The traditional lacquer process as practiced in Vietnam is quite complicated and can take up to 115 days to finish one piece. Even a simple bowl takes a minimum of 75 days. Your lacquer product has been through twenty stages in the lacquering process before packing!
1. The raw timber product is examined and any cracks and indentations are sealed with natural lacquer from the native lacquer tree in Phu Tho Province - Vietnam.
2. After checking that the natural lacquer has not affected the intended shape, the product is covered with fine cotton gauze to ensure there will be no cracking at a later stage.3. The natural lacquer is then mixed with finely ground mountain rock, sawdust, and alluvial soil. Using a type of spatula, the product is covered with a thick coating.4. When the coating has dried the product is placed under water and is polished using a sharpening stone.5. Using a brush made from natural fibres, a mixture of alluvial soil and natural lacquer is painted onto the product.6. Step 4 is repeated.7. Step 5 is repeated.8. Step 4 is repeated.9. The product is covered with pure natural lacquer.
10. This is the only stage that involves the use of machinery and even this is only to beat the natural lacquer to form a glutinous mixture. The natural lacquer is beaten for 24 hours. The product is then coated thickly.11. Once again the product is polished under water with a sharpening stone12. Step 10 is repeated.13. Step 11 is repeated.14. The base design is stenciled and the details are painted by hand. This is why every lacquer product is an original piece. No two pieces are quite alike.15. The surface without design are painted with lacquer and the areas with design are painted with a special clear lacquer.
16. The whole product is given a second coat of clear lacquer.17. A third coat of clear lacquer is applied.18. The product is polished with wax.19. Hinges and locks are fitted.
20. The logo is silk screened onto the base of the product Your lacquer product has thirteen layers, please handle it with care, do not soak, but wipe with a damp cloth after use. It can not withstand high temperatures for serving food and hot dishes can not be placed directly onto it. If you are storing your lacquer product in an air-conditioned environment, store it flat with a weight on top for a couple of weeks. The thirteen layers make it very durable and you will have years of use if you look after it correctly. Most of all enjoy your lacquer product and remember that it has been totally made by hand in Vietnam. There is no other piece exactly the same as yours.