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Arts of Japan series : case construction part 11

Posted by Dave Bull at 2:04 AM, May 10, 2012 [Permalink]

Here we are with the final entry in the series showing the construction of the cases for the 'Arts of Japan' series. This isn't the last of the actual construction work - as we have only finished 70-odd cases yet - but from here on in it will simply be a lot more of the same.

The last step in the actual woodwork stage was of course finish sanding (this is what kept me busy during the entire weekend that Fujii-san was here doing her recent printing training):

The cases then went downstairs onto a temporary shelf/platform in the new space next door (we haven't got a 'name' for that room yet ... we'll have to see what people start to use ...):

And Lee-san - who is here for a couple of days this week - got right to work on the spraying. You can see where we haven't yet had time to knock out those breeze blocks separating the two rooms:

This 'spray booth' is a lot more pleasant than the one he got stuck with last week ...

And of course, the light is much better ...

After the testing last week, we decided to go with two coats of a fairly simple water-base varnish, giving the cases a pretty vigorous sanding between coats:

We're not attempting a 'super gloss' professional finish like the one on the previous Mystique series cases; we just don't have the experience or the resources to do that, and as we haven't used wood filler, the grain is fairly 'open'. The finish on these cases thus has a sort of 'natural' look, and we think it's quite attractive.

Putting the two coats on this batch was one very long day!

The cases then went back upstairs to the woodshop for final polishing, checking, and this important step - what is Tsushima-san doing?

Levelling the feet of course! She's working on a doubled glass plate, which is about the only way we could create an absolutely flat surface:

We'll temporarily skip the next couple of photos, which show the cases being 'loaded' with the first print, stand and acrylic panel (because they 'reveal' the interior and opening mechanism). But it all ends up looking like this:

It's a basically simple item, but we think it has turned out pretty well, and Lee-san and I shook hands in congratulations this evening at the conclusion of the work on this batch.

As for the other aspect of this - whether making the cases ourselves was actually a good idea from a business point of view ... this is perhaps something we can leave for another day. I don't want to spoil the mood tonight!


Following comment posted by: Margaret Maloney on May 10, 2012 2:44 PM

I think they look great! And it's certainly worth doing at least once.

Following comment posted by: Dave on May 14, 2012 12:43 PM

The first people have been receiving their cases (of course these are nearby ... here in Japan), and when I got home from the big exhibition at the Design Festa on Sunday evening, found a message on my answering machine.

It was from one of the oldest, long-time collectors - somebody who has collected every single print I have put out, right from the beginning of the poet's series.

"This is XXXX. I received the package, and I'm calling about the case. It's pretty ... umm ... rough ... The one you sent with the previous series was beautifully smooth, and I just wondered ... Anyway, I thought I would call and let you know. Please get back to me when you get a minute ..."

What did I say in the post above? "... we think it's quite attractive ..." It seems that not everybody is going to agree!

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