Making Hatori Fine Bone China

There are seven main processes involved in creating Hatori fine bone china:

Clay making: Dry materials (bone ash, China clay [kaolin], ball clay, flint, and feldspar) are mixed with water to form a slurry, which is then carefully blended and filtered until it becomes a brown pasty liquid which is called a casting slip. It is crucial to adhere strictly to the recipe and procedure in order to produce the highest quality Hatori  product.

Mold making: The purpose of a mold is to hold the casting slip in a shape while extracting enough water so as to be able to separate the formed piece from the mold. Production molds are made out of metal or plaster; for dinner plates, the metal master molds look something like two automobile hubcaps sandwiched together. Each plaster production dinner plate mold should get about 100 uses, while molds for serving pieces and more intricate items can only be used about 10 to 15 times.

Casting/Production: This is the process which turns the  liquid casting slip into a solid, fairly rigid shape of set size and form. The size and form of the cast piece are determined by the shape of the mold. The mold is filled with slip and left long enough for the slip to solidify to the required thickness. The molds are then tipped to drain off the excess slip. After being dried overnight the water content reduces considerably and the piece of ware will be a light grey in color. In this state it is rigid and brittle and requires careful handling. The unfinished china is trimmed and smoothed, removing any seams from the mold.

Firing: We use a tunnel kiln to fire our biscuit ware. The pieces of ware are placed onto kiln cars which run on tracks through a long tunnel with a firing zone in the middle. Biscuit firing takes about 32 hours. The trucks continuously move very slowly through the kiln until they reach maximum temperature (1,200ºC), after about 20 hours. After the whiteware is removed from the kiln, each piece is polished with smooth stones and water – the vibration of the stones smoothes away the rough exterior. This process is called the vibratory finish.

Glazing: Glaze is basically a hard opaque glass, which is similar chemically to household window glass. Glaze is resistant to almost all chemicals and totally waterproof once it has been fired. What we spray onto the tableware is a mixture of the finely ground raw materials with enough water to form a creamy fluid. The powdered materials stick to the surface of the china due to the addition of a binder. This is a glue similar to wallpaper paste which will burn out in the early stages of firing.

Decorating: Hatori fine bone china is decorated with decals and precious metals (gold and platinum). All of our decals and gold/platinum edges are applied by hand. After careful quality control, a decal is applied to the ware using a wet sponge to help slide the print into position. A squeegee removes excess water and presses any creases out of the print. The ware is then dried off by dabbing it with a clean dry cloth. Precious metals, in a liquid state, are painted onto each piece with a delicate brush. The china is then fired again in order to seal the decoration onto the ware.

Quality Control/Packing: We carefully inspect each piece of fine bone china to ensure the highest quality. Pieces that aren’t perfect will either be destroyed or marked as a "second" and sold in a special outlet store.
Hatori products are packaged individually in beautiful purple boxes with the Hatori logo. The cup sets are packed conveniently in cases with a handle so that they are easy to carry. Plates are packed in sets of 6 with a paper divider so that they will not be damaged by contact with each other. Our gift items are packed in luxury boxes with atlas fabric inside, conveying a joyful feeling of a special present.