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 Post subject: My First Go Board - Identification Help Needed
Post #1 Posted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 6:05 pm 
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Hello All!

First time poster here. I started learning Go about 2 years ago, and have been mostly playing on OGS. Since I started, I have been wanting to pick up a board as my brother and I play every once in awhile in person.

Yesterday, at a local antique shop, I purchased this set for $24. The people selling it had no idea what it was. I am pretty sure it a good deal at that price point, but I am not sure how good of a deal. So, I have a couple questions...

1) Regarding the board, is there anyway to identify who made it or what time is from? From my limited knowledge, I think it might just be homemade? The lines appear to be on top of various cuts and imperfections, which makes me think someone simply used a large spare piece of wood. I cant imagine a manufacturer would put the lines on top of the imperfections? The craftsmanship is good, but certainly not perfect. The overall condition is pretty rough, but I am okay with that.

2) Regarding the stones, are these possibly slate and shell? Do they make "faux" slate and shell stones? Is there a good way to clean them up a bit, perhaps just a little soap and water? Overall they are in clearly used condition, and a number of them are chipped. Below is a breakdown:

White: 14 Chipped, 159 Not Chipped
Black: 3 Chipped, 175 Not Chipped

3) What would a rough value for this set be? I have no immediate interest in selling it, but would love to know.

Any help on these questions would be greatly appreciated! Also, if this isn't the correct place on the forum to post, please feel free to move the thread.

Photobucket: http://s1374.photobucket.com/user/BoyWo ... y/Go_Board


Thanks!

Alex

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Post #2 Posted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 9:45 pm 
Honinbo
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Hi Alex,

Congrats on your new set.

The four legs required a considerable amount of effort ( speaking from one with zero carpentry skills ); unlikely homemade.

Unfortunately, the photos at photobucket appear low-resolution: based on the grainy photos, the stones appear to be slate and shell, around 5 ~ 7mm thick. ( re: calipers )

A little bit of soap ( or dishwashing detergent ) and clean water will go a long way to freshen up your stones.

Based on the photos, $24 seems reasonable. ( unclear which currency; assuming US$ ) Guesstimate: ~50 to 100 years of age. Some tissue or foam papers and a leveler can help even out the legs.
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Never heard of anyone making 'faux' shell and slate stones; the closest to such a beast is Cgoban's 'faux' shell stones! :blackeye:


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 Post subject: Re: My First Go Board - Identification Help Needed
Post #3 Posted: Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:47 pm 
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Hello,
Just a few quick comments.

The board is Katsura. Probably between 1.3 - 1.6 Sun, can't say for sure without measurements.

Based on what I see the stones (in your picture) are Native Japanese (Suwabute/Hyuga) clamshell, not Mexican stones. To be sure I'd need to see a closer picture, but just from a cursory glance that is what they appear to be.

Congratulations on getting a good set ^_^


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Post #4 Posted: Mon Dec 09, 2019 8:48 pm 
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Quote:
Native Japanese (Suwabute/Hyuga) clamshell, not Mexican stones.
Hi Erythen, what are the visual cues?

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 Post subject: Re: My First Go Board - Identification Help Needed
Post #5 Posted: Tue Dec 10, 2019 8:27 am 
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Bowls, man! Where are the bowls?

Old go sets carry with them an implicit weirdness: the imagined ghosts of thousands of games, dozens of friends, cigarettes, tea, spilled bourbon and sake, sunshine, snow, flowers, and terrible abuse suffered upon it by the pudgy little fingers of the previous owner's grandchildren.

Any floor-style go set $100-300 is a great find, congratulations. If Erythen is correct, and he KNOWS his stuff, the shell stones are a small treasure. You can visit sensei's library, or just search for the terms he has used in his post, to discover the story behind native Japanese clams.

So...what to do with the damaged stones? It is possible to carefully grind off the rough edges but don't do that. As they say on Antiques Roadshow, just leave things alone and let the next owner do the restoration or inflict unforgivable damage. You can separate the damaged from the main set. Measure them carefully and, with some patience, you should be able to obtain some shell or glass replacements to round out the bowls' inventory. But you will rarely need more than 150 stones in a game.

1/ Let's assume Erythren is correct, Katsura. Definitely not homemade! Your board's lacquered lines seem to have been applied with a pen or more traditional edged device, The closeup of that arc-shaped dent appears to show a bleeding ink mark so I'm going to suggest a previous owner attempted to rejoin broken lines by using a Sharpie.

2/ Read up on the various ways to clean and refurbish your stones. Just take care with the shells. Goes without saying but do to use anything abrasive in any way.

3/ Value? Much more than you paid for it! If you hit eBay, you can see dozens of antique go sets from all over the world ranging in price from hundreds to thousands of dollars. You should be able to extrapolate the relative value of yours by comparing the thickness fo the board, condition (rough), and the quantity and thickness of the stones. (What about the BOWLS, man?)

4/ Refurbishing a board is complicated. You have no way of knowing what has been done to or applied to the surface.You can use a very fine and totally pure beeswax furniture polish to help gently remove surface dirt and contaminants. Fine, pure waxes must be rubbed hard enough for friction to melt them BUT you must not rub hard enough to damage the lacquer lines. Try your wax on the underside first to get the hang of it. Then try the sides. However, rubbing on a wax might cause the inked repair lines to bleed some more. I suggest you wait a few weeks to see what other board cleaning information surfaces here and what your own research turns up. For instance, Kurokigoishten sells a tub of special go board wax. It would last three or four lifetimes.

http://shop.kurokigoishi.co.jp/en/item/320


Sorry to go on at length. I hope other forum participants will contribute their observations and offer better suggestions.

http://www.kurokigoishi.co.jp/english/m ... w-to-care/

http://www.kurokigoishi.co.jp/english/m ... are-board/

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David Bogie, Boise ID
I play go, I ride a recumbent, of course I use Macintosh.


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 Post subject: Re: My First Go Board - Identification Help Needed
Post #6 Posted: Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:26 pm 
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Thank you for all the great feedback everyone! It appears I have some additional research to do. I will circle back with some additional measurements, better pictures, and of course some pictures of the bowls!


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Post #7 Posted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:49 am 
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EdLee wrote:
Quote:
Native Japanese (Suwabute/Hyuga) clamshell, not Mexican stones.
Hi Erythen, what are the visual cues?


Just a few things that caught my attention. (Also, all pictures are my own ^_^)

1. The grain is very fine, much finer than you'll usually see in Mexican Snow Grade. (See pictures #1 (for comparison of Mexican grades) and #2 for difference between Mexican snow and Japanese snow grades)

2. The grain is slightly curved. Smaller Suwabute stones like Zach's will often have a slight curve like that. I usually see it in smaller stones, but it's not uncommon in larger ones too.

Some very poor quality standard/practical grade Mexican stones will have an extreme curve (with the grain making a large loop around the shell), but the difference is easily noticeable from Japanese stones because the grain will be incredibly wide and the curve quite extreme (like a crescent moon).

3. Another tell (not seen in Zach's pictures) is found in stones size 22 or larger; and the larger the stone the more often they will exhibit this. This tell is a slight warp or bubble-like shape towards the center of the grain. It's not too noticeable under normal conditions, but is quite clear with a bright back-light (See pictures #3 and #4). Not all larger stones will have this, but it is a common feature.

4. Another tell (not shown) is color. Japanese stones will have a slight orange warmth (for snow grade), more orange color (moon grade) or bright grain color or orange spotting (flower grade). Japanese clamshells are rather colorful. You can see the difference in the stones on Mr. Kuroki's website. (See picture #5 for an example of flower grade Japanese stones).

Sorry I had to resize the pictures (too large to post before)

Picture #1

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Picture #2

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Picture #3

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Last edited by Erythen on Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:58 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: My First Go Board - Identification Help Needed
Post #8 Posted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:52 am 
Lives with ko

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I guess I can only post three pictures in one message, so here are the other two :)

Picture #4

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Picture #5

Notice that the orange color isn't from dirt or oil, but a natural coloration in the shell itself. A common feature of Japanese flower grade stones.

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Post #9 Posted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 2:34 am 
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Hi Erythen,

Thank you.

Peaceful winter and 2020. :)

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