Choosing the Kintsugi Kit that Suits Your Needs

Choosing the Kintsugi Kit that Suits Your Needs

Many of the tools and materials required for kintsugi are specialized, and it is difficult to prepare them from scratch.

Therefore, many "kintsugi kits," which provide a complete set of necessary tools and materials, are sold these days.

In fact, there are so many that it is hard to know which to choose.


Difference between expensive and inexpensive kits

If you look up "kintsugi kit" on Amazon, you will find a variety of kintsugi kits ranging from a few $10 dollars to over $100.

What makes such a difference in price?

For the sake of clarity, we will now divide the explanation into two major categories: "expensive kits" costing around $100 and "inexpensive kits" costing around $50.


Different kintsugi methods

The major difference that separates the two is the kintsugi method.

Kintsugi is originally an ancient Japanese technique of restoration using urushi and pure gold powder.

If we were to call this "traditional kintsugi," then most "expensive kits" would be kits for restoration using this "traditional kintsugi" method.

On the other hand, most "inexpensive kits" are simplified versions of the "traditional kintsugi" method and are often referred to as "simple kintsugi."


Different methods use different materials

The reason why prices differ so much between these methods is because the materials used are different.

In "traditional kintsugi," restoration is done using pure gold powder and natural urushi. Since both materials are expensive, the price of the kit goes up by that much.

In "simple kintsugi," on the other hand, natural urushi is replaced by an adhesive such as epoxy resin or synthetic lacquer, and pure gold powder is replaced by inexpensive materials such as brass or mica powder, which are more affordable. 

In the following sections, we will explain in detail which kit to choose based on the differences in methods and materials.


Advantages of Traditional Kintsugi

It combines robustness and beauty

 One of the advantages of traditional kintsugi is the beauty of its finish and robustness.

The traditional kintsugi technique is inherited from the urushi crafting technique, which has a history of more than 1,000 years. By using techniques and materials that have been refined over a long history, it is possible to make robust yet extremely beautiful repairs.

For those who want to experience history and tradition, we recommend the traditional kintsugi kit.


After repairs, they can still be used as tableware

 Many adhesives cannot be used for tableware from safety standpoints, but natural urushi is a material originally used for adhesion bowls and other items, and can be used for repairing tableware, including adhesion, without problems. 

Since materials other than urushi are also made of natural materials that do not affect the human body, everyday dishes can be used as tableware again after repair.


Disadvantages of Traditional Kintsugi

time consuming

One of the disadvantages of repairs using natural uruushi is that they are time consuming.

The flip side of the advantage is that it requires many steps to be completed beautifully, and each step requires several days of waiting, so it can take as long as a month at the earliest to complete the process.

For example, commercially available glue will harden in a few minutes at the earliest, but the glue called "Mugi-urushi" used in a traditional kintsugi technic takes about one week to harden.


Potential for Skin Irritation

This is another disadvantage of the characteristics of urushi, depending on one's constitution, one may develop a rash.

Those who have naturally weak skin or allergic reactions to mangoes, cashews, pistachios, and other fruits of the urushi family should be especially careful, as they can easily get rashes even from urushi.

Some people may have inflammation like blisters all over their body that lasts for a month or more, so be aware of this risk in advance.


Advantages of Simplified Kintsugi

Quick Repair Time

 One of the major attractions of simple kintsugi is that repairs can be completed in a short time because there are fewer steps and less waiting time.

Although it depends on the method and materials, some methods can be completed in one day if they are done quickly.


Affordable price

Since the repair is done without using natural urushi or gold powder as in traditional kintsugi, but instead replacing them with commercially available adhesives, mica powder, and other inexpensive materials, simple kinstugi kits are available at very reasonable prices. 

Disadvantages of simple kintsugi

Tableware Suitability Concerns

Most commercially available adhesives are not suitable for use on tableware.

Even if you use an adhesive that conforms to the Food Sanitation Law, many of them lack strength and heat resistance.

There are other concerns, such as environmental hormones, to discuss in detail, but they are too detailed to discuss here.


Aesthetic Limitations

Since simple kintsugi is a simplified version of the traditional method, the final finish tends to be rougher in appearance.

While you may not notice this much when looking at a photo on your phone screen, the difference will be quite apparent when you see the repaired item up close in person.


Distinguishing Kintsugi Kit Types

When searching for "kintsugi kits" on Amazon, there are many options available.

But how can you tell which ones are true kintsugi kits?


price range

 Generally, the price is a good indicator.

Kits priced around $50 or less are typically "simple kintsugi" kits.

This is because real gold powder costs at least $50 for just 0.3g.


Identifying Autual Urushi(漆) Content

However, some simple kits can cost close to $100 as well.

So another factor to check is whether the kit contains natural urushi.

Traditional kintsugi kits use natural urushir as the glue, rather than epoxy or other synthetic glues. So if a kit does not specifically mention "natural urushi", it's likely a simplified version.

It's important to note that there are some adhesives on the market labeled as "urushi" that are not actual urushi, but rather regular adhesives just using that name.

The key is to look for kits that use "urushi" written in hiragana, 漆, which indicates authentic urushi.


Which are you recommend for me?

Ultimately, we suggest choosing the kintsugi kit that best suits your needs based on the advantages and disadvantages we've discussed.

As a practitioner of traditional kintsugi, I would love to recommend the authentic method. However, it is quite expensive and time-consuming.

From that perspective, a simple kintsugi kit may be a good option for those who want to try it out without a major investment.

Another key consideration is whether the repaired item can be safely used as tableware afterwards.
If food safety is a priority, the traditional kintsugi kit is the better choice. But if that's not a major concern, the simpler kit could be a more affordable alternative. And if you're particularly interested in experiencing traditional kintsugi, I'd encourage you to consider our kits. While there are many options on the market, we're quite selective about the materials and procedures used in our traditional kintsugi kits.

Traditional kintsugi is not easy, so we offer a Standard kit with all the necessary supplies, as well as a more basic kit for those on a tighter budget, as the materials can be quite costly.
Please feel free to comment if you have any other questions - we'd be happy to provide more guidance.

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