Lacquerware manufacturing process and its techniques

Manufacturing process and its characteristics unique to Echizen lacquerware production region
The manufacturing process of Echizen lacquerware has a unique characteristic. That is, the division of labor system is established in the entire production region and the wood base forming process, lacquer applying process, kashoku(decoration) process and other processes are highly professionalized. This system leads to stability in high quality such as its beauty and durability and high production ability of the area.
In addition to the traditional wooden lacquerware, more practical and durable products using synthetic resin materials and chemical coating materials are provided for the customers. Today, the majority of the lacquer products used in catering and restaurant businesses are made of synthetic resin materials and 80 to 90% thereof are manufactured in Echizen lacquerware production region.
  • Kiji(wood base) forming
  • Lacquer applying
    (shitaji, uwa-nuri)
  • Kashoku(decoration)
    [maki-e(design drawing), chinkin(carving)]
  • 1
    Kiji(wood base) forming

    Wooden products have differences according to whether they are marumono items such as bowls or kakumono (itamono) items such as boxes and trays. The morumono items are formed by shaving out woods of mizume-zakura (a type of birch tree), chestnut, Japanese zelkova by using the rokuro wheels. The kakumono items are formed by cutting, shaving and assembling the woods of Japanese judas tree, Japanese bigleaf magnolia chipboards for lacquerware, etc.

  • 2
    Lacquer applying process

    Divided in the shita-nuri (under coating) process and the uwa-nuri (surface coating) process. Although the shita-nuri (under coating) does not show, this is a very important process that can determine the final quality. In this process, lacquer applying and smoothening are repeated over and over. The uwa-nuri (surface coating) process depends on the veteran’s skill of evenly applying the lacquer on the surface, maintaining the set temperature and humidity and careful drying. Here, lacquer needs to be dried in a high humidity environment.

  • 3
    Kashoku(decoration) process

    In the maki-e step, a design is drawn with a meki-e brush and lacquer, gold and silver powders are sprinkled and the surface is smoothened and polished over and over. In the chinkin step, a design is carved with chinkin knives by using techniques of line carving, dot carving, slanted line carving, etc. Thereafter, gold and silver leaves, gold and silver powders, color pigments, etc. are placed in the carved parts to beautifully finish the surface decoration.

  • Synthetic resin molding
  • Coating
  • Printing・Transferring
  • 1
    Synthetic resin molding

    Base forming of synthetic resin is called molding and plastic powder is heated in a machine. In such way, the manufacturing process can be simplified and the cost can be reduced. Also, various types of shapes that cannot be seen in the traditional lacquerware can be produced.

  • 2

    In the case of spray coating, lacquer and chemical coating materials are sprayed manually or by using spray gun machines. New techniques such as modified ways of coating are also being developed.

  • 3

    Screen printing technique of original designs and transferring technique such as pat printing by which a design can be printed on a round shaped item can cut down the production cost. These techniques are further improving and are widely used.


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