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Urushi Maintenance?


Andi B.
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Hello,

I want to maintain an urushi lacquered zunari kabuto and hanpo.

There is some damage on the bowl and minor spalling on the edges so I asked myself (now you) if there is any reversible method to stabilize these damages.

Cleaning and minor conservation should be sufficient (at the moment I don't want let these pieces fully restored...I have no problems with the used look).

Is there any transparent soluble lacquer which could be used on the brittle spots (with Q-Tip)?

And how can I refresh the shine?

 

(I don't want to do anything which would cause unnecessary work for e.g. David Thatcher...or would lead to a lifelong NMB ban)

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Andi,  The approved conservation method to deal with lifting and flaking urushi is a solvent based adhesive called paraloid. However, the problem with it is that it hardens at the edges as the solvent evaporates and takes a long time to harden right through since the lacquer itself in impermeable. This stuff is used professionally since it is reversible, a requisite for all conservation techniques. 

Ian Bottomley

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  • 11 months later...

Hello again,

What is the best solution to clean the urushi parts of an armour? I want to remove dust and grime and maintain/preserve the surface.

Dry microfibre, oil, wax...?

Thanks!

 

 

Oh, I should stop cutting missing horn parts and better play with the cat...

 

hornpart1.jpg

hornpart2.jpg

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Andi, if you consider how important to an owner is the surface finish of a car's paint and lacquerwork, then you might investigate some of these products which clean, coat and protect. Some of them are very expensive, though, so beware.

Ian B (and your cat) might have kittens at this suggestion, but I have found Plexus and X-Mal 1, for example to be very good for lacquer protection and shine. They even buff out small scratches. There has to be some unknown degree of risk over the long-term, however. (?)

You've got to ask yourself one question. "Do I feel lucky?"

"Well, do ya punk?"

 

https://www.kurumaerabi.com/car_mag/list/7203/

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Nice kohaze Andi!

Cleaning urushi is tricky and depends on the condition of the “lacquer”. I was told to use damp cloth at first to remove dust and grime. If it doesn’t work, add a light solvent. But again, tricky!!! If the surface is cracked or rough you might cause serious damage with that. So better to ask for professional advice (or help) from the known restorators!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Today I bought some flat black lacquered wooden Japanese trays from Aizu, and I noticed in the blurb some tips for keeping urushi in good condition. I am aware that chipped lacquer on iron armour is a different problem, but I thought to post here what they say anyway.

 

1. Do not leave lying in hot water for long periods of time. Clean with warm/hot water, wiping quickly, and remove any excess moisture with a dry cloth.

2. Avoid using coarse or abrasive cleansing powders.

3. If you leave the object in direct sunlight you may expect some color fade or discoloration, or twisting/warping in the body of the utensil. 

4. When not in use, before storing away, remove any moisture with a soft cotton cloth, then with a dry cloth remove any foggy/cloudiness or oily areas, then wrap them individually in soft paper and place them in a box away from moisture.

5. If the lacquer smell bothers you, expose them in a well-ventilated place for a week or so and the smell will naturally disappear.

 

F4EBA3C3-C602-4301-86DF-725704C01E2C.jpeg

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  • 2 months later...

By far the greatest danger to lacquer is light, and in particular sunlight. Whilst I am no expert on the chemistry of urushi, I understand the lacquer particles are surrounded by adsorbed water that is lost by light absorption (if I remember by chemistry from the very distant past the term 'micelles' comes to mind). The resulting damage leaves to the loss of the glossy surface leaving it dull and absorbent. This process is irreversible and the only 'cure' is either to apply a material to the damaged surface that seals it, or to remove the damaged layer. The car re-finishing materials mentioned by Piers either cut away the damaged top coats to reveal fresh lacquer underneath or are wax-like substances that cover the damaged layer and put a polished coating over it. There is a material sold called 'Armour' used to polish violins and similar that seems to be a wax containing a mild abrasive that seems to do both processes at once. 

Ian Bottomley

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8 hours ago, IanB said:

 There is a material sold called 'Armour' used to polish violins and similar that seems to be a wax containing a mild abrasive that seems to do both processes at once. 

...I think this stuff is called "Kiku-Mol' now (or maybe Kiku-Mol is a similar polishing paste)...

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