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Japan Lacquer : How much do you know about lacquer?



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GoofyGame

Hi, Penfriend in the world. This is first time posted. I'm a wood, leather and lacquer geek.

 

This is the real 100% lacquer shaft made of Japan.  If you mix 1% oil or artificial paint with Japanese lacquer, it is not called Japanese lacquer.  It is very difficult to finish 100% lacquer, so the price is high.  And the white lacquer is always the color of cafe au lait.  Pure white lacquer is not 100% lacquer, it's artificial paint.  Mixing iron with pure gold is the same as not being pure gold.

 

The name of -塗りーNuri is a technique.  Whether it is genuine lacquer or not cannot be determined by technique.  The important thing is whether it is real lacquer.  Do you care if it's 24K or 14K?  The same is true for lacquer.

 

Lacquer is the same price as precious metals.  When buying lacquer, you should always ask about the lacquer content and the whole process, just like jewelry.  Not being able to answer that is synonymous with not being pure gold.

And 100% lacquer, which is too viscous, cannot be applied to screws, and it shrinks when a pool is created.  Urushi master craftsman can see at a glance whether they are mixed.

Please note that the price of the artist who finishes with synthetic lacquer is correspondingly higher than the real one.

The surface is matte because it does not mix oil.

 

Pen: Pelikan M1000 Souveran

Lacquer: 本漆100%

Work: Brush painting only

Technique: 変わり塗り

 

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  • GoofyGame

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Interesting post.

 

So, what is your opinion on "urushi" pens?

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GoofyGame

Thank you for your reply.  I love all urushi pens.  Even if it is synthetic lacquer, the lacquer pen is a lacquer pen.  

 

The California roll of sushi has made sushi famous overseas.  Salmon and avocado do not exist in traditional genuine Ginza sushi.  However, it is very difficult to continue the tradition with only traditional expensive products.

 

 The first thing I want to say is that I also love California rolls, but we shouldn't pay $1000 for it.  Most fountain pen geeks don't know the market price of lacquer.  Even in a society where this internet has developed, it is extremely difficult for FP geeks to acquire correct knowledge of lacquer.  

 

Let's expand this theme, California near roll is also sushi, 14k is gold, and synthetic lacquer is also lacquer pen.  However, I think expensive lacquer pens should be written all content.  And you know, lacquer "Urushi" "漆" is a word that should not be used unless the content is 100% in Japan.

 

In other words,  this is my answer for you, only lacquer pens that are 100% certified are lacquer pens.  So, Could I ask you what pure gold is? Do you buy alloys for pure gold prices? 🙂  

 

Thank you so much for your interest!

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GoofyGame

This is a great site.  Thank you very much.  In addition, even the famous traditional Japanese books was written that they mix oil.  The best thing is to have a first-class master teach you directly.  a book is not always written correctly.

 

>Lots of info here:

https://www.manupropria-pens.ch/welcome/Library.html

 

 

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Nurmister

Thank you very much for this post. My familiarity with Japanese lacquer goes as far as Namiki's wonderful vermillion and black urushi found on their No. 20 (the Royale). I understand other brands like Nakaya and Danitrio also make wonderful lacquered pens.

 

To your point, I think that the "over-priced" nature of some artificial lacquer work is the consequence of pen-lacquering still being quite a niche and closed art.

 

In your opinion, who is the premier maker of such pens?

 

The topside of a nib is its face, the underside its soul (user readytotalk)

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GoofyGame

They are doing a great job.  If they offer an amount of $ 1000, that's a problem.  However, they continue to make efforts using long-established lacquer in Kyoto.  You can tell what you are using during the painting process, but it doesn't matter because it's offered at a low price.  I respect their efforts!!

 

>https://www.youtube.com/c/TamenuriStudio/videos

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GoofyGame

Hi Nurmister,Thank you for the good question.  Please give me some time to write English.

 

Please enjoy the quiz in the meantime.  Which of these three is correct about the social issues of lacquer notation?

 

 1, 99% of lacquer products are synthetic lacquer.  And 1% is genuine pure lacquer.  

 

2, 50% of lacquer products is synthetic lacquer.  And the other 50% is genuine pure lacquer.

 

3, 99% of lacquer products is genuine pure lacquer..  However, 1% is synthetic lacquer.

 

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Nurmister

Sure thing, take your time. I'm very curious.

 

Hmm, about your quiz...

 

If you are talking about just lacquer pens instead of other appliances too (plates, bowls, etc.), like those from Japanese pen manufacturers, I would initially say most of their production is pure lacquer. Again, taking as an example Pilot pens: given your explanation of how pure lacquer behaves around, say, screws, I now understand why the Pilot Custom Urushi does not have lacquered end caps -- only the body is lacquered. This is perhaps evidence that they use pure lacquer which cannot be applied to the end caps properly. The other manufacturers, too, do not make mention of mixing.

 

However, after more thought still, I wonder if that is really true. I've noticed that all the Urushi pens I've seen are quite shiny. I thought that was just because of polishing -- but perhaps they mix oil, making the lacquer impure? I'm looking at some Youtube videos now of old Japanese bowls, and indeed all of the lacquer is matt-finished! And so my answer is: option 1. How strange.

 

The topside of a nib is its face, the underside its soul (user readytotalk)

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Karmachanic
13 minutes ago, Nurmister said:

I'm looking at some Youtube videos now of old Japanese bowls, and indeed all of the lacquer is matt-finished!

 

Natural polished objects will become matte with use over time. Urushi, Ebonite, silver ........ Besides which, some objects were not polished to begin with.

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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Nurmister
4 minutes ago, Karmachanic said:

 

Natural polished objects will become matte with use over time. Urushi, Ebonite, silver ........ Besides which, some objects were not polished to begin with.

 

That's interesting -- wouldn't use, and rubbing contact with skin oils have the opposite effect?

 

Althought when I see photos of vintage ebonite pens, they are indeed matt.

 

The topside of a nib is its face, the underside its soul (user readytotalk)

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Karmachanic
8 minutes ago, Nurmister said:

wouldn't use, and rubbing contact with skin oils have the opposite effect?

 

I would imagine the bowls you mentioned earlier would have been washed after use, no? 😃

 

add: There are fountain pen Urushi styles that have a not smooth finish that are unpolished.

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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Nurmister
46 minutes ago, Karmachanic said:

 

I would imagine the bowls you mentioned earlier would have been washed after use, no? 😃

 

add: There are fountain pen Urushi styles that have a not smooth finish that are unpolished.

 

Haha that's fair. I suppose at a micro level, anything that causes light to diffuse more off of a surface (like scratches accumulated through use) makes it appear less shiny. Unless it is coated, one way or the other, or mixed, as the OP stated.

 

The topside of a nib is its face, the underside its soul (user readytotalk)

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Honeybadgers

All I know is that I'm having a PAIN of a time trying to paint a jinhao 992 with urushi right now.

 

It's fun, but getting those brush strokes out is a nightmare. Glad I started out with a disposable pen.

 

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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Nurmister
27 minutes ago, Honeybadgers said:

All I know is that I'm having a PAIN of a time trying to paint a jinhao 992 with urushi right now.

 

It's fun, but getting those brush strokes out is a nightmare. Glad I started out with a disposable pen.

 

 

Wow, that's incredible. Post pictures if you have them!

 

The topside of a nib is its face, the underside its soul (user readytotalk)

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bone215

Very interesting posts and info, thank you.

 

Very pretty pen and photos, well done.

 

"Lac, a resinous secretion of certain scale insects, is the basis for some but not all lacquers. Lacquer in China and Japan is made from the sap of the Chinese lacquer tree (Toxicodendron vernicifluum, formerly Rhus vernicifera), which, cleaned of impurities, can be used in its natural state." Feb 25, 2021.  ** from a quick search**

 

Very fascinating how humans interact with plants and insects, a very interesting intersection of human/plant/insects/fountain pens.

 

I love this site, I never know what new stuff I will learn.

 

So, for today, my personal inspirational phrase is, "Today is the day of my amazing good fortune."

 

Good fortune to all, regards.

 

Be Happy, work at it. Namaste

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steve50

Umm...using pigments with lacquer tree sap doesn't make the finished work any less 'real' or 'genuine'. It's a common technique used by contemporary lacquer artists, like in Nakaya pens. Also lacquering is a technique that's been used all over East Asia literally for millennia. What makes you say that only Japanese lacquerware are 'real'? Sorry but this sounds like pure snobbery. 

 

(Obviously I'm talking about plant-based lacquer (漆) not the insect one.)

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GoofyGame
9 hours ago, steve50 said:

Umm...using pigments with lacquer tree sap doesn't make the finished work any less 'real' or 'genuine'. It's a common technique used by contemporary lacquer artists, like in Nakaya pens. Also lacquering is a technique that's been used all over East Asia literally for millennia. What makes you say that only Japanese lacquerware are 'real'? Sorry but this sounds like pure snobbery. 

 

(Obviously I'm talking about plant-based lacquer (漆) not the insect one.)

Hi Steve50, I agree with you. Since my English is not native, what I want to convey is no good and will give readers of this topic a snobbish impression. I will fix this eventually. Please wait until my English improves. Thank you.

 

Usually, only the pigment is mixed in the lacquer liquid. That is lacquer. Oil is not mixed in the pigment. Pigments, artificial paints and oil are separate. This changes the color of transparent brown lacquer through chemical reactions and pigments. This is a traditional lacquer from 9000 years ago.

 

Do you think Nakaya Pen take lacquer same way? If you are interested in them, you should definitely ask them about their content and process.

 

I'm sorry for my inconvenience. I don't think Japanese lacquer is the only lacquer in the world. I am worried that "lacquer" is sold at a high price without knowing that artificial paint, fat, cashew paint, urethane paint, etc. are mixed. I wrote "Japanese lacquer" because there are many fountain pen specialists here, and many lacquer pens are also made in Japan. What I want to say is that everyone wants to think about whether Japanese lacquer is expensive together. I don't want to tell everyone that lacquer is only in Japan, and I don`t think so.  

 

The ingredients of lacquer in Southeast Asia, China and Japan are different. And Southeast Asia has different types of trees. There is only one type of Japanese lacquer, "lacquer tree". And only Japanese lacquer is more expensive than silver.  In addition, the amount of money varies greatly depending on the time and effort required to adjust the lacquer liquid.I wanna write the story should also a lacquer tree craftsman,  but my English is not enough!😭

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The tree used for to get the lacquer is called Toxicodendron vernicifluum.   Not specific to Japan, found all over the countries of Asia commonly known as the Chinese lacquer.  There is not a Japanese lacquer tree.

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GoofyGame
11 hours ago, bone215 said:

Very interesting posts and info, thank you.

 

Very pretty pen and photos, well done.

 

"Lac, a resinous secretion of certain scale insects, is the basis for some but not all lacquers. Lacquer in China and Japan is made from the sap of the Chinese lacquer tree (Toxicodendron vernicifluum, formerly Rhus vernicifera), which, cleaned of impurities, can be used in its natural state." Feb 25, 2021.  ** from a quick search**

 

Very fascinating how humans interact with plants and insects, a very interesting intersection of human/plant/insects/fountain pens.

 

I love this site, I never know what new stuff I will learn.

 

So, for today, my personal inspirational phrase is, "Today is the day of my amazing good fortune."

 

Good fortune to all, regards.

 

Hi bone215,

I also want to thank you. Thank you for your new knowledge. I knew nothing about the sap of the insect scale insect, other than brushing it with a pipe brush.

 

Southeast Asia is a tree called thisi, and its components are Laccol and Thatsiol. Japanese and Chinese trees are components of Urshiol. And Japanese lacquer wood has a high concentration of urushiol and a low viscosity. Many lacquer artists prefer Chinese lacqur, which are highly viscous and easy to apply.

 

And, as the article shows, 98% of the consumption of lacquer in Japan is Chinese lacquer and 2% is Japanese lacquer.

 

Only 200g of Japanese lacquer tree per 1 tree can be collected in one year in Japan. It is difficult to remove the liquid from the lacquer tree, and there are only dozens of craftsmen. Leading lacquer artists buy lacquer directly from craftsmen. Japanese lacquer is 10 times more expensive than Chinese lacquer. But why doesn't the manufacturer write the detail? The reason I created this topic was because the manufacturer wondered why the content was not write the detail on expensive lacquer.

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