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Auction results

Posted by Dave Bull at 8:09 AM, May 22, 2013 [Permalink]

For those of you who have been holding your breath waiting to see if the latest auction pickings are junk or treasure, I can report positively ... (again!)

There were indeed two 'hon' barens in the lot:

They are - as we expected - very old, and very worn, but not so much to be totally unusable. They are very dry, and will need a good refurbishment (and sterilization - as there is quite a lot of mold present), but once we have time for that, they'll take their place in the tool box.

The brushes are also very worn, and most of them are only useful to us as examples:

We've never seen any quite this small before, and already a couple of the ladies are pushing me to try and get some new ones of this type. A lot of the work we do here is pretty delicate, and brushes like this might indeed be useful.

And one of them is actually useable as it (although it too will need sterilization first):

Once everything was unwrapped and inspected, I phoned Goto-san the baren maker to bring him up-to-date. He has a pretty extensive knowledge of barens and collects data where he can on older ones, and their makers. Interestingly, the maker of this one - Kusayanagi Yoshibei - was completely unknown to him. It is also marked 'Uchida', the name of a one-time major publishing house down in Kyoto, so we suspect that this would have been a baren that they ordered for their in-house printers.

And it does seem to be a bit of a 'Kyoto-style' tool - it's very wide (14cm) and very light and flexible, just the type they typically use.

Fun and games!


Following comment posted by: George Jarvis on May 25, 2013 12:13 PM

How do you go about "sterilizing" these tools without weakening or damaging them further?

Following comment posted by: Dave on May 25, 2013 6:21 PM

For the brush, I'll simply soak it in a formaldehyde solution for a while. I don't normally let the wood part of my brushes get wet, but we have to get these 'roots' clean, so there is no alternative this time.

I don't want to soak the baren coils, so will simply brush them as clean as possible, spray them with alcohol, then hang them up in strong sunlight for a while, repeating a few times.

They won't get to a 'hospital' level of sterilization of course, but it should be enough to use them safely, I think.

Following comment posted by: Julio Rodriguez on May 29, 2013 5:50 AM

Nice find Dave, was this on a Japanese auction site or on ebay?

Following comment posted by: Dave on May 29, 2013 6:34 AM

It was on Yahoo Auctions; I don't have anything to do with eBay these days ... haven't been back there for years. (My impression about eBay - maybe outdated - is of 'not enough good stuff - too many hunters'.)

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