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The Making of Magemono

Round Containers

japan artisan woodwork

Trim & Plane

Dried cedar wood would be planed and trimmed to smooth finish and precise dimensions.  

Bento Boxes

japan wood shop artisan

Cutting

Quality cedar will have to be dried for a year before they can be used for Magemono.

Cedar panels are planed and trimmed to size by the artisan.  In the old days, they are done by Japanese hand plane (called Kanna) and are extremely precise. 

The Finishing Touches

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Cherry Bark Stitching

Both bento boxes and round boxes are finished with the iconic cherry bark stitching. 

Artisan has to trim bark sheet and retain the usable area with least holes and blemishes to create ribbon strips.  Each strip has to be scraped by the scissors and then stitched into the wood panel.  

 

They enhances the durability at the joint and are also creating simplistic pattern on the surface.  

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Care for Magemono Bento Boxes

Before first use, pour 80˚Chot water in to the container for 2-3 minutes.  Repeat a few times to remove the scent of natural cedar. 

Watermark may become visible if not dried thoroughly.  Surface naturally darkens over time (especially in corners).  This is normal and will not affect the property of the magemono.  After air-drying, the magemono is ready for use.  

After each use, rinse with warm water and allow it to air-dry thoroughly. 

To remove odor or stain, wash with small amount of mild detergent using only soft sponge.  Allow to dry in well-ventilated place. 

Do not put in dishwashing machine. 

Do not use bleach or chemicals.

Do not put under direct sun for drying.

Do not soak in water for a long time.  

Wood is an organic material that breaths and changes overtime.  Be gentle, take good care of it and it will last you a long long time. 

 
bentwood magemono wood sake cups

Water-proofing?

Only certain magemono products are coated with clear matte acrylic lacquer to enhance waterproofing, such as sake cups or vases.   Bento boxes, rice buckets, food trays are intentionally left as natural finish wood for its "breathable" properties when used as food containers.  Natural cedar wood is a porous material that absorbs and retains the right amount of moisture to keep food (especially rice) from becoming either too soggy or too dry.  (E.g. try heat up a piece of fresh bread on non-porous ceramics and the side touching the surface would become soggy with steam.)