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All Cracked Up..or How to Tart Up a Siya For the Ham Handed Maker

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This is a carry over from the "Katana Discussion" on the "For Sale" Forum... There was some interest in how I did the Siya in one of the pics I posted so here is the short and sweet on it..The "EASY WAY" of doing it...The "Hard Way" is basically the same except you apply gold leaf sheet using sizing and a guilder's tip..which is a real PITA unless you have been doing it for a while so..Since I am doing this for book IV...Here is a way that just about anyone can duplicate... So in the words of the late Jackie Gleason..."And AWAY we go!!"


<NOTE> PLEASE "perfect" your technique on some "scrap pieces" of wood before you "go for the gold" on something "really important">


Now this can be pretty much done on any wood (or metal) Siya/Sheath/Scabbard...this process was develouped by the good old "Trial and Error" method of using different lacquers and paints, from and idea I got from one of the wood finishing courses I took a few years back... I was intrigued by the "Cracked Antique/Weathered" finishes that we did... but the colors that the kits were offered in..???..Well, they sucked..at least to me they did... So off I went..on what I hope wasn't a fool's errand and I made more than a few calls and 3 months or so and about $250.00 worth of spray paints later... I hit on something that worked.. So here is how I do it...


Sand smooth to 180 to 240 grit the surface of the siya..Prime using a 2 in 1 primer/filler spray paint for wood.. (See photo below) and automotive primer for metal.... let dry for at least 1 to 2 hours..However NO more than 4 hours... There are some time limits on this process that I found out, rater painfully... so please be aware of that...


Once the primed surface is dry, you can do a "Colour Base Coat" of just about any colour you wish..as long as the can says "For Wood or Metal"....For this example: I am using Valspar No 6601 Bronze Metallic spray paint. Do one "medium coat" on the siya..making certain that everything you want to be covered is, in fact, covered..once you are done with the colour coat...start your timer..Let dry for 30 minutes..NO LONGER...20 minutes if the ambient air temp is above 85-90 degrees F. Minor "touch ups..if done in under 5 minutes wil still work. SO WATCH WAHT YOU ARE DOING...


When the timer goes off...the surface will be dry enough to allow the next step but not "too dry" to "work"..


The next step involves a clear, cellulose based lacquer application...I used Valspar No 65064 Clear (use to be called Clear Gloss Lacquer..) Lacquer Paint...Do one " medium coat" spray so the surface looks "wet and shiney"..This is important not to cause any "runs, drips or sags" as this WILL show up in the finished piece....Once coated, start the timer for 30 minutes...


Now the top coats are the fun part....I am using Valspar No 11204 "Slate Black"...There are other colours that can be used (and these will be made available in book IV..as far as what the base vehicle is in the can..)


OK..here is where Experience rears its ugly head..The following happens VERY QUICKLY so you got to have your act together....When applying the top coat, you want a light to medium spray for a lot of "cracks and finer..more delicate crazing"..and a medium/heavy to heavy spray coat for a larger, more "Dramatic" crazing effect. Here again..let me stress that you should be doing the first 8 or 12 pieces as "samples" to get the hang of it before you do this on anything of any importance...


Now you only get one shot at this at this stage so..BE AWARE of that.. .I myself like to "mix it up" as far as the crazing go so I do a mix of a light/medium and a medium/heavy coat to break up the effect. You will see the crazing star almost instantly...So make mental notes as to what you did and what effect you got...WRITE IT DOWN for later reference...


<OK..so you messed up...you need to strip EVERYTHING down to the primer..re-sand and re-prime and start all over again. Frustrating but what the Hell...My name is going on this so....This is what you need to do..>

Once you get the top coat on..put it away for at least 36 to 48 hours..(I wait 72 hours..but that is just me, cause I am one great big CHICKEN when it comes to ruining finishes...I have ruined way more than my share due to my own impatience..) so everything can out gas and be VERY DRY before you seal...If it is NOT completely dry you will get a "clouded" seal when you apply the sealer..NOT something you want to happen...Wait NO more than 96 hours from the top coat application or else you risk the surface "bubbling up" ...NOT a pretty picture...


Also note that the sealing coats will "darken and liven up" the colours and contrast on the piece..once it is sealed (I use to use a hard clear lacquer but I have switched to a clear gloss marine Spar Varnish as it is much more durable and has UV protectants mixed in to protect the finish under it..Just follow the directions on the can...


THAT IS IT..Not all that difficult really..it is much harder to explain HOW to do it than actually DOING it... and you get a GREAT effect and when it comes out right..A very attractive and DRAMATIC finish for the Siya...


Hope the photos work..if not Allan L...HELP!!















Edited by JPH
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Thank You.


So getting the crack effect is a matter of Spray Paint Can Manipulation? Is that right ?




Edited by Bruno
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Well...one has to learn what is compatible with what it is you want to achive...so go by the numbers that I have given for the 1st base coat..(which is pretty much what ever colour you wish..)... and then using the cellulose lacquer before you do the "top coat" (black you should be OK (I have got to hold back SOME info for book IV afterall...) As far as the "base" colour goes..have at it!! I have done red, blue, green, silver and a bunch more others using this technique so have some fun....


Experiment and see what goes with what..that is what i did...





Edited by JPH
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