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 Post subject: Refinishing go bowls
Post #1 Posted: Tue Dec 01, 2020 4:22 pm 
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Hi! I have some older go bowls that I'd like to try refinishing. I believe they're keyaki based on the grain pattern and how they change colour in the light. They have no cracks, but they have some water spots and many scratches in the finish. I'm curious if anyone has experience refinishing go bowls. In particular, I cannot seem to find any information on what types of wax are normally used. Any advice and/or gotchas to avoid would be greatly appreciated!

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 Post subject: Re: Refinishing go bowls
Post #2 Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2020 7:28 am 
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the folks here are refinishing some bowls, might have useful information for you:
https://store.baduk.club/collections/vi ... caM-uDZGv8

I have refinished two sets of go bowls, one is ash the other is unknown wood, probably inexpensive chestnut.

The spalted ash units were purchased from Ishi Press in 1980 or so. They were stained an ugly shade of brown but I could tell the naked wood would be much more attractive so I had to properly and carefully remove the stained surface material. I used a 5" flexible sanding disk adapter for my electric drill, carefully taped the bowl to the rubber disk, clamped the drill to my bench, and set it on a medium speed. Then I patiently used five or six steps of excellent sandpaper (120 grit to 800 or maybe 1200 grit). I could use the sanding disk to hold the bowl so I could sand the inside and outside but the inside of the lid was the most difficult part to sand since I did not want to remove too much material from the turned lip. Simple carnauba wax applied to the rapidly spinning bowl melted easily and soaked in. I used two or three applications. The wax has long since oxidized and I have used butcher block conditioner (just mineral oil) on the ash. You can see the oiled ash bowls here (20 various images in album) https://imgur.com/gallery/BZKAdIB

Here's a sanding disk adapter. Mine has a longer shank and is very flexible black rubber. Note that I taped the bowl to the disk, I did NOT use the disk to sand the bowl which would have been way too aggressive.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/DIABLO-5-in ... /202830915

Damaged wax or an old surface finish like lacquer might be quickly removed with spirits and soft cloths without sanding. Any fine furniture paste wax can be used but you're not likely going to find that at Home Depot. Try visiting WoodCraft if you have one in your area. Don't use anything with solvents or propellants.

You could apply a permanent finish like a polyurethane. Depends on the nature of the wood, how valuable the bowls are to you, and your predisposition towards rewaxing the bowls every few months (who's playing that much in person these days?)

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I play go, I ride a recumbent, of course I use Macintosh.

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 Post subject: Re: Refinishing go bowls
Post #3 Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2020 4:11 pm 
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Ah thanks for the info! I have some carnauba wax, maybe I'll try that and see how it goes. The bowls are not valuable to me, more of a project. The wood seems to be in good shape but the finish is currently in such rough condition that it's hard to say I could make it worse by trying. I had considered something more permanent like polyurethane but I think I might try the carnauba first, and I'll keep an eye out to see if I can find some furniture wax.

Your bowls (and set) look quite lovely by the way, beautiful pictures!

Thanks again.

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 Post subject: Re: Refinishing go bowls
Post #4 Posted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 10:31 am 
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my pleasure. Poly will be permanent and should only go over a completely sanded surface. Post some photos!

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I play go, I ride a recumbent, of course I use Macintosh.

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 Post subject: Re: Refinishing go bowls
Post #5 Posted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 1:07 pm 
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I think I saw somewhere that said that the finish on bowls from Japan is usually clear lacquer. That fits my observed damage to sides of bowls from rubbing on each other. It is a beautiful finish but doesn't seem to be very durable. Polyurethane would certainly be durable.

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 Post subject: Re: Refinishing go bowls
Post #6 Posted: Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:20 am 
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I think it depends on what kind of finish you want. I like a muted satin finish, so wax is good for that. I made my own Monkey Wax which is just beeswax and pure linseed, with turpentine which helps with some discoloration and water spots. The linseed also polymerizes as it cures inside the wood so it adds durability.

If you want a harder finish with wax, find something with carnauba in it. I prefer the softer feel of beeswax.

If you want a glossy finish then look into lacquer or shellac.

Most everything I know is condensed here:
Store.Baduk.Club/pages/care

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 Post subject: Re: Refinishing go bowls
Post #7 Posted: Sun Jan 17, 2021 3:02 pm 
Gosei

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Videos of the process of finishing a go board shows the wax as a melted liquid and applied with something like a cloth wrapped around something. The wax on a kaya go board feels hard and very smooth. It lasts a long time on the board. I have a kaya board that I bought new over fifty years ago and it still has plenty of wax. The way on the shell go stones ([i]ibotarou[i]) also lasts a long time. I think it is applied as a powder rather than as a liquid.

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