The base wood is first roughly shaped, then dried thoroughly and turned on a lathe.  

The base wood is first roughly shaped, then dried thoroughly and turned on a lathe.  

Putty is applied to prevent damage resulting from imperfections in the base and to smooth the surface. The imperfections have been scraped out before the surface preparation stage. The putty, made from a mixture of Japanese paper, sawdust and lacquer, is applied to even out the irregularities, and rubbed flat.  

Fabric or paper is used to reinforce the rim and to counter shrinkage. The threads are arranged to make an even surface. Areas of overlap are removed and rubbed smooth after drying.  

A foundation layer of clay or powdered stone mixed with lacquer is applied with a wooden spatula to strengthen and even the surface. Coarse layers are applied, dried and rubbed down, and the process repeated with successively finer layers to achieve a smooth surface. For some pieces other materials are used instead of lacquer, such as glue or persimmon tannin.  

Lacquer is rubbed into the foundation surface to reinforce it.  

Lacquer is applied with a brush and dried well. The surface is then scoured to assist the adhesion of the next layer of lacquer.  

A further coating of lacquer is applied and left to dry, then rubbed until smooth and free of all imperfections. This process is to improve the finish of the final layer of lacquer.  

The intermediate lacquer coating is wiped clean, and a utensil (tsuku) is used to hold the piece, to prevent fingers from touching the surface and leaving any body oil, while the final coating of lacquer is applied. (The tsuku can be seen in the photograph. Great care is taken to ensure no dirt or unevenness mars the final coating. This is the final step in the process for some pieces, while others undergo further polishing).