Tuesday, January 08, 2008

How to repair a crack on a tetsubin?

It's been over a week since my last article. Sorry for keeping you waiting. I didn't see the time fly away. And that's also how I managed to damage my iron Dragon tetsubin.

A few days ago, I got so busy answering my e-mails that I forgot that I was heating water in the tetsubin on the gas stove. The water level was low and quickly dried up. Then, for several minutes, the gas was heating the empty tetsubin. Heating an empty tetsubin is a major mistake. It should never happen.

I know why now: several cracks have appeared on near the bottom of my tetsubin, where the heat was strongest. In the picture below is the most important one. When I tried to use the tetsubin again (after it had cooled down) water slowly dripped out of these cracks. Luckily, the cracks are quite small and very little water was coming out. I called a tea master friend (and collector of ancient tetsubins) to ask him if there was anything I could do to repair the damage.

I followed his advice: I boiled some rice in the tetsubin until it became porridge. Then I waited until it become cold, removed the porridge, cleaned the pot and waited another night. Now, when I'm using the tetsubin, the water has stopped leaking from these cracks. What a relief! And how amazing that something as common and natural as rice could repair an iron kettle!

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

And what about taste of water, now.

Is it without any rice marks?

Stephane said...

The first times, the water had a taste of rice, but it's steadily decreasing and I expect it will soon be completely gone.

Kim said...

This is an ancient but common practice in chanoyu kama (tea ceremony kettle). It is also a good way to get rid of any rust.
Of course it works on ceramic pots, too.

bejita said...

ton ami t as t il dit combien de temps tiendra son rafistolage , et si il n y avait pas moyen de le reparer avec de la fonte ?
sinon c'est tres ingenieux comme systeme ...

Stephane said...

Thanks for your comment Kim.

Bejita,
Il ne m'a pas dit combien de temps cela tiendrait. Mais il semblait dire que si cela tient (car la fente est assez petite) alors cette réparation est assez permanente.

Michel said...

ljutMaintenant je me sens un peu moins bête.

Dis j'ai quelques fois, après un gong fu cha nocturne oublier de vider la tetsubin. .

J'ai quelques, pas beaucoup mais quelques points de rouille de couleur 'cancérigène'.. que puis je faire docteur pour remédier ça? Le coup du riz gluant es-ce que ça referai vivre une vieille tetsubin genre du 19 ème?

bejita said...

pour enlever la rouille je fait bouillir de l'eau une poignée de gros sel ,et je laisse reposer toute la nuit. je rince bien le lendemain et elle est comme neuve .
les thés s'en retrouvent moins alourdis

SN said...

maybe you should try some sort of epoxy resin.

éric said...

Il me semble avoir lu quelque part
que l'eau de cuisson du riz était aussi bonne pour enlever les odeurs de terre des bouilloires neuves en terre claire.Avant de t'en servir pour la première fois,tu mets dans la bouilloire neuve de l'eau de cuisson du riz pendant 1 heure,tu rinces et tu peux ensuite t'en servir pour ton thé.Tu confirmes ce que je crois ?

Stephane said...

Eric,
Tu m'as un peu perdu avec cette 'eau de cuisson' du riz. Faut dire qu'en Chine, le riz est cuit dans des 'rice cooker' et le volume d'eau qu'on y met est complètement absorbé par le riz. Par contre, on peut utiliser l'eau de lavage du riz (qu'on rince plusieurs fois à l'eau froide) pour nettoyer les tetsubins ou les bouilloires en porcelaine.

Je confirme donc que cette eau de riz (avant ou après cuisson, je pense qu'il importe peu) permet bien de nettoyer ces accessoires sans savon ou produits chimiques.

sean said...

sorry to hear of the crack, but wonderful that you were able to repair it this way. i hope the repair lasts!

the tetsubin you sent me here in seattle (sean in seattle) is excellent. i use it constantly and love it. the fruity da yu ling was/is also wonderful.

éric said...

On a eu
"Mangez des pommes"
et maintenant c'est
"Mangeons du riz" !

Steph said...

Such a simple and elegant solution! I love it! And it's a good thing to know about the risks of cracking, too. Thank you.

pierre-antoine said...

sinon pour la rouille le mélange eau chaude+bicarbonate de soude le fait bien aussi...

Jim said...

Similar tricks are used to repair automobile radiators. I have heard of rice porridge, oatmeal, and even cow dung used to repair radiators. I think that rice is an excellent solution for the tetsubin!

teaman said...

what about lacquer to repair crack I have nice old kama with crack above the kanski not much water up there I tried real lacquer .will see what happens when hot