This month, May is the month for starting to use Furo (Braizer). During Golden Week (national holidays week in beg of May), I usually change from Ro (Sunken hearth) to Furo, by taking out all ash from Ro and close it with a tatami mat, and then prepare formed ash in a braizer by using ash scoops. Every year, May is the month for starting Furo season and November is for Ro season. As Tatami, ash and charcols are very heavy, it is a hard labor for me, but I like it. I always close Ro with appreciating Ro for nicely making boiling water and no fire accidents in Ro-season.
Then, I prepare the braizer by laying a folded Hosho (Japanese traditional thick paper) and Sokokawarake (a ceramic round board), and then I put in sieved ash for Furo, placed Gotoku (a tripod), and made Haigata (formed ash) with covered myself in ashes. My Haigata is not perfect with remaining traces of scoops. I felt that I need more training to make a good Haigata, and made up mind to do my best in this season.
I also changed all charcols in Hako Sumitori (a squrare charcol container). All cutted charcols with fixed sizes for Ro and Furo are available at shops. As you see in the bottom picture, the upper ones are for Ro and lower ones are for Furo (Ro charcols are bigger than Furo charcols). We do Sumidemae (charcol-laying-procedure) by using those charcols before making tea in Chaji (a formal tea gathering).
In old days, people had to measure each carcol by using a special ruler, and cut them with a hand saw. I found it in a website. Left side is for Furo and right side is for Ro.
A special ruler for Charcol
Charcols for Chanoyu
By the way, before burning charcols in Ro/Furo, we usually wash them with a scrubbing brush, and drying then for approx. 3 days. By doing so, moisture remains moderately, and can burn well, and no sputtering of fire and no proudction of cabon monoxide, that is dangerous for health. A lot of preparations, which our guests will never see, are necessary to serve a bowl of tasty tea for guest.