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'Take' Barens
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Take-barens by Goto Kikuhide

(That's 'tah-kay' ... 'bamboo')

This is a new type of baren being made by Goto-san, and is a kind of 'hybrid' baren, offering the best advantages of the professional 'hon' (real) baren, yet at about half the price. The very high cost of the true hon baren comes from two factors: 1) the time it takes to prepare and twist the inner coil from thousands of slivers of bamboo skin, and 2) the time it takes to prepare and layup the multi-layered backing disk (ategawa) from dozens of sheets of delicate washi paper. Yet in truth, most of the advantage of the hon baren comes from the effectiveness of the coil, and rather less from the delicate 'springiness' of the ategawa.

So Goto-san has created this hybrid model: it has the same inner coil as a hon-baren - made from endless twisted bamboo slivers - yet has a backing disc made from a strong thin plywood. This cuts the preparation time in half, yet results in a product with most of the advantages of the true professional tool. It is a great idea...

He is making them in the same range of strengths as the hon baren. If you can only get one, perhaps the 8-medium is considered the 'all-rounder', although the 12-fine is also very flexible, and can be used for many different printing jobs. The basic size is 12cm, but 11, 12.5, 13, and 13.5 are available on special order.

We are very excited about these tools, and expect them to become one of our best-selling items!

A Take-baren from the Kikuhide workshop


We are currently offering Kikuhide take-barens in the following types:

  • 8-strand (heavy): wide woodblocks ... thick paper
  • 8-strand (medium): average use
  • 8-strand (fine): thin paper, delicate carving, etc.
  • 8-strand (extra-fine): for use on most delicate carving, etc.
  • 12-strand (fine): good balance between delicacy and power, (also good for wood engravings with ink)
  • 16-strand (medium): very strong baren, for colour blocks on heavy paper
  • 16-strand (fine): strong, but less likely to leave 'suji' in the colour

Special note: Each of these barens is made to your order - there is no stock on hand. Unlike the 'hon-barens' which have the multi-layered ategawa needing weeks of careful layup, these barens can be produced more quickly - if about a month can be described as 'quickly'. Goto-san tells us that one month is indeed a typical turn-around time for these orders.





8-strand (heavy)


8-strand (medium)


8-strand (fine)


8-strand (extra-fine)


12-strand (fine)


16-strand (medium)


16-strand (fine)




Order form for these barens

Select the appropriate item from the form above, then click on the 'Add to Cart' button.