Hakone Yoseki Karakuri-Box

For many years, the town of Hakone (in Kanagawa prefecture) was a relay station on the main road to Edo (currently Tokyo) , and Hakone-yoseki-zaiku was developed as souvenirs for travellers. The geometric design is made by binding together various shades of wood.

In Hakone yoseki-zaiku, trees of different shades are glued together, and the patterns are enlarged one after another, from the basic material for the pattern, to the pattern components, to the unit pattern material, to the tissue pattern.

The resulting seed boards are then shaved thinly with a large plane with all the strength in the world. Making marquetry is a manual work that requires precision and daring.

Process 1: Drying
The parquet materials are dried in the shade to dry well.

Process 2: Lumber selection
After deciding on the pattern of the marquetry to be made, the appropriate materials are selected and assembled.

Types of patterns
Typical patterns include checkerboard, hemp leaves, blue waves, saya-gata, nikuzushi, mimasu, yakko, and arrow feathers. In recent years, creative patterns have been developed.

Colors and materials
White type: Aohada, Mochinoki, Shinanoki, Sen, Mizuki
Grayish hohonoki, sansho bara, aohada no shimi
Light yellow: nigaki, mayumi
Yellow - Urushi, mulberry, nigaki, hazelnut, Japanese pampas grass
Red - Paduk Lenggas (foreign material)
Green - Japanese hornbeam
Brown - akagusu, ichii, enju, wigu, walnut, kusunoki, kuwa, kemponashi, zelkova, cherry, shinanoki, chanchin, mokoku, tabunoki, nato
Brownish wig Jindai, Keyaki Jindai, Sakura Jindai, Woolnut, Mansonia
Black type Wig, Kuri, Kokutan, Mansonia

Process 3: Wood cutting
Multiple pieces of colored wood to be used for the marquetry pattern are hand planed to the required thickness. Apply glue to the surface of the wood and glue them together, then tighten them with a fastening stand. This is the basic material for the pattern.

Process 4: Planing
The edge of the base material is cut to a 45-degree angle, placed in a mold, and cut with a hand saw. In order to make the angle more accurate, the wood is placed in a cutting mold and planed to make the "pattern material".

Process 5: Yoseki
Pieces of the same shape are put together, glued together, and tightened with cotton string to make the "unit pattern material. The precision of this unit material is the key to the overall finish of the marquetry work.

Process 6: Thickness matching
Two or four pieces of unit pattern material are combined and glued together to enlarge the pattern. It is also tightened with string and cut into blocks with a hand saw to a certain thickness either horizontally or vertically. Multiple blocks are combined to form a continuous pattern, which is called a "tissue pattern" and becomes a "yosegi seed board.

Process 7: Wood cutting process
The marquetry seed boards are carefully cut into thin sheets one by one using a special plane. The shaved pieces are called zuku.

Process 8: Processing of sapwood
The shaved wood is usually bent, so it is ironed flat. In some cases, it is lined with Japanese paper.

Process 9: Attaching the sutra wood
The Zuku is then attached to a small box to make a marquetry product. There are also marquetry muku products that use thick marquetry seed boards as they are.


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