There are several ways of making natural sake cups. Most prefer using cucumbers, apples, or any other fruit that can be shaped into a cup. However, one of the most artistic ways of making these cups is by using bamboo. Aside from its durability, you can reuse it and decorate it using paint just like its porcelain cousin. It can also tolerate cold and hot sake unlike the fruit version of these cups that might not work well with different temperatures. To make these bamboo cups, you can follow these steps.
Gather the equipments. You should have a saw, sand paper, and a chisel. This will help you sculpture a perfectly made sake cup. Wrap your sand paper on a round stick. You can use this improvised sand paper to reach into deeper crevices. Leave some unused sandpaper with you.
Finding the right bamboo. Use a bamboo that is too big in diameter and you will have a tumbler instead of a cup. Choose a bamboo that has a thin layer. To determine the right bamboo, tap on the bamboo using the back of your finger. The duller the sound it produces, the thicker the layers. Use a bamboo that has a diameter of 2-inches. Make sure that it has no cracks or it is not pest infested. It must be fresh and green but not young.
Preparing the bamboo. Cut the bamboo as close to the node as you can on one side and 3-inches away from the node on the other. You now have a crude cup. You can make a curved corner on the outer layer of the bamboo by cutting horizontally on the skin to make it look like a box. While doing this, make sure that you won’t break the inner most layer of the bamboo. It is highly sensitive to force. To make the texture of the outer surface of the cup smooth, use the finest sandpaper available. Use the same method on the inner portion of the bamboo, except that you should not overdo it. Keep the inner most layer of the bamboo intact because it is this layer that keeps the sake from dripping out. Let it dry for a few days before proceeding with the next step. Using water, test the ability of the cup to hold fluids.
Putting on the finishing touches. When the bamboo has dried, it becomes more stable and less permeable to liquids. You can start using it as it is or you can polish it some more with a little bit of sculpturing. The paint design on the cup should be kept simple yet elegant. Its design should correspond to the Japanese tradition or at least some parts of it should.
If this type of sake cup feels like too much of a hassle to make, do not bother yourself. It will require some patience and some carpentry skills to make a good natural sake cup out of bamboo. However, if you are up to it, try making one because it is fun. Be careful in using or handling any type of sharp edged tools