Since a long time I am deeply fascinated by antique folk crafts. This made me plunge into the world of woodworking. Woodworks become more beautiful in time, through daily use and gain more and more histories. We can feel their warmth. It is my wish as a restorer to be able to build the bridge for those woodworks to continue to the next generation.

When I repair or restore woodworks that carry people’s life and heart, I restore the original as much as possible with respect for their makers. I take into account that there is an ethical restoration method on the one hand and that there should be enough strength for daily use on the other hand.

I am proud of the traditional handwork I apply. Joinery, shaving, carving and finishing techniques are practiced by hand and hand tools. Well-kept tools become the extension of hands to make the most of the character and beauty of wood.

The final goal of woodworking is to create lifelong companions. They reflect the good works of a craftsman. By using eastern and western knowledge and techniques, I am trying to make objects that show my “good works”.

Kenta Takeshige

Restorer/Cabinetmaker/Lacquer Worker
Born in Osaka, Japan
Graduated from Kansai University, Faculty of Literature
Graduated from Nagano Agematsu Technical College, woodworking course
I entered Technical School located in Kiso, one of the most renowned places for lacquerware in Japan. My aim to master woodworking was to be able to restore woodworks.
2003 - 04
Studied woodworking under master Tatsuya Furuse
2004 - 06
Employed by Japan International Cooperation Agency, dispatched to Botswana as a woodworker
2006 - 07
Royal Academy of Antwerp, Faculty of Conservation and Restoration
Furniture restorer at Axel Vervoordt
2008 - 10
Participation in art project "SHÔ" by Treibgut
2010 - 13
Furniture restorer at Jean Christiaens
2013 - 15
Puurs Music Instrument Building Center, violin making course
Guest Professor at École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels de La Cambre, Faculty of Art Work Conservation, Restoration
Established woodworking workshop Kenta Takeshige
Participation in research project "RELATIONAL DESIGN" by Royal Academy of Ghent
Guest Professor at Royal Academy of Antwerp, Conservation and Restoration, wood/furniture
Established lacquer network Guild LacArt
Studied Urushi lacquer work under Urushi artist Nagatoshi Onishi
Studied at Kanazawa College of Art, Faculty of Crafts, Lacquer Art Dep. (exchange study program Kanazawa-Ghent)
I do not just like old things. I care about heritages and worry about old techniques: both are now disappearing rapidly instead of being conserved for future generations. This is the main reason why I am passionate about my work.

Finishing Techniques

French Polishing

Before applying the polish layers, it is important to fill wood pores with small amounts of fine pumice powder; crushed volcanic glass. After this preparation, many thin coats of natural resin of lac insects (shellac) dissolved in alcohol are applied by using a rubbing pad. Oil is added as a lubricant.

Suri Urushi

Urushi is made from the natural resin of the Asian lacquer tree and is used to protect and provide a beautiful gloss to furniture, bowls, boxes, handles and jewelry. It is a very sustainable lacquer finishing: once fully hardened, Urushi is resistant to water, heat, alcohol, acids, alkaline solutions and ageing.

One of the Urushi techniques is Suri (rubbing) Urushi. Traditionally, the procedure consists of applying many thin layers of Ki-Urushi (unpurified Urushi).

Read here how to care for fine natural Urushi lacquerware, or download the document as a pdf

Other available finishing options: beeswax, natural oil.

Hand Tools


The most profound woodworking tools; planes. It is one of the pleasures of woodworking to master this tool well. There are some differences between western and Japanese planes. I like them both. In my opinion, western planes are functional and Japanese planes are organic. But all planes, be it western or Japanese, have their own peculiarity and are full of character.


There are chisels, gouges and carving/sculpting tools. And furthermore, there are chisels handled hitting by hammer/mallet, and slicks for making beam joints and for finishing work. Variety of blade width and sweep is very important. Most of the moldings can be copied by use of carving tools. Chisels are used at places where planes cannot reach and they are crucial when making joints.

Saws & Knives

The saw is one of the three sacred treasures together with the plane and the chisel. I only use Japanese saws because of their superior quality. It is an artisanal skill to be able to saw exactly along the layout lines, not losing time to correct by shaving of spare layout lines with the chisel.

Knives are precision tools. Their cutting function consists of carving, grooving for inlay works and cutting veneers.