Seasoning oak at Kihachi Kōbō

Suya san looks for oak with a benign fungal infection, which we know as 'spalted' oak. After selecting likely pieces of oak, the block forms are made and then inspected to see what the grain looks like.  Then the wood has to be seasoned by heating and smoking it.  Only then it is ready to be turned into the rough shapes pictured here.  Then they are inspected for grain again and seasoned further until they are ready to be turned into the final shapes.  The rejected pieces are still used for other products, but it is still a labour intensive process.