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A friend worrying about the plumbing

Everyone asks me how much it would cost total – tub and pluming/set-up work. California is huge (size of Japan), but if the plumber who did the work for your tub is in my area, I could contact them and get a rough estimate. So when someone calls me after seeing the webpage, I could tell how much it would cost for everything. I don’t think there are many people who would just buy a tub…
Thank you for your help. The main point is that a wooden tub does not need plumbing.
The best way is that the builder makes a floor waterproofing sloping towards a floor drain.
Then the ofuro is just left on the floor so that water would drain onto the floor and towards the floor drain!
About the hot water tap is also very simple: it is wall mounted as most of acrylic and hollow bathtubs: it is not attached to the tub itself so the only thing the installer has to worry about is to install the tap high enough.

Again, the tub is like a large bassinet receiving water from the wall and discharging onto the floor. It is that simple!

ofuro for italian hotel (2)

This is the second tub used in the new “fusion spa” of the  PALAZZO DI VARIGNANA RESORT & SPA near Bologna (Italy)

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It is rightfully labeled “Onsen grande” (large onsen) and rivals in size with the basins used in japanese hot springs.

Here are the specs:

material: knotless asnaro wood from aomori prefecture

size: 1800x1800x H650 mm / top frame border
option: 2 asnaro wood internal seat (fixed) W400mm
This tub can comfortably sit 4 strangers or 6 friends/family members.

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“Panorama view” of the large internal seat. The planks would be too long and unstable if they were removable so we decided to make them fixed.

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The space between the 2 benches. When used only by one or 2 guests, it is possible to sit lengthwise in the deep area.

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accessories include an Asnaro wood floor mounted spout with internal faucet

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This is the full picture of the spout with other accessories such as hinoki wood traditional stool (300x180x200H) and Sawara wood ladles with handle (te-oke).

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ofuro for italian hotel (1)

We received an order of 2 large ofuros + accessories and construction material (flooring, tatami, shoji doors) for a spa corner inside a large villa converted in Hotel near Bologna (Italy).

A friend running a spa-equipment company (YOU SPA) kindly referred us to the client.

He made the concept design for the spa area with a modern touch. I am looking forward to the pictures of the completed space!

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This is what they call “Onsen piccolo” (small … bathtub).

It is a statuary hinoki bathtub which can fit about two sumo wrestlers!

Here below are the specs:

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material: knotless hinoki from the Kiso Valley (Nagano prefecture), quarter sawn

sizes: 1800x1000x H650 mm with top frame border

option:  2 Hinoki wood internal seat (removable) W400mm

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The drain is tucked in a corner.

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The tub will be also equipped with a wall mounted hinoki spout (see photo below)

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My partner Ikeda-san is very proud of this tub and could not help posing by his new masterpiece. I said “SMILE!” but this was the maximum I could obtain from him… We have been working together 14 years now, but he is unchanged: born in the Kiso valley like all the hinoki we use, our hinoki expert Ikeda-san is made out of stainless steel!

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hisashiburi outlet tub – sold out!

sorry, sold out!
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In japan we say “o-hisashiburi” when we meet after a long time.
It has been more than a year we did not make tubs for the outlet corner so this naming seemed a nice fit…

It is a straight grain hinoki tub, please find the details here below:
L1200mm x W760mm x H725mm (external dimensions) 630mm(depth) semi-knotless (small knots on the back side) natural Hinoki wood bathtub.

1) AB grade tub (quatersawn) : 540,000. JPY
2) Packaging: 1400x960x930 plywood box: 39,000. JPY
3) transportation: to be quoted (please let us know your exact address: we will provide a quotation before you purchase the tub)
Please check the drawing here for the detailed dimensions: outlet160519

Here are 2 features:
* It is quite deep so you can have the hot water up to your shoulders
* The material we used is very aromatic so even when not in use you can enjoy the nice aroma!

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Testimonial from Israel

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Dear Iacopo,
We bought an Ofuro from you about 2 years ago and finally installed it. It is wonderful – beautifully crafted and elegant and wonderfully relaxing.
Thank you
E.N.S. from Israel

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hinoki products pamphlets are ready!

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Finally we gave birth to the first Bartok design pamphlet.
Since we sell mainly outside of japan and tru the internet, until now I always procrastinated but now I will be finally able to satisfy all the requests of friends wanting to present the Bartok design tubs and accessories to trade shows, friends and clients.
There are also several hotels catering to international clientele who asked me some presentation material in the past.

If you need some pamphlets or want to promote the Bartok design products (contact iacopo torrini for details) let us know!

the secret of lacquerware beauty #1

What is the difference between “MOKUGO” and wood ?
“MOKUGO” is a kind of synthetic wood.  It is made of flour resin, wood powder and wood.  Japanese lacquer-ware “Urushi” made of solid wood is very expensive.
In addition, a real wood base is very delicate as it is susceptible to cracks caused by abrupt change of temperature and humidity once in a while.
For this reason, we strongly recommend Japanese lacquerware made on “MOKUGO” bases to an overseas customer.

How is “Japanese lacquer” differing from “urethane coating” ?
The Japanese lacquer is made from a sap extracted from a bush called “Urushi” in japanese (the botanical name is: Toxicodendron vernicifluum). In many cases it looks like a bush, the lacquer tree (also known as the Japanese sumac or the varnish tree) can grow up to 20 meters high and is present in Japan, China and Korea.

Currently, lacquer trees are becoming more and more scarce in Japan. Besides, the craftsman with the professional ability to gather the lacquer sap is limited. This is one of the reasons which makes the Japanese lacquer “Urushi” very expensive.
On the other hand urethane is a cheap and easy to work with substitute of the lacquer. By adding a pigment (commonly red or black) in a synthetic resin, it is possible to create a surrogate of japanese lacquer.
Because it can easily mass-produced, it can be sold at a very low price.
Additionally, urethane items are easy to use and require little care.
On the other hand, genuine lacquer tree product needs careful care to keep a good condition.

Urethane coated “surrogate lacquer-ware” are very popular. Especially the miso soup bowls(cups) used in general home and restaurants are finished with urethane coating.
Urethane used to be very glossy and easy to scratch: felt like plastic in general was cheap looking.
Technological improvements are making urethane coated surrogate lacquer-ware better looking and more resilient.

Said that…as you can imagine, authentic lacquer-ware beautiful shine and refined touch are still a different planet.
Real lacquer-ware can give you strong emotions and help you sharpen your sensibility.
It is like receiving a kiss from a princess: it may take great effort to obtain one but it is definitely worth it.
Owning and taking care of a lacquerware item may be a life changing experience!

Few important notes you for you to keep in mind:
1. Do not wash lacquer items with a dish detergent. Alkaline detergents must not be used as they remove the shine and make the lacquer-ware look dull.
2. Wash it only with tepid water and wipe off moisture with a dish towel promptly. Then finish rinsing it out with dry dish towel. Finally put away it after just drying for a while away from direct sun exposure.
3. Fingerprints may leave permanent signs if the item is not properly cleaned or left unused for a long time.
When storing lacquer-ware for a long term, it is important to wear cotton gloves when you take care of it. Do not leave your finger prints. etc.

Delicate care is necessary to preserve the refined beauty of lacquer-ware, as you would do for an artwork.
What is important is what you are expecting from you relationship with lacquer-ware items.
Are you looking for daily tableware or for a work of art?
Which one do you want?  It is just up to you!

We have been caught in the NET… (Server problems)

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Dear japan lovers community:

As you might have noticed,

    our server was down on on 5/9 and 5/10 for about 20 hours.

If you contacted us by email but are not receiving an answer, please contact us again.
We have been caught in the NET…
Also, I noticed our japanese IP address has problems with some hotmail and gmail accounts.

If your messages are returned, please use the alternative address as below:
iax1213[at]gmail[dot]com

By the way, the image on the top are koi-nobori (flying carps). Did you know?
Every family displays (or used to…) this fish shaped flags in front of their house. One carp for each family member, starting from the father and mother on top and following with all the children in order of age.
The festival culminates on 5/5, a festivity dedicated to children.
The carp is a divine creature and brings good auspices to the kids as they may avoid obstacles and swim thru life in a cheerful way.
Of course the mild weather and blue skies of may are even more pleasant with these colorful ornaments which move together with the wind!

But … lets go back to work now.
For all of you who missed us (I received 3 messages on facebook) sorry again and YES, I am looking forward to working with you and remain at your disposal for any question/problem.
All the Best!

Bartok design Japan Co.
Manager: Iacopo Torrini
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cell.: +81-90-8205-1200
iax1213[at]gmail[dot]com
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(click on the photo below to open the related blog entry)

asnaro doubleseater for Odessa

This is the first Bartok design tub going to Ukraine.

The client had problems in contacting us and for some reason the e-mails were bouncing off from the server. But she used an alternative email and we could define the details in few rounds.

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Here are the specs of the tub:

material: natural Japanese Asnaro AB (quarter sawn)

sizes: L1400mm x W800 x H685mm (ext. dim.)

details: nat. oil apron,  wood dowels. Iron brand at front side top-right.

options: asnaro wood internal seat W400mm,  asnaro wood traditional cover 820x200x18 (5pcs)

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The tub was shipped thru a forwarder appointed by the client. We arranged for the pickup directly from our packing company which is already very close to Narita airport.

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It is a perfect tub for 2 people. I hope the clients can have relaxing chats and enjoy the fresh aroma of japanese wood it for many years to come! Of course the seats can be quickly removed for a deep plunge japanese style soaking experience.

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asnaro tub for Dallas


Compact and cute asnaro bathtub ordered thru an architectural office in Texas.
From the first request of information to shipping it took 1 month exactly so I can say it was a smooth order process.
The client is going to use it in a master bathroom remodel and after the initial quotation, we modified the corner joints from metal plates to wooden dowels and added an overflow cut on the short side.

Here below are the specs of the tub:

material: natural Japanese Asnaro AB grade bathtub (quarter sawn)
sizes: L900mm x W700 x H710mm (ext. dim.)
note: natural oil apron, wood dowels. Iron brand at front side top-right
accessories:
– Asnaro wood internal seat W300mm
– Asnaro wood traditional cover 720x180x18 (5pcs)
– Sawara wood ladle with handle (180D 290H)
– Sawara wood large bucket(230D 120H):
– Hinoki wood traditional stool (300x180x200H)

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