Sure, real kaya is superior, but is new kaya ok?, what is the look
quality and feel of new kaya?
> Can anybody tell me the difference between kaya and new kaya (shin
> kaya) boards?
*Kaya* is the original *kaya* (as in: from trees grown in Japan),
whereas *shin kaya* is imported Alaskan or Scandinavian spruce, which is
said by some people to have properties that are very similar to *kaya*.
Other people disagree.
Since there are now very few *kaya* trees suitable for making go-boards,
those boards are far more expensive than *shin kaya* ones.
Louise Bremner (log at gol dot com)
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j> Can anybody tell me the difference between kaya and new kaya
j> (shin kaya) boards?
j> Sure, real kaya is superior, but is new kaya ok?, what is the
j> look quality and feel of new kaya?
Shin Kaya is, IIRC, usually spruce. Having not seen go boards made of
either in person, I can't tell you more than that. :)
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"Shin kaya", though literally "new kaya", might be more accurately
translated as "fake kaya". It is a kind of spruce which somewhat
resembles kaya in appearance, but not at all in the feel or sound of
playing stones on it. Real Japanese kaya boards are VERY expensive
(thousands of US$). They also require regular routine maintenance,
which is not easy to come by outside of Japan.
No, not oiling, something much more involved: The wood is soft, so kaya boards
_warp_. They require an _annual_ planing, to make the board flat and level
Then the lines have to be re-lacquered onto the board just as if it were
Richard L. Brown Office of Information Services
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> No, not oiling, something much more involved: The wood is soft, so kaya
> boards _warp_. They require an _annual_ planing, to make the board flat
> and level again.
Are you sure about that? They certainly do need to be replaned a year or
so after their first completion, because of that warping, but I'm not
sure it's a regular annual necessity.
> i happened to visit some years ago a bothanical museum, and
> there was a kaya tree there. it was not very thick, around
> 25 cm of diameter.
Not nearly thick enough for even the most inferior cut of go-board.
> i knocked on it and the sound was really wonderful :)
Yes, I know--people keep saying that, but I'm afraid I wouldn't be able
to recognise the sound of a good go-board if it sat up and resonated in
The rec.arts.woodworking group would be able to provide better
information, but I'd guess some of the reasons to be:
- the colour is gorgeous
- not many woods can be cut into huge thick pieces then dried without
- the sound properties of the wood
- the ease of working the wood
> (And how many annual planings can a board survive?)
Since each planing takes off a few millimetres, I'd say you wouldn't run
out of board for many decades.
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If the kaya board is made with properly aged, dry wood (maybe 10 years
or so) then warping isn't too much of a problem. However, since the
wood is soft the board becomes dented by the play of the stones.
After a while this may become excessive and the board must be planed
and the lines redrawn. Kaya is a rare wood (it's an endangered
species in the USA) so outside of Japan there aren't too many people
experienced with working with it. Also, on traditional kaya boards
the lines are real lacquer (not paint or ink so it might be hard to
find a craftsperson who could do that work. I have seen ads for
boards made from Chinese kaya. I don't know whether this is the same
species of wood, but the prices are a lot lower, though still
Louise Bremner wrote:
> Are you sure about that? They certainly do need to be replaned a year or
> so after their first completion, because of that warping, but I'm not
> sure it's a regular annual necessity.
Not entirely sure, no. "I remember reading that somewhere."
Sometimes memory plays tricks on us. <Shrug.>
>Richard Brown <rbr...@uwsa.edu> writes:
>> The wood is soft, so kaya boards _warp_. They require an _annual_
>> planing, to make the board flat and level again.
>> Then the lines have to be re-lacquered onto the board just as if it
>> were brand-new.
>Yuck. How did that wood get so popular?
It feels and sounds nice to play on. I have an oak board I made which
is so hard the stones tend to bounce when played (so far it's been
about as durable as the fuselage armor of an A-10 Warthog). Kaya does
get pockmarks, which make it look less attractive. You only really
have to get it planed if you want to keep it looking immaculate.
>(And how many annual planings
>can a board survive?)
Depends how thick it is when made, and the nature of the grain.
-- Roy L
I have a kaya board (Rich, you've seen it) that is now in its sixth
year with me. It has not warped at all. I believe if the wood is
properly aged before the board is made, warping should not be a
problem. Over time, the surface could become dented (but believe me,
kaya is not so soft as to dent easily) and then a planing and
redrawing would be needed. The only way to do that, IMHO, would be to
ship it off to a specialist in Japan.
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As a guitar player I know something about woods ( not about kaya;
that's why i started this thread ) and also know that there A LOT of
urban legends about woods. Example: someone labeled spruce as fake
kaya. OK, it is not real kaya, but let me tell u some facts: we should
call fake mahogany to the mahogany that we buy nowadays: real mahogany
is Honduras mahogany which can't be harvested now. Mahogany as most
woods belongs to a family ( all of them are mahogany, but only
Honduras has the real properties that have made it famous ). The same
applies to Rosewood: real rosewood is from Brazil, but the one u can
find is surely from India, with different properties.
As for tone...another story: Back in the 40s and 50s Ash was supposed
to have better tonal properties than Alder, so when Fender began to
make stratocasters (if u don't know what a stratocaster is, ask your
granmother or local postman or anybody to draw a electric guitar and
what u will get will be very close to a strat ) began using ash. Then,
when strats became popular, they could not find enough wood, so they
moved to Alder, which was supposed to be a lesser quality wood. The
funny thing is that the best strats were those produced between 1962-
1965 ( sort of a stradivarius ), and they weree all made with that
inferior wood. 2 years ago I got a 1965 Fender Jaguar which was
supposed to be an exquisite guitar, but which just sucked!. The
previous owner hadn't taken proper care of it and ruined the guitar.
So, the final point is:1 no matter what the quality of the wood: basic
care has to be taken. 2 wood is an organic thing which is alive, so we
cannot expect the same feel, look, quality in different pieces. As a
consecuence of this there could be real kaya board around there which
lack that magic tone or look (I'm sure about this)
The reason why I started this thread was to know if new kaya / spruce
has a grain pattern which looks good to play go or if it is resistant
to warp torsion... I plan to buy a new spruce board 2 inches thick by
100$ and would like to know if it is a good deal or not.
Over time, the surface could become dented (but believe me,
> kaya is not so soft as to dent easily) and then a planing and
> redrawing would be needed. The only way to do that, IMHO, would be to
> ship it off to a specialist in Japan.
A Japanese go board maker told me that the denting depends on two
things. First, thick stones are more likely to cause denting.
Second, of course, is the force with which the stones are played on
the board. If you have stones thicker than 9.2mm then you have to be
I have a katsura board. It warped noticably in the first year after I
received it so perhaps the wood was not properly aged, However, as the
board was shipped from Japan to UK via Amsterdam I wonder if the warping
is actually more due to the different climates in the three places than
to poor craftsmanship.
Assuming I care enough to try to have it replaned here in UK (but not
enough to have it shipped around the world another couple of times),
what would be my best bet?
Presumably it might be possible to get the dent in the corner fixed
at the same time (looks like someone dropped it in transit, and the
(substantial) packaging wasn't quite enough to protect it).
"respondeo etsi mutabor" --Rosenstock-Huessy
> Assuming I care enough to try to have it replaned here in UK (but not
> enough to have it shipped around the world another couple of times),
> what would be my best bet?
Warping could very well be due to change in climate. Old,dry wood
stabilizes in moisture content relative to the climate it is stored
in. Thus shipping a board from Japan, where the climate is moist, to
a dry climate could cause warping. As for repairing it, I imagine
there must be skilled woodworker in the UK who could plane the board.
Redrawing the lines is more difficult. There was a post by Bill
Saltman some time ago on how he has successfully drawn lines on
boards. You could search for it in Google's archive. You'll have to
tailor your search carefully, though, because he was the subject of an
immense number of messages concerning his treatment on IGS.
Actually, this shouldn't be too difficult. The IGS-related Bill
Saltman's discussion were somewhat older than his post of drawing
lines on gobans, IIRC, so if you just look for posts by him in the
last year and a half or so, you'll probably find what you're looking