi chinese lacquer

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12 replies to this topic

#1 vonManstein

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 17:50

I noticed that Urushi pens on average achieve higher price than Chinese Lacquer pens. As far as I can tell these are two different names for a same thing - Lacquer made out of Toxicodendron vernicifluum sap.

If you know of any difference please let me know.
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#2 Mech-for-i

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 19:33

AFAIK, while the basics are the same ... there is great difference between the two and even among their own ... a lot of the pricing part had more due to the craft work than the actual material ; that said ; real high end Chinese lacquer ( such as the rare lacquer sculptured Hero ) are just as pricy and even pricier than the Urushi ... Lacquer is only a very loose term as the craft itself can be further grouped into various different category and all create different kind of lacquer-ware, and finishing ; say lacquer ware on mold ; lacquer on Bamboo ; Lacquer on wood ; and lacquer on metal etc etc ... and of course different added on finishing. 



#3 jandrese

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 21:44

Same stuff.



#4 vonManstein

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 19:39

AFAIK, while the basics are the same ... there is great difference between the two and even among their own ... a lot of the pricing part had more due to the craft work than the actual material ; that said ; real high end Chinese lacquer ( such as the rare lacquer sculptured Hero ) are just as pricy and even pricier than the Urushi ... Lacquer is only a very loose term as the craft itself can be further grouped into various different category and all create different kind of lacquer-ware, and finishing ; say lacquer ware on mold ; lacquer on Bamboo ; Lacquer on wood ; and lacquer on metal etc etc ... and of course different added on finishing.

Thanks but do you know what the difference is?
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#5 Mulrich

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 23:11

My main exposure to Chinese lacquer comes from Dupont pens. Bought new at close to MSRP, these are priced similar to entry-level Urushi (super fancy Urushi with maki-e is a different story).  But you can generally find Dupont much cheaper on clearance or secondary markets whereas I've never seen a Urushi pen on clearance and the used prices are still pretty high. 

 

And as others mentioned, I believe the main difference is in manufacturing. Nakaya pens are hand made whereas I think Dupont's are somehow manufactured. 



#6 Parker51

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 02:10

Given that laquer craft is a craft, eventually both could be and perhaps in the main are of the same or simialer quality for the same amount of workmanship produced by craft persons of simialer levels of experiance, but that may be the key difference. Unfortunately at various points in history for different reasons the oppertunity to practice this craft has been disrupted. The last major disruption was to the Chinese craft persons, within my memory and the lifetime of the generation of those currently aging out of production. The subsequent generations thus likely had the handicap of not having the experienced craft persons to act as teachers their counterparts in Japan had. Such is the way of politics that we can't discuss here, but which negatively effected Fountain Pen production, especially high end, in China.

#7 MartinPauli

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 07:09

Chinese lacquer and Japanese Lacquer are technically quite same in general.

90% of Urushi processed in Japan is Chinese urushi refined in Japan.

 

In Japan, urushi is harvested on sunny days only and the sap is collected immediately after the bark of the urushi tree is cut. In Japan a tree produces between 65 and 110 gr of raw lacquer only.

Japanese lacquer is very liquid and transparent

 

In China the lacquer is harvested every day, on sunny and rainy days.

The bark is cut and a shell is placed under the cut to collect the sap.

In the evening the shells with the raw lacquer are collected.

 

Over the hours the raw lacquer became contaminated by water, insects and dust and has started to ferment and has a sourish smell. Cjinese lacquer is darker and not as liquid as Japanese lacquer.

 

Japanese lacquer is 10 times more expensive than Chinese lacquer.

 

After the raw lacquer "Ki-Urushi" is collected it is cleaned and refined in a process called "tenbikurome". In this process the raw lacquer is poured into a wooden contaner and stirred with a wooden spatula, The container is slightly tilted and exposed to early spring sun.

 

The process takes several hours with the goal to reduce the water content and the sun obtains a chemical process in which the viscosity and color of the lacquer changes. This lacquer is of highest quality and is called "Sukurome Urushi"

 

Unfortunately I cannot upload pictures because if I try the systemy say "uploading is not allowed"

 

 



#8 toymachine

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 02:08

Fascinating thread! Thank you @MartinPauli. Get that upload issued fixed please!



#9 Honeybadgers

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 00:25

Chinese lacquer and Japanese Lacquer are technically quite same in general.

90% of Urushi processed in Japan is Chinese urushi refined in Japan.

 

In Japan, urushi is harvested on sunny days only and the sap is collected immediately after the bark of the urushi tree is cut. In Japan a tree produces between 65 and 110 gr of raw lacquer only.

Japanese lacquer is very liquid and transparent

 

In China the lacquer is harvested every day, on sunny and rainy days.

The bark is cut and a shell is placed under the cut to collect the sap.

In the evening the shells with the raw lacquer are collected.

 

Over the hours the raw lacquer became contaminated by water, insects and dust and has started to ferment and has a sourish smell. Cjinese lacquer is darker and not as liquid as Japanese lacquer.

 

Japanese lacquer is 10 times more expensive than Chinese lacquer.

 

After the raw lacquer "Ki-Urushi" is collected it is cleaned and refined in a process called "tenbikurome". In this process the raw lacquer is poured into a wooden contaner and stirred with a wooden spatula, The container is slightly tilted and exposed to early spring sun.

 

The process takes several hours with the goal to reduce the water content and the sun obtains a chemical process in which the viscosity and color of the lacquer changes. This lacquer is of highest quality and is called "Sukurome Urushi"

 

Unfortunately I cannot upload pictures because if I try the systemy say "uploading is not allowed"

 

 

 

You've reached your lifetime limit for using that image tool. it's dumb. Use the "upload" section at the top of the website and just copy-paste the image links into your post from now on.

 

Yes, urushiol comes from technically the same trees. There will be minor, minor differences in processing, but think about it more like tea. Camilla sinesis grows in japan and china, but they process it differently, and as such, slightly different characteristics.


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#10 wspohn

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 22:22

Urushi seems to be a labour intensive thing no matter what you apply it to.

 

This is one of my phono cartridges - a Koetsu Urushi. Hopefully long lived, as replacement cost today is pushing $5,000

 

urushiwagima_grande.jpg?v=1513980376


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#11 jandrese

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 13:26

Urushi seems to be a labour intensive thing no matter what you apply it to.

 

This is one of my phono cartridges - a Koetsu Urushi. Hopefully long lived, as replacement cost today is pushing $5,000

 

urushiwagima_grande.jpg?v=1513980376

 

Nice MC cartridge. I remember reading about those in Stereophile magazine years ago. They seemed wonderful. 



#12 wspohn

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 15:53

 

Nice MC cartridge. I remember reading about those in Stereophile magazine years ago. They seemed wonderful. 

 

I had to buy the entire turntable to get the cartridge. Turned out to be one of the best buys I ever made!  (VPI TNT, SMEV)


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#13 jandrese

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 01:42

 

I had to buy the entire turntable to get the cartridge. Turned out to be one of the best buys I ever made!  (VPI TNT, SMEV)

Nice







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: urushi, chinese lacquer



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