Traditional Kintsugi on a friend’s coffee cup

Luck is to have friends who provide you with hobby materials. I received an Iittala Ego coffe cup that was accidentally broken. I promised to give a try to see how the traditional kintsugi approach would work and here is the process and results.

The method for fixing the cup is the same as previously. The images may speak more than words.

The traditional kintsugi process in images

Traditional kintsugi
Step 1: Initial adhesion of the lacquer and dough
Traditional kintsugi
Step 2: Beginning to clean the seam after the initial adhesion
Traditional kintsugi
Step 3: The cleaned seam
Traditional kintsugi
Step 4: After a through sanding, a top red lacquer is applied
Traditional kintsugi
Step 4: Picture of the top lacquer
Traditional kintsugi
Step 5: Preparing to apply the metal powder
Step 5: After application of the metal powder
Traditional kintsugi
Step 6: Finished product

Thoughts about the process

I was initially afraid that due to the shape of the cup, the rubber bands would not be able to hold. But it did. I allowed the seam to cure and the end result after I cleaned the excess material proved to be quite nice.

I had some issues with the metal sticking to the top lacquer. After the excess powder was wiped away, I noticed that even a tissue could remove the metal from the seam. I think I did the metal application three times before I succeeded. I asked for some advice from Dave, and he gave a swift response:

Hello Heikki,

The lacquer, if not cured too much before applying the brass powder, should absorb the metal and be practically impossible to wipe off.  The lacquer itself can come off of the surface if the surface is glass but I think what you are saying is the brass comes off the lacquer.

One thing I can think of is maybe you are letting the lacquer dry too long before applying the powder.  After you apply the lacquer how long are you waiting before applying the metal?

A different reason could be you may be thinning the lacquer.   Are you?

I wasn’t thinning the lacquer so I tried to be quicker in applying the metal. After trying, I finally managed to get the end result I wanted.

I really enjoyed this piece, the single metallic seam is very beautiful in my opinion and I managed to make it quite thin. Apparently the traditional Japanese appreciation for Kintsugi, is that the thinner the better.

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