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Where can you find Japanese Urushi lacquers?

Q. I am having a devil of a time finding this Urushi lacquer in the US and the cost of buying it in Japan is terrible. More importantly, even in Japan the products that I am interested in are as scarce as buttons on a bikini.

If any of you craftspersons have a lead on this: aki roiro, ki urushi, isabaya, togidashi nashiji, suai, hon kuro and kuro roiro and especially sukinaka nuri.

I would kiss anyone's dog who can help me with this...I have become that desperate! I have only found one supplier in japan that can help me and they only have one of the above and they know nothing about their product so they are not even sure if it is what I am asking for...very problematic. What's worse is that I live in the middle of a pine forest and could make my own if I had the time!

Thanks for any help.

Tim Thompson
wood and metal jewelry finishing - Spokane, Washington, USA
March 28, 2008

March 28, 2008
"Contribution To The Knowledge Of Japanese Lac, Ki-Urushi"

on AbeBooks

or Amazon

(affil links)

A. Hi, Tim. in the middle of your pine forest, bikinis no doubt are scarce; please visit our Jersey Shore beaches: beautiful sand, beautiful water, beautiful bikinis, beautiful women in them :-)

But if that lacquer is so rare, and you have the resources to make it, surely there are many people who would buy it from you? Meanwhile, talk to lacquer specialists like G.J. Nikolas [a supporting advertiser]. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

April 1, 2008

A. Try conservation on line website ( There are some books on conservation of urushi.

Try to find if any Chinese producer exists-Chinese urushi must be much cheaper than Japanese. Try next website too:

"Urushi: The Technology of Japanese Lacquer"

on AbeBooks

or Amazon

(affil links)

Good book on urushi technology( century reprint):
Urushi: The Technology of Japanese Lacquer ⇨
Caber Press 1995.( 10 USD).

Japanese Urushi supplier :Watanabe,6-5-8 Ueno,Taito-ku,Tokyo,Japan

Try to avoid any contact with uncured urushi -- it is poisonous (tree is relative of poison oak), you must use rubber gloves [on eBay or Amazon affil links] !

Try next webpage:
All Japanese words from your letter are (probably) colour descriptions (kuro =black)-- buy clear urushi and add pigment which you want!Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh Croatia

Ed. note Feb. 2016: The link which is struck in red no longer works.

A. This site has what you are looking for in a tube:

James London
- San Mateo, Calif
June 17, 2008

Q. I am trying to locate someone that knows where to purchase Urushi lacquer furniture in the US. I have a bedroom suite that needs to be replaced with new pieces. Does anybody know someone that repairs or sells this type of furniture. Thanks.

Debbie Morales
- Charlotte, North Carolina
November 7, 2008

A. Hello,

Please try eBay for Urushi Japanese lacquer.

To make yourself you need the proper trees.

D Mao
- Seattle, Washington, USA
December 22, 2008

A. If you want to be adventurous you could tap poison sumac trees (usually found in low-lying swampy areas); it's a cousin to lacquer trees.

John pendergast
- wahsington Pennsylvania
February 2, 2016

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