How often have you seen a special bonsai pot, suiseki or stand stored in or displayed on top of a nice Kiri wood box? Kiri wood in the United States is called Paulownia and frankly is quite hard to find for sale. Paulownia is known in Japanese as kiri (桐), specifically referring to P. tomentosa; it is also known as the “princess tree”. Paulownia wood is very light, fine-grained, soft, and warp-resistant and is used for chests, and boxes. The fine grained soft and warp resistant properties also make Paulownia wood exceptionally good for making small to large boxes to protect things of value – such as suiseki, pots, stands, and small copper or bronze objects.
The above photograph represents a beautifully aged Kiri wood box that stores our wave stone purchased in Japan in 2010. The patina gives the reader a rough idea of age as I would guess this to be 20-30 years old. It is well made and carries an identification mark on the front of the box to help identify it’s contents. I must say how necessary this becomes when you have several dozen, or more, of them you begin to forget exactly what is in each box.
Unfortunately not every thing we treasure comes stored in such a container. I have experimented with making these boxes including creating a few by hand with only a small Japanese saw – that was a mistake as attempting to get everything straight and tight proved to be very difficult at least for my wood building skills.
Finally this summer we decided to purchase a good compound miter saw for other projects around the house and I thought perhaps I could make a few boxes for stones and pots. To be direct, I believe making them would be a lot easier with a precision table saw and a good router. But since I don’t own them, or frankly have the room, I decided to just use the miter saw and see how that would work.
Here is one of the first examples:
This box is about 12-inches wide and 3-inches tall.
We purchased this stand at Kokufu this year after looking at this stand for several days and debating to purchase it or not. The debate centered around the cost of the stand. 🙂
The workmanship on this stand is spectacular. All the joints are tight and highly detailed.
I think it is easy to understand why we wanted to store and transport this stand in a Kiri wood box. Frankly we were disappointed that it didn’t come with one to begin with but as often is the case they simply don’t have one.
We also collect suibans and dobans. As you know often these are quite large and heavy but we found three of them that are quite small. We wanted to store them together so they didn’t become separated so I built a Kiri wood box for them this summer
We believe these dobans were made of copper. The quality is good but I believe all of them are machined with the exception of one of them. The age is likely fairly new except the very small one which appears to have some age.
The last example for today is a box I made to store an old Tokufuji bonsai pot.
We have posted about this pot before so if you are interested just search the blog on Tokufuji. After bringing this pot back from the Kokufu show in 2008 and having it sit on a self, we thought it better to make a box to store this pot to keep it safe. We do show it in our home on an occasion and frankly it looks as good on the Kiri wood box as it does a small stand.
In another post, if there is sufficient interest, we will show you how to build these boxes and a good way to label them if you are concerned about marking the front with ink with the content name.
We hope you enjoyed the post today and would love to see photos of any collectible you have in an old or new Kiri wood box.