Visiting Kakimoto Iron Works
I have visited Kakimoto Iron Works in Nara prefecture.
They are located Misato-city in Nara, near the Tatsuta Shrine and along the historical road to Horyu-ji Temple. Umekichi Kakimoto established Kakimoto Tekkojo as a blacksmith’s place of work 111 years ago in this place where beautiful agricultural fields extended. And they forced to change their business to metalworking, not just “blacksmith” due to the change in the structure of industry after the war. They also changed company’s name to “Kabushikikaisha Kakimoto” in 1989 and they further expanding with large machines. “Kakimoto Iron Works” is one of their original brand which making simple and modern iron products. They make LOCCA’s chopstick rest and cutlery rest as well. Mr. Masayuki Kakimoto who is a direct descendant of Umekichi Kakimoto and he gave me a tour of the iron foundry for me on that day. Kabushikikaisha Kakimoto, a parent company, working 80% in industrial field and 20% in craft product field.
They showed me the final process of cutlery rest at their iron foundry.He is showing the finishing with rice bran wax by hand as below photo.Before wax coating process, firing the each surface by burner. This process is expected to give it iron blackish color and prevent to rust. Then he put it in melted rice bran wax and wipes it with dry cloth and takes a polish.
They showed me other working area in the iron foundry after that. They have various converting machinery such as laser machining and it was very interesting.
I often happen to see handcrafted iron products nowadays. Iron Artists has increasing but I think it is very rare and unique that one company doing both industrial and artistic craft works. He said that one of the brand concepts of “Kakimoto Iron Works” is to spread using iron products in daily life. And I am so happy to meet such an attractive company to collaborate with small shop like us. They have skilled workmen with full of knowledge about iron and very flexible to make small amount of original goods.
I think it’s really nice to use black color things on the table. They are very simple and modern. Also can be used semi permanently as long as it is maintained. We sometime receive the question like this, “is it getting rust?” Answer is yes, because it is iron. BUT you can maintain it and I strongly to tell you that products improve with use! Please enjoy the process of secular change. They are saying in the website, “Iron is a natural material so that it will change by air and get rusty and finally it return to nature. It shows you various faces if you take care of it by oiling and painting to avoid getting rusty or taking off it.”
Wipe gently with innocuous oil such as vegetable oil/wax and soft cloth when you find red rust. Kakimoto-san said that put in red wine or green tea after removing the rust to maintain it. But if you need help, do not hesitate to contact them or us directly.I would be very happy if you use their product everyday and it becomes valuable and special thing for you and serve to enrich your life.