Did you know that we have more than one kind of finishing process for traditional kintsugi?
Today, I’m gonna tell you about how to finish this beautiful kintsugi in various ways 🙂
Three types of gold powder
There are mainly 3 types of gold powder as per its size and shape!!
- Nobe-fun：延粉 (also called Hiragoku-fun 平極粉)
Shape and size
Keshi-fun has a thin, paper-like shape, and is the smallest size among many kinds of gold powder. It’s told that 1g gold is squashed/spread to the area of news paper and broken into fine 0.3μ-thin-gold leaves.
Maru-fun looks like a ball and is the largest size among gold powder. Bare metal is filed and scrubbed into small balls. Its diameter is about 5μ (0.005mm) to 0.3mm. The powder is categorized into 17 stages per its size. The smallest number (size 1, the diameter of 6μ) is the smallest and as the number goes up, its size becomes larger (size 17, the diameter of 0.3mm).
Nobe-fun’s characteristics is in the middle of keshi and maru-fun. It has an oval shape, and the thickness is around 6μ.
The level of difficulty to handle gold powder
【Easiest: Keshi】Keshi-fun is often used for kintsugi beginners because it requires minimum finishing process and easy to handle. Keshi-fun is favored by many artisans because we can acquire keshi-fun either with low cost.
We usually apply keshi-fun on the thinly painted urushi with silk ball.
【Most difficult: Maru】Maru-fun is the most expensive amongst those 3 types of gold powder, and also it requires more steps to finish compared to keshi and nobe-fun. It is getting harder to purchase maru-fun because of the big boom of kintsugi in Japan. In the end 2020, I was told by gold shop that the supply of maru-fun couldn’t keep up with the demand, so after ordering, I waited several months to get it. Although it requires many finishing processes, maru-fun shows a beautiful shiny surface which rewards for your patience.
When applying maru-fun, we use brush or powder spoon with powder-filtering-tube (called Fun-zu-tsu 粉筒).
【Middle: Nobe】Nobe-fun’s characteristics are always in the middle of those powders. It requires steps more than keshi but fewer than maru-fun. The price also in the middle of those two. In the finishing process of nobe-fun, we often use “Tai-ki”, a stick with tooth of porgy (a kind of fish) on top, to polish the surface.
Appearance of finished surface
All kinds of gold powder shines, but there are some distinct differences.
After the longest finishing process, maru-fun shows the most burnished gold surface!!
However, the ground work before the finishing process should be perfect otherwise you will see any flow or fold below the powder. This is why handling maru-fun is the most difficult and requires the advanced skill of kintsugi.
Keshi-fun, on the contrary, shows a matt and higher brighness, and I believe anyone can do it! Its color differs per its class. (Class 1 : lighter, Class 4 : darker).
Nobe-fun’s characteristic is in the middle 😀
Since maru-fun has the largest ball shape, it is stronger against friction compared to the other powder.
Nobe-fun in the middle, and the finest keshi-fun is the weakest.
However, you should treat any kintsugi-repaired items with the same care for lacquerware; gently wash to avoid frictions.
By the way, gold powder is the strongest in terms of rusting, compared to the other metal such as silver, brass, and tin.
I summarized above mentioned features as a table.
We are selling kintsugi kit “TSUGUKIT” and it uses keshi-fun because it is the easiest and I believe it brings you the best first experience of traditional kintsugi 😀
Japanese Best-selling Kintsugi Kit “TSUGUKIT” https://shop-kintsugi.com/
When your are accustomed to all the process of kintsugi with keshi-fun, you can try the other types of finishing powder, and enjoy kintsugi further !!
I’m happy if you get interested in a little further deep world of kintsugi.
Thank you for reading this article 😀
Written by Kintsugist-Yuki