I've had a project in the works for a few months now, and as it's getting close to the end I thought I'd share a little teaser with you fellas.
This project started out as a concept for a custom brush that would incorporate some of the finishing techniques I have come to appreciate from the fountain pen world. I wanted the brush to be in the style of an old-model Tulip 2, and as the idea approached reality I decided to have a razor handle made as well so it could be a set. As a collector of asian art and furniture, I sought to make the set an homage to the mastery of Japanese lacquer-ware.
The handles were both turned by CooncatBob (who did a beautiful job, by the way) out of Massacar Ebony. After a couple of minor tweaks to get them just as I wanted them, I sent them to Japan where they were hand-finished with Urushi Lacquer in a process that takes several months.
The urushi was applied with a technique known as "tamenuri," in which base layers of urushi are covered by top layers in a different color. Urushi requires a specific temperature and humidity to cure properly, and each additional coat can only be applied after the previous one has completely cured (which can take several days). As the tamenuri lacquer is exposed to light, the exterior color becomes translucent and the base color slowly comes through over the course of several years. The result is a very rich finish with a wonderful amount of depth. In this case, the base color is Kikyo (blue) and the top is black. This particular combination is known for being exceptionally subtle.
Using a Wajima technique known as "Chinkin," the finish was then free-hand engraved with an arabesque pattern that was typical during the Japanese Tenpyo period. The engraving occurs before the finish has fully cured, and charcoal is embedded into the lines. So, as the black finish slowly becomes translucent, the lines will remain black.
Hope you enjoyed the little teaser! Stay tuned for the finished products...