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 Post subject: New goban table set. Need advice.
Post #1 Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:33 am 
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Hello. I am a beginner who just purchased an itame (Ki-ura) go table with legs; size 36, 20mm x 10mm stones (182 x2); and bowl set from a used furniture store in Kyoto, Japan. The table was very faded out so I oiled it today. Now the color and grain are visible...but old mold spots also showed up. I think I need to sand it down (following guidelines I found on this site) and start over... is it worth the effort? The top of the table has a few dings, but to me it adds to the character of the table so I'm not going to worry about them. The measurements are 422mm x 452mm x 140mm. The table is a golden tan, the pictures do not show the color well.

I also cleaned the stones (following guidelines I found on this site) even though they did not look bad. The slate stones look very typical, nothing special. I have struggled to figure out anything about the white stones though. Looking at a photo posted on here that shows hyuga stones coloring, it seems like about 64 of the 182 white stones have coloring, but I may be mistaken (maybe they just need to be cleaned again). Almost all of the stones have grain on top and bottom. All of the stones are the exact same 20x10mm. Is this shell coloring or just in need of another cleaning?

The bowls seem common, but another post on here pointed out that if there was a mark on the bottom, that may be helpful in figuring out what the bowls were made of. There are what appear to be two kanji marks burned into the bottom. They are not clear even with a magnifying glass. Does anyone recognize the mark?

I think I was very lucky to have gotten the entire set for 32,800 yen (about $320).

The photos should be here: https://www.flickr.com/gp/184996277@N04/j73ja0

Any advice on how to take care of my new set would be greatly appreciated.

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 Post subject: Re: New goban table set. Need advice.
Post #2 Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:18 am 
Gosei

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The most important advice: Enjoy go even more! ;-)

Care to add a total view of the very nice set?

Edit: Thank you!


Last edited by Gomoto on Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: New goban table set. Need advice.
Post #3 Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:36 pm 
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Very nice!
The white stones on the Flickr pictures seem to have been already very nicely cleaned and I can see no discoloring.


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 Post subject: Re: New goban table set. Need advice.
Post #4 Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 2:09 pm 
Gosei

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I think the board is katsura and the bowls are karin (Chinese quince), a nice set. I would be cautious about sanding the board. If you want a really smooth finish, planing and scraping are probably better than sanding. Planing and scraping can be, and should be, done with the grain. If the spots are indeed mold then it may be difficult to totally remove the mold. Mold is a fungus and fungus can go deep into the wood. If the spots are simply stains it will be easier to eliminate them.


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 Post subject: Re: New goban table set. Need advice.
Post #5 Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 4:52 pm 
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Gomoto wrote:
The most important advice: Enjoy go even more! ;-)

Care to add a total view of the very nice set?



I updated the link to include some group photos.


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 Post subject: Re: New goban table set. Need advice.
Post #6 Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:16 pm 
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gowan wrote:
I think the board is katsura and the bowls are karin (Chinese quince), a nice set. I would be cautious about sanding the board. If you want a really smooth finish, planing and scraping are probably better than sanding. Planing and scraping can be, and should be, done with the grain. If the spots are indeed mold then it may be difficult to totally remove the mold. Mold is a fungus and fungus can go deep into the wood. If the spots are simply stains it will be easier to eliminate them.



Thank you for your advice. I'll look around Kyoto and try to find someone who restores goban. I would think there should be someone here.

I just took one of the legs off to do the "smell" test for cinnamon (none) that Erythen suggested to someone else. I noticed part of a newspaper stuffed in the hole. After taking a second leg off, I found a piece of newspaper with the Japanese date of 55/2/27. So this board may have been made in late February of 1980. That adds an interesting twist to the set. I'll ask a Japanese friend to look at the pictures I took to see if a city is mentioned.

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 Post subject: Re: New goban table set. Need advice.
Post #7 Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:26 pm 
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Thanks for posting the phots and sharing the story.

Yeah, there is nothing at all common about this old equipment. Looks great. Quince bowls are a visual delight with that white xylem (or is it phloem?) and are currently $300+ at Kuroki.

Just my opinion as a former woodworker, do not attempt to refinish the top. Take it to a pro, like Kuroki. If you want to refinish the sides, As Gowan has pointed out, old chunks of Japanese wood should be planed. A go board deserves the same care and processes used by the original craftsman.

Enjoy and play often.

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I play go, I ride a recumbent, of course I use Macintosh.

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 Post subject: Re: New goban table set. Need advice.
Post #8 Posted: Wed Oct 16, 2019 5:57 pm 
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Quote:
old mold spots also showed up. I think I need to sand it down (following guidelines I found on this site) and start over... is it worth the effort?


The board is Katsura and looks to be about 4 Sun (without the legs) (would need to see the measurement on the wood to be sure).

Based on my (completely unprofessional) experience working with old boards, sanding won't get mold spots out. They might disappear until you reapply the oil, then they'll be noticeable again. Be careful sanding the sides if you do because it's easy to damage the playing surface if you're not careful.

Note: Gowan is likely right in his advice in cleaning the sides of the boards.

If you do sand, make sure to oil and properly wax the board again when finished. I recommend a good, high quality vegetable-based oil.

Quote:
I have struggled to figure out anything about the white stones though.


The stones are standard/practical (Jitsuyo) grade Mexican clamshell. Just looking at the photo they look to be somewhere between size 30 - 34, but I can't say for sure without a caliper.

Quote:
The bowls seem common, but another post on here pointed out that if there was a mark on the bottom, that may be helpful in figuring out what the bowls were made of.


The bowls look to be Karin (Chinese Quince). It's one of my favorite bowl materials because of it's subtle grain and unique characteristics. They're a good mid-grade bowl wood.

The burn mark on the bottom of the bowl is something special you don't see too often. It's the signature of the artisan who made the bowls. Most bowls don't have this.
-----
Basic care: Store the board in an entirely enclosed area with a class or pan of water. This will help regulate the humidity. Don't leave the board where the sun will shine on it (that will fade the wood. I have an old board with Go stone marks on the surface from a game where someone left it in the sun for a while. It is good to oil the board at least once a year. If you're in a dry climate then more times is better.

Hope this helps :salute:

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 Post subject: Re: New goban table set. Need advice.
Post #9 Posted: Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:37 pm 
Lives in gote

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Erythen is also shadow436 and sells interesting go stuff out of his home or office in Utah. See his store on eBay:

https://www.ebay.com/sch/shadow436/m.ht ... 7675.l2562

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I play go, I ride a recumbent, of course I use Macintosh.

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