Stand (‘daiza’) building

When someone asks me for this subject, I usually suggest them to craft their own stands, so that all their stones are so given a custom-made stand, even when they think they would normally display them in a tray. All this keeping in mind that suiseki art does not end with the stand, but starts just then. As I previously told, the artisan crafting of a stand would require no less than 20 hours from which the carving of the vase (the cavity adapted to the bottom of the stone) may take more than half of this time. Those over 10 hours of physical and visual contact with the stone give chance to get a deeper understanding of it in full terms: strong and weak points, what must be enhanced and what is to be disguissed.

However, there are people that, for different reasons, prefer to enjoy the stones avoiding such an embarrassing step (yes, I guess that it is very much like a pregnancy). Well, I must admit that I have already been engaged as a ‘hired mother’ in such situations, and I am willing to continue doing so, according to my skills and available time.

How much would a stand be? You can imagine it is not easy to fix it in advance: it depends on the size and shape of the stone, the style of the stand, the wood, the time to be used and likely some other aspect I may now be forgetting.

There are guidelines that may provide orientation. For instance, in the case of a stone bought in a specialized shop, it is very common that the cost of a artisan stand equals that of the stone itself (in some cases, it may be even higher). Other guideline: on this very moment (year 2013), an artisan stand will likely cost not less than 100 euros, even it is small; a stand for a stone of 20 x 10 cm size may be commonly quoted in the range from 150 to 300 euros (I realize the range is broad, but two stones with similar size may present very different variations and difficulties). Considering this 20 x 10 cm size as a standard, it is equivalent to value the hour of work at about 10 euros.

To prepare a quotation, it is required to examine the stone (when possible, ‘live’), though a set of photos from different views, as well as the measurements in wide x deep x high, may be helpful for a first approach. The time to get the stand is very variable (considering I do them in my free time); I estimate the time required 3 to 6 months.

I use hardwood. I like American walnut the best, but also Spanish walnut, vaporized beech, maple, prunus and, sometimes, tropical woods similar to mahogany; very often, it depends on what it is available at the time. As a general rule, I finish the stand with a layer of synthetic uncoloured wax; in exchange of a minimal conservation work, it gives a satinated look and allows to admire the veins of the wood, but for lazy fellows it is possible to apply a synthetic satinated varnish. I do not apply lacquer finish, due to different reasons that would take long to be explained.