The Fude making process begins with choosing the right hair. After the right hair is selected, its length and quality are adjusted depending on the surface the tip of the Fude will come into contact with. The most suitable hair is picked out by hands from one cluster of hair at a time. This is an extremely delicate process and said to take a few decades of experience to distinguish the right material with perfect accuracy.
Now the selected hair goes through a process called “ Kemomi”. Kemomi is a process of removing the oil and dirt from the animal hair to refine the quality of the hair. This is an essential process to make the hair absorb sumi ink well.
Next, the hair is cut to length, and rice-hull ash is sprinkled over it. Then, hot iron called “Hinoshi” is applied to the hair. The temperature of Hinoshi and how long it will be applied are slightly adjusted depending on the type of hair used. After that, the hair is quickly wrapped in deer skin, and massaged well. The most careful attention was paid in the process so that not to bend the hair.
By applying the heat and massaging the hair, natural oil and dirt get removed.
The hair is combed well and any loose fluff was taken out. Then the hair is stacked flat in layers by a small cluster at a time. The hair is combed many times in order to enhance the quality of the hair.
Removing the hair facing wrong direction / damaged hair
The hair is trimmed straight at the end, and by feeling the hair with hands, any hair in the wrong direction or damaged hair is picked out and removed by a small knife called “Hanzashi”, so that only the hair with good quality remains.
The Fude head can be divided into five parts. The very tip of the Fude head is called “Inochi-ge”(life-hair), then the part little above that is “Nodo”(throat), the middle section of the Fude head is “Kata” (shoulder), the part closer to the root is “Hara” (abdomen) and the very root of the Fude head is “Koshi”(waist)
“Sungiri” is a process of cutting the hair into the different sizes of these five parts. A special tool called Sungi, which is cut to the required length of each part, is used as a scale to cut the hair with the end of the hair as a baseline. The process of cutting the hair is done very carefully and slowly by making sure if the end of the hair is cut completely even. After the hair is cut into the lengths of the five different parts, it is now mixed and put together as one bundle called “Kure”.