July 31, 2008: This 1.8 unstamped shakuhachi had a very nice piece of bamboo and was well played.
The major issues were as follows: Missing utaguchi with “crooked” inlay slot, moderate “exterior” crack and missing rattan in the nakatsugi area of the upper, severe damage to the first 3cm of the lower bore beginning at the hozo, plus an adjacent, interior hariline crack, overall grime, scratches and other little goodies I wasn’t worried about. Once wiped clean, the rest of the bore was in excellent shape and showed quality work; tuning was excellent. Restoration included a bit of bore work, a new vegetable ivory (tagua nut) inlay, overall condition and 18 gauge sterling center rings: These were shaped around a steel mandril, then a similar-shaped piece of scrap bamboo, then lightly on the actual flute. Just prior to polishing, the abutting joint was not visible. While this was tempting, I really wanted a slight bevel where they meet, so I separated the halves a few millimeters and used a triangle file between them, to bevel both at the same time, uniformly. I drilled two, shallow, 3/64″ line-up holes at the rear, with a micro-dot of black lacquer on their interior.
This turned out to be a fantastic instrument. While I did do a lot of work on this one, including a healthy amount of bore repair/tuning, much of the original heart remains (as well as all of the initial harvesting, exterior labor, etc.). Consequently, my hanko went on just the lower rear portion of the bottom half, instead of adjacent to the thumb hole.