How to mend breaks: sabi urushi (part 2 of 3)

How to mend breaks

Part 1: Mugi urushi

Part 2: Sabi urushi

Part 3: Coming soon

Once mugi urushi has been used to  ‘’glue’’ broken fragments together, part 2 of the repair process is making and applying sabi urushi. 



Sabi urushi is used to fill the nooks, crannies, and crevasses that inevitably still exist after the mugi urushi step. 

Step 1

Make sabi urushi. 

Step 2

Use a bamboo spatula to apply sabi urushi over the fracture. 

Tip: Transfer the sabi urushi on the piece. Gently wipe excess sabi urushi off of the bamboo with a tissue. This allows for greater agility and control when spreading the sabi urushi. 

Tip: Pack in the sabi urushi to remove any air pockets.

Tip: Apply a slightly thicker layer of sabi urushi than you might need as sabi urushi slightly shrinks upon curing, and to allow enough leeway to sand down.

Tip:  Ensure the surface of the sabi urushi is as smooth and even as possible for more effective sanding after the sabi urushi has cured. 


Step 3

 Place the piece into muro to cure for one week. 

Step 4

Gently sand the sabi urushi with 400 or 600 grade sandpaper that has been soaked in water.

Tip: Use lots of water - it is a wet sand. Be sure to wipe the surface with tissue often to check your work. 

Tip: Rather than using arm strength, rely on the water and the texture of the sandpaper to do the work. Oversanding can cause unnecessary indentations and scars.

Tip: Tear or fold the sandpaper into a size and shape that will fit over the sabi urushi, and avoid scaring the original material of your piece.

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