the wrapped joints on my bamboo shirogisu (whiting) rod.
The first ground layer on the wrapped silk thread. The lacquer is thinned slightly so it is taken up by the silk and the bamboo underneath, to form a solid bond between the two.
The second layer is ‘raw’ or crude urushi lacquer; I use a Japanese lacquer that comes as raw as you can get, tapped straight from Lac trees, unfiltered and globular and reeking. It wants a little treatment before it can be used for lacquering fishing rods, and takes twice as long as other lacquer varieties to harden; it is also the stuff I treat with the greatest respect and/or fear, as it contains the highest amount of super-allergenic urushiol and I do not want a repeat of my experience last year. By virtue of its high concentration it also polymerises into the hardest and toughest coating, and for this reason, rather than aesthetic, it is used at this stage.
The next step is to lacquer the joints with a black, processed lacquer. The surface is then sanded down to as flat a surface as possible. In this photo you can still see the vestiges of the silk thread after the first sanding:
After sanding the same lacquer is applied and left to harden, after which it is sanded down again. This process is repeated until the threads of the silk wrapping become indistinct and the joints take on a nice, even, glossy sheen. For me this takes about four coats of lacquer:
The next step is to fine-adjust the fit of the tip and I am ready to start lacquering the main ‘body’ of the rod.