kintsugi Technique


In order to adhere the fragments ki urushi with rice flour glue or wheat flour are used; which glue mixture is used differs from workshop to work- shop. Some artists use rice flour glue with urushi for porose ceramics but also for porcelain and stoneware. Others use nikawa urushi for den- sely sintered ceramics such as stoneware and porcelain because on one hand a faster hardening of the bond can be achieved and on the other hand a better strength of the glue seam can be guaranteed.
Subsequently to the bonding of the fragments, the ceramic items are pla- ced in the damp room in order to harden the bond. The drying time de- pends on the kind of glue. Objects that have been glued with nikawa urus- hi can be worked on again after two days, whereas the hardening of mugi urushi bonds or sokkui urushi bonds takes ten days. 


Cleaning of the bond seams

After the bonds on the objects are hardened in the damp room, the excessive glue that leaked out and bulged at the bond seams has to be removed – if possible, the inside of containers has to be cleaned as well. For this, sharp carving knives with differently shaped blades are used.

Glättung der Klebenaht

Complement of lost shards

Deeper racks and defects should be filled in layers and with several drying periods in between whereas superficial chippings are filled with roiro urushi.
After the complement of lost fragments the objects dry in the damp room for a day and then are ready for sanding with charcoal and water – as described above – until the surface appears even and dull. It is possible that flat shiny bumps appear which need to be treated additionally with roiro urushi and sanded again after drying.

Ergänzung von Fehlstellen

Gold application

The base lacquer is applied very thinly with a proper brush and has to dry a little bit for which the object is placed for fifteen to twenty minutes in a damp room. It is advisable to use a comparable piece for control. A acetone or alcohol cleaned and glazed ceramic tile can be coated parallel to the actual piece with a base lacquer – a couple of strokes should be enough. In adequate intervals gold is sprinkled on the comparable piece in order to determine the appropriate interval for the actual sprinkling job. If the base lacquer is still too liquid on the one hand more gold is necessary and on the other hand the gold area is uneven.
The application of the very fine sprinkling materials is done with ashirai kebo, a special brush made from horse hair. The gold powder is picked up with the brush and by tipping at the tip of the brush over the application area the gold is sprinkled and thus applied.
The objects dry in the damp room for a day again.

Vorbereitung des Goldauftrages
Goldauftrag mit Pinsel
Goldauftrag mit Streuröhrchen
Schale mit kintsugi

This description reflects the technology used for centuries, as it is still stated today.
In the present, however, modern materials such as epoxy resins, synthetic paints such as the so-called cashew urushi, a simple phenolic resin paint, are also often used, so that one can only speak of a kintsugi-like technique.