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 Post subject: Wood identification help - two kinds of kaya?
Post #1 Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:41 pm 
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A tale of two goban.

Here's the run-down:

Both boards have a very pleasant scent, which I'm pretty sure means they're made from Kaya.

Board 1 is darker, comprised of 7 pieces, and has a less pronounced scent.

Board 2 is lighter colored (sort of more yellow than the first), is made from 4 pieces of wood, and has a very bright smell. The lines on this board are thinner, too, if that means anything.

What I'm wondering is whether it's possible to tell where the board was made, or where the wood originated, based on these details (and the photos, included below).

Board 1:
Attachment:
File comment: Board 1 - closeup
Board1-close.jpeg
Board1-close.jpeg [ 235.04 KiB | Viewed 826 times ]

Attachment:
File comment: Board 1 - sideview
Board1-side.jpeg
Board1-side.jpeg [ 97.09 KiB | Viewed 826 times ]


Board 2:
Attachment:
File comment: Board 2 - closeup
Board2-close.jpeg
Board2-close.jpeg [ 148.82 KiB | Viewed 826 times ]


Last edited by fireproof on Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Wood identification help - two kinds of kaya?
Post #2 Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:42 pm 
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Whoops, follow up with Board 2 sideview

Attachment:
File comment: Board 2 - sideview
Board2-side.jpeg
Board2-side.jpeg [ 67.08 KiB | Viewed 825 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Wood identification help - two kinds of kaya?
Post #3 Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:30 pm 
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After looking carefully at the many dozens of closeups of Hon kaya, Hyuga Kaya, Agathis, Hiba, and Shin Kaya boards at Kuroki's site, seems to me you've got two lovely kaya boards. But they look like they were made from trees harvested from two different eras or that were located in two widely distant locations. The lighter wood exhibits tight and fine grain that only occurs in very slowly growing trees in a narrow temperature range that doesn't vary much from season to season or from year to year. Perhaps a coastal location. The darker board displays wide, variable, and deeply contrasting grain suggesting a location with much harsher and dramatically variable weather, Maybe high on an exposed mountainside.I cannot imagine how one would estimate the locations of harvest, conversion, seasoning, or manufacture. Do you have approximate ages? The tighter grain suggests to me a tree that was harvested at least 100 years ago. If Japan's history of over harvesting Kaya is anything like America's insanely shortsighted destruction of oak and maple reserves, such fine grain patterns have not been seen in many decades.

But, hey, I'm just sitting at my Mac on a snowy day in Boise, Idaho, and I enjoy reading ANYTHING here on the forums that is not related in any way to go on computers.

There are some knowledgable folks here, I hope one of them will be able to give you a definitive answer. Thanks for posting the photos.

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 Post subject: Re: Wood identification help - two kinds of kaya?
Post #4 Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:59 pm 
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Very interesting -- thanks for your thoughts! I hadn't considered the color/scent difference being geographical, really (though "country of origin" was on my mind). I thought the variation would be a different sub-species or something along those lines.

Perhaps you're right about the relative age of the wood, too, though unfortunately I have no idea how old the boards are. Perhaps the wood for one of the boards was harvested longer ago, as you suggest.

The most surprising aspect of these boards is how nice that smell is; it gives me a boost each time I take the cover off!

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 Post subject: Re: Wood identification help - two kinds of kaya?
Post #5 Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 10:56 am 
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I love the smell of Kaya and always enjoy playing on my own board when I get the chance. The sweet cinnamon aroma fills the room but isn't strong.

Both of your boards boards are Kaya, but the second board is definitely a higher quality.

You could have two trees grow next to each other but produce different quality wood. There's so much that goes into it like weather, insects, soil enrichment and a number of other factors I couldn't begin to understand. As such there's no real way to tell where the boards came from, though I will bet that the second board is from Japan. Japanese Kaya boards that I've seen tend to have a thinner grain than Chinese Kaya. However they could just as easily have been harvested in Japan, Korea, or China.

From my understanding the color of the wood has to do with oil content, and I've seen examples range from white --> yellow --> reddish-yellow.

Your boards look a bit dry so I suggest oiling them with a high quality wood oil. You'll notice a difference in how healthy they look afterward.


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 Post subject: Re: Wood identification help - two kinds of kaya?
Post #6 Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 2:37 pm 
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Erythen wrote:
Your boards look a bit dry so I suggest oiling them with a high quality wood oil. You'll notice a difference in how healthy they look afterward.


It never hurts to oil or wax fine and old woods with appropriately high quality care products but such products only reach a few cells deep, or possibly millimeters under the best of situations.

Oils are used to help preserve wood by penetration. Waxes are used to protect wood from impact, dirt, and abrasion. One might apply an oil the sides and bottom of a fine go board but one very gently waxes the top.

Finishes are a different type of product. In the olden days, when agathis boards from China and Korea were just starting to be imported to the States, we were appalled to discover they had been finished with material containing yellow pigments that completely obscured the natural wood. Painting with yellow turned out to be how agathis boards were always finished and importers like Yutopian and Sabaki Go Company wondered what the big fuss was all about.

You can try to obtain shogi and go board wax from Japan or you can carefully discuss your needs with someone at a shop such as Woodcraft. The staff at Home Depot understands how to preserve your deck or your fence. Don't trust your go board with them or their products.

https://www.wood-database.com/wood-arti ... hes-works/
https://www.finewoodworking.com/2004/11 ... g-a-finish
https://www.woodworkersjournal.com/unde ... -finishes/
https://www.wagnermeters.com/moisture-m ... -finishes/

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 Post subject: Re: Wood identification help - two kinds of kaya?
Post #7 Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 3:08 pm 
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I couldn't tell whether either board is genuine kaya. The first one might be spruce, the grain is so coarse. Definitely the craftsmanship on the second one is much better than on the first one. Notice that the join lines of the pieces match lines of the grid on the second board but not on the first.


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