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 I had the chance to learn kintsugi urushi in Japan.

Through my posts, let me help you discover and appreciate this ancestral Japanese art as an art on its own.


Tokusa! A Delicate Alternative to Sandpaper in Kintsugi

In the art of kintsugi, sanding and polishing require a delicate touch and infinite patience. Unfortunately, some practitioners may lack this precision, sometimes leading to irreparable accidents when sanding urushi lacquer, filling or polishing metal powders.

tokusa garden

In old Japanese works dedicated to kintsugi, an alternative to sandpaper and charcoal is described: the Tokusa , a stick apparently capable of accomplishing the same tasks without the associated risks.

Tokusa, also known as Japanese horsetail or field horsetail, is a plant often depicted on Japanese tableware, symbolizing growth and prosperity.

Why choose Tokusa in kintsugi?

Japanese horsetail
Tokusa stick

Well, its mineral structure resembles that of sandpaper, being mainly made up of silica at over 70%, making it ideal for kintsugi.

However, it does not have the risk of damaging delicate enamel. This is what makes this plant so fascinating.

In what situations can Tokusa be used in kintsugi?

Tokusa 20 - 30 minutes in the water
Tokusa in water

First, the horsetail is prepared by soaking it in water for 20 to 30 minutes to soften it (some prefer to use it directly from the dry branch). Then it is used to sand down the kuro roiro lacquer in the intermediate step or remove excess ki urushi lacquer, where the use of sandpaper could damage the ceramic surface.

Once the material is completely dry and solid, when sanding for the sabi phase, Tokusa sticks allow precise adjustment of the filler while preserving the integrity of enamel and other fragile materials.

They are also used to polish gold powder, adding a final touch of perfection to the art of kintsugi.



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