Compare this photo with that of 22nd November:
The rod is really picking up a rich, deep colour from the red-brown lacquer; this is its second layer and with another sanding down, another layer of lacquer and a finishing polish, the rod will be ready. This is a haze goby rod so the line passes through the centre of the bamboo, so no guides or reel seat is required.
I have also given up using cheap hobby brushes for the lacquering as they seem to accumulate dust very quickly and lose their shape; I couldn’t get a nice black lacquer on my wakasagi rods. So I finally decided to use the proper traditional brushes for lacquer, called hake, which are made from human hair. Although slightly gruesome, they are much better at applying a very thin and even layer of lacquer, and with my first attempt the black lacquer came out beautifully, even and very shiny and rich:
It takes a little more work to maintain a hake – for one, they are cleaned in vegetable oil rather than turpentine – and they are quite expensive (I bought a beginner’s model that cost 3,000 yen). However, they can last for years when used properly: you pare off the end with a knife as the hairs wear out or lose their shape, and the hair runs the entire length of the wood inside.