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Scratches and cracks of lacquerware can be repaired


The lacquerware used in everyday life is vulnerable to scratches or cracks with use. Also, in cases where decorations are added such as powdered gold, these areas can cause friction. Because the lacquer color mutates, it can get discolored after many years of use.


In these cases, you should not give up the piece as lacquer can be repaired. The more endearing the item is for you, the bigger the shock, but lacquerware can be restored to its original condition.



Repairable to one that is as good as new
Lacquerware is made with multiple layers of coated lacquer. Because of this, even if there was a scratch, you could hide the scratch by coating lacquer over the area. Then, all there is left to do is to finish it with colored lacquer, and your item will be transformed into one that is as good as new.


However, as mentioned earlier, the color of lacquer does change over time. Therefore, it is difficult to bring it back to the exact same color as when you purchased the item. Even so, you can restore it to almost the same color.


Even if lacquerware gets cracked, it can be repaired because lacquer has a bonding ability. In Japan, the repair work using lacquer to bond broken ceramics has been performed for quite some time. Similarly, you can bond the broken lacquerware by using lacquer. Then, add layers of lacquer so that the repaired areas will not be visible.


The sooner the repair is done, the better. As the scratch gets deeper or the decorations is marred significantly, it becomes more difficult to restore the item to its original condition. Please note that it will take more days to repair and the expense will increase as the restoration work becomes more complex.


Sometimes, the repair work is done for one section of an item, and other times, the entire item is repaired. If it is just one section, the cost is relatively inexpensive and the days required for the repair is usually short, but even so, it will still take about one to two months.


The use of lacquerware over time
Lacquerware is resistant to hot water, acid, and alkali. It remains unperturbed even against aqua regia, which can dissolve gold.


However, lacquerware is vulnerable to dryness. Therefore, it is not recommended to leave it in a refrigerator for many hours. Also, it is not desirable to dry it in a dish washer. Furthermore, lacquerware is susceptible to ultraviolet light, thus it is wise to avoid direct sunlight.


As seen above, although there are a few words of caution, lacquerware is very durable. Additionally, because it can be repaired for scratches, you can use it on a regular basis without any problems. With repair work, you can use the same lacquerware for hundreds of years.


However, note that there are some cases that cannot be repaired. For example, in cases where lacquer was not used for the piece’s shitaji undercoats (the base of the lacquer layers), restoration may not be possible. This is because, even if the repair work is done, the outer area of the repaired section would start peeling off and quickly get damaged. On the other hand, if lacquer was used for its shitaji undercoats, restoration can be done.


You can determine whether or not lacquer was used for the shitaji undercoats by checking the actual item. Thus, when you request repair work, the store clerk will probably ask you, “May I see the actual item?”


The shitaji undercoats are the invisible sections. Therefore, there are many products that are sold as affordable lacquerware, which do not use lacquer for the undercoats. However, if you plan to use a piece of lacquerware for many years to come, please try focusing on the invisible part, the ingredient used for the undercoats.

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