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Brush rack finished!

Posted by Dave Bull at 8:09 PM, November 6, 2013 [Permalink]

A week or so ago, I posted with photos of some construction we had been doing recently, and the project in question is now in use.

Here's our handyman Tashiro-san (and his wife, who hangs around making sure he doesn't get in trouble), finishing up the sanding and final fitting of the shelf unit he built for us.

Around a week ago, the printer ladies went through our brush inventory and sorted them all into groups based on colour and size. Based on their organization, Tashiro-san then carefully adjusted his shelves so that each brush slides smoothly into its appointed slot:

The brushes mostly fall into three standard sizes, but they vary a little bit from one to another, and it took him a bit of time to fit each one properly.

Once this was done, he installed the unit into the place he had previously prepared in our entranceway. Here is what it looks like when approaching the house:

... and coming in the front door:

Here's the view from the other side - the way that the staff will approach it when selecting a brush. It's arranged with the colours in horizontal rows - the top four rows are for red/yellow/blue/green. The next row is black/grey, and the final two rows are miscellaneous. The left/right arrangement puts the brushes into three groups based on their (standardized) widths - S/M/L ...

At present, we have just used small paper labels to number each one - so that everybody will know where it 'lives - but we plan to number them with a more permanent system once we've had a chance to see how this is working in practice.

Having this proper home for the brushes is already improving our workflow, and hopefully it will be healthy for the brushes too - keeping them in a steady airflow and not letting them get damp or mouldy.

The next construction project for Tashiro-san is to make a pile of storage cases for the Chibi Heroes series, and he (and a friend of his) are already well along with that job. We'll be showing some results (and opening an order form) soon!


Following comment posted by: Albert A on November 7, 2013 12:01 AM

It's not inconvenient to have to go all the way upstairs from the workshop for a new brush? Or do you grab a whole set at once based on what you're printing that day?

Following comment posted by: Julio on November 7, 2013 2:33 AM

The case for the brushes looks very nice, great idea!
I am assuming the brushes belong to the studio and not to any one particular printer ? Also with the changes in humidity and such will the structure hold or could the opening sizes expand and contract ?

Following comment posted by: Dave on November 7, 2013 6:55 AM

inconvenient ...

It is indeed inconvenient having our tools stored such a long distance from the riverside workroom, but we have no choice. For around four months of the year we are engaged in total war with our arch-enemy 'kabi'. Mold.

A damp brush left on a printing bench overnight in August will have fuzz growing on it by morning. 'Dry' tools fare better, but anything that comes in contact with water - these brushes, our mizubake, of course the printing paper itself - has to come upstairs into a drier part of the building every day. The printing paper goes into the freezer every night. (It's my job to take each person's pack out of the freezer at breakfast time, ready for them when they arrive ...)

And remember, we have no running water down there (other than the river, hah!), so the brushes have to come upstairs for washing at the end of a day's work anyway. After washing, they hang loosely on the laundry hangers until they are dry, and then get parked in their storage spot.

People pick out the ones they want for the day before heading downstairs. Although it is common to have to come back upstairs to grab another one. Good exercise!

belong to the studio

Yes, we have a common pool. In the old old days, when a young boy joined a workshop, he was lent a basic set of brushes to use, and was expected to purchase/prepare his own set as soon as he was able.

But none of the ladies here are 'shokunin' in training; they are not looking for a lifelong career here, and it makes no sense to make them spend thousands of dollars on their own tool set. Our barens and brushes are all communal.

expand and contract

Yeah, probably. We'll see how it goes, and adjust as necessary ... It's a step up from keeping them all jumbled in cardboard boxes ...

Following comment posted by: annie b on November 8, 2013 10:34 PM

That rack is attractive as well as useful. I'm a little jealous, even though I don't have nearly as many brushes. What a joy to see your studio grow like this, Dave. I remember when you "sketched out" an idea for growth in one of your newsletters a few years ago, and it looked a lot like this!

Following comment posted by: Dave on November 8, 2013 10:45 PM

"sketched out" an idea for growth

You mean the 'Mokuhankan at 201X' story? Well, we're still a very long way from that, but yes, step by step getting closer all the time!

Following comment posted by: annie b on November 11, 2013 2:06 AM

That's the one! Much more than just a sketch, wasn't it? I'm impressed with how it's all coming along for you. Well-earned success, Dave. Congratulations.

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