There’s been quite a bit of interest in the Kami cups and mugs lately, so I thought I’d do a little virtual tour of the Takahashi workshop we visited back in early March.
Right upon arriving in Asahikawa, Naoto greeted us at the train station and took us straight to our first workshop. There were a lot of turns on snowy streets, but we finally arrived at a small two-story house at the end of a cul-de-sac. At least, it looked like a house.
Once through the sliding door and inside, we were greeted by Hidetoshi Takahashi who owns and runs the workshop. Even though there was a bit of a language barrier, we were able to get a decent tour, especially with so much to see!
The Takahashi workshop manages the entire process of making their wood products, from sourcing the lumber to shipping out to retailers. So Takahashi-san gladly showed us the stacks of lumber they store, waiting to be brought in for their turn to be dried and turned. This lumber is brought in from all over Hokkaido, and may be left outdoors to dry for anywhere between 6 and 12 months, depending on the season/humidity.
The next step is for the wood to finish drying, which they do in-house. Up in the rafters. The air is kept warm and dry during the winter with the help of this little stove, which they fuel with all the sawdust they produce.
When the wood is ready, they cut them down to manageable blocks, turn them into cylinders, dry them out further, and then hollow out the interior. Here, Takahashi-san gives the cup its slightly tapered shape with a turn on the lathe with some carving and sanding.
Jigs, tools, calipers and lots of sawdust.
The carved mug, waiting to be sanded further and for the handle to be attached.
Attaching the handles.
Upstairs, Kami tall cups are being given a coat of polyurethane. The coating helps keep the cups from staining, and makes rinsing them much easier.
And then they are set out neatly to dry and to be boxed up.
From this … to this, in approximately four weeks. Quite amazing.