Life In 19x19

What kind of wood is this? How to refurbish?
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Author:  sclim [ Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:01 pm ]
Post subject:  What kind of wood is this? How to refurbish?


I bought a goban from a Japanese surplus store.

I was wondering what kind of wood this is, and what is the best way to refurbish this goban.

It doesn't seem to have any wax on this.

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IMG_20180816_115208.jpg [ 942.35 KiB | Viewed 1820 times ]

Author:  Erythen [ Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What kind of wood is this? How to refurbish?

The board is an Itame (Irregular grain) Kiura (grain pointing upwards) cut.

The wood looks like it could be Katsura or Kaya. I can't say for sure since I'll need a better picture of the player's side grain.

However, there is an easy way to find out. Carefully remove one of the legs from the board (they're pegged in), and then smell into the hole. If it's a sweet, cinnamon-like smell then the board is Kaya, if not then it's probably Katsura. Kaya boards in their first several decades will have a sweet scent on the surface (the tree is a kind of nutmeg), but this will fade in time, however the holes for the legs usually retain their scent.

The sides (can't tell with the surface) look like they might be covered in a pasty, clay-like finish (If the grain is easy to see then it is now). It's a sadly common feature on boards (especially Katsura); the purpose is to make the boards look yellower, but it tends to get quite dirty after a while and is a pain to remove.

Warning: the following is NOT how a professional board artisan would clean a board. So please take note, I am not a professional, I'm just sharing with you what I do with some of the old, beaten-up Kaya boards I get.

1. When I clean old boards I carefully sand the sides and legs. I first use a 100 grit sandpaper to clean off the dirt and other material followed again with 200 grit to smooth things out, then 600 to smooth it further and finally 1000+ (which might be a bit excessive, but I want the boards to be quite smooth). Also, as much as possible, sand with the grain.

I sand the sides, bottom and legs only since I don't know how to reapply the paying grid. If the playing surface is dirty, then you can scrub it with a damp cloth (though this may take some effort)

2. I liberally apply a vegetable oil to all surfaces and let it sit for about thirty minutes to an hour to soak in, then I remove the excess with a white cotton cloth. Leave the board to dry for one or two days before going to the next step.

I typically use boiled Linseed oil (don't use raw linseed oil, it takes forever to dry), but Teak or Tung may work too. Be careful with the rags, they can't be thrown into a pile (especially with linseed oil) or they might start on fire as the oil dries.

3. Apply a wax to the surface (you won't need a lot). I like carnauba wax, but other people I know have also had success with beeswax. Use a wax intended for antique furniture. I like to use the following... ... UTF8&psc=1

Leave the wax on the surface until just before it's dry. Wipe it off, let the board sit for a day and then it's ready to go. Be careful not to let it dry completely, otherwise it will be very difficult to remove and may leave streaks, at which time you'll have to reapply it again to clear off the streaks.

So, I hope this helps :salute:. With this method you won't get those spots on the sides out, but it will clean the dirt off and make the board look much nicer.

If you prefer a more professional touch, you could send the board to Japan. I believe Kuroki's shop still cleans boards (you'll need to check the Japanese website for this service). Good luck :salute:

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