How is wood in the tea room finished?

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I am looking to finish some of the wood in my tea room and was wondering what is traditionally done in Japan.  The different portions of that tea room that I am specifically interested in is the toko-bashira, toko-ita, and mizuya shelves.

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From what I remember it should be plain wood so no finishing apart from polishing.

  • acrasso
    Thank you for your reply. From what I can tell from pictures and the look of the wood, I believe especially in the Mizuya, unfinished wood is used. I’d love to know more about the philosophy behind that. But especially tokobashira, I am almost certain when there is no bark on the tree, there is a finish applied. I say this because there is a stronger color and shine to it than a normal dried tree. This might be as you said, just polished. But normally if something is polished, it is polished with something and I would consider that a finish. So I guess my question could be, how do they polish wood for tea rooms?
  • Adam
    The main philosophy is wabi (at least in wabi cha) and in this aspect it is to bring the tearoom as close to the nature as possible. For example there should not be no square corners in the chashitsu, all the pillars should be rounded so they resemble the trees. As for tokobashira, it is usually made out of cedar wood and it has some oil or resin inside and after years of polishing (like while cleaning chashitsu) it gives an effect like using something while polishing. At least that’s what I remember from lectures and talks with sensei while in Midorikai.
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