Making tops: Now

What does making wooden tops look like? How do they use the lathe to make this kind of art? Below we feature three videos of Hiroi-sensei and his apprentice, Maeda, at work, along with photographs of the present-day Hiroi workshop where Hiroi and Maeda have worked on the lathe throughout the years. The tops are made by placing a block of wood on the lathe and spinning it rapidly while cutting into the wood with metal tools. Paint is applied to the finished top while it spins on the lathe. Maeda has been Hiroi-sensei’s apprentice for over ten years and will inherit Hiroi-sensei’s shop.

You can listen to and read an interview with Hiroi on his own early apprenticeship here.

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