Life In 19x19

On bowls
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Author:  bogiesan [ Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:58 pm ]
Post subject:  On bowls

Back in the 1980s, Ishi Press was our only source for better go equipment i the USA. Janice Kim’s online shop gave us Korean gear including two different styles (Kitani and Seigen, apparently she made it up) of inexpensive bowls. Yutopian brought us a diverse range of Chinese and Korean bowls including some really cool lacquered wooden objects and brass cloisonné monsters. I’ve seen or touched go bowls made of soapstone and marble. Go bowls come in many shapes from the squat spherical units we have come to recognize as standard to tall cylinders to squares and octagons.

As an old woodworker, I recognize skilled wood turning when I see it: choice of wood and the tree section, thinness of the walls, elegance of the shape, alignment of lid grain, a nice bead around the lip of the lid, tightness of lid fit, width of shape’s spread, narrowness of opening, and quality of the finish. Lesser craft is noted by a very wide throat, very thick sidewalls and base, a clunky and ill-fitting lid. I’ve got a few pairs of exquisite bowls and some real clunkers. One of my favorite sets is made of traditional woven pine needles, much classier than woven grass bowls. I think I’ve got two pairs of old plastic bowls that are quite well made. I like them all. None of them have improved my game, though. Rats.

I’ve been looking around the interwebs at go bowls for many years. I have seen some trends. These are just my observations, based on photographic evidence or stories I’ve read; I haven’t actually been able to touch each and every one of these objects. Your experiences will be different.

Fine go bowls, made in the Japanese tradition, are easily available Kurokigoishiten, who, thankfully, is supporting what appears to be a diminishing supply of top end craft, probably because the woodturners are retiring and there are no youngsters and apprentices backfilling the shops. There are a couple of other go/shogi shops in Japan’s larger cities but, from the photos on their sites, their bowls appear to be coming from the same small number of practicing skilled woodturners.

Chinese and Korean turned wooden bowls seem to come in two classes: nice and not so nice. I have seen some truly fine bowls, right up there with the best Japanese craft. I have also seen bamboo bowls in different levels of quality.

There are now some interesting pieces available at the Dutch and German go shops that are being turned in the Czech Republic. They appear to have been manufactured using some typical shortcuts. I’d like to get my hands on some of those.

I find it interesting that no American woodturners are cranking out Gosu or doing serious lathe art that can hold go stones and that no 3D printed go bowls have shown up; none that I have come across yet anyway.

Below are some links to interesting images of go bowls. ... -go-bowls/ ... C02432.jpg ... C02431.jpg ... mboo-bowls ... ten-beuken ... 9080788992

Author:  EdLee [ Sun Jun 30, 2019 2:32 pm ]
Post subject: 

no ... woodturners are cranking out Gosu or doing serious lathe art that can hold go stones and that no 3D printed go bowls have shown up;
Hi David,
the huge gap between the state-of-the-art:

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