So you’ve contacted me to customize your tsuka, how does the process work from here?
Let’s discuss the details
what brand/model of katana or sword is your tsuka from?
This information helps me to know what may be involved in rewrapping your tsuka. I’ve worked with nearly all known manufacturer’s products and some require more prep or repair, some require relatively little prep and unfortunately, some are just not worth the time, effort and money to customize. I want you to be happy with your finished tsuka and the better the tsuka is to begin with, the better it will be when done.
What type of ito did you want?
There are a lot of materials to choose from such as silk, cotton and leather, among others. Keep in mind that not all ito works best with all tsukamaki styles. Take a look at my services page to see all of the options.
What style of tsukamaki did you want?
Hineri-maki, tsumamai-maki, katate-maki? There are many style to choose from, but again, not all styles work well with all ito or tsuka shapes. I will be happy to help you figure out what works best for you.
Did you need upgraded samegawa?
I ask this because so many production tsuka come with terrible quality samegawa panels, usually having tiny nodes, discolored and stained or with chipping lacquer and are almost always way too narrow. Part of what makes a great customized tsuka is attractive, functional and properly shaped and installed panels. I feel it’s a shame to spend the money on a new wrap just to have low quality samegawa keep it from being as great as it can be.
We’ve figured out the details and the project is a go, now what?
Before you send your sword or tsuka to me I will need a deposit. This is a non-refundable deposit to pay for materials, the balance will be due upon completion of the custom work. If you send your deposit and then disappear, I will hold the deposit(if I haven’t ordered the materials yet) or the ordered materials for 90 days, after which time they will be forfeited to Cottontail Customs. If there is a reason you won’t be able to continue or will be delayed for an extended period of time, just let me know and we can try to work something out.
Depending on my current queue, it could take 2-3 weeks to complete a tsuka wrap. Please be aware that this isn’t a guarantee of any kind and estimated completion times may change without notice and could wind up being finished earlier than expected or later. If you are on a tight timeline, this is probably not going to work out for either of us.
Now that the work has been completed?
I will send you pictures of the finished tsuka and if everything looks good to you, I will ask for the remaining balance and will then pack it up(in the packaging you provided) and finally, I will send a tracking number.
Before I begin
Prep work such as reshaping, light repair and adjusting the length is needed for most every tsuka I re wrap and unless it’s an extreme case, this work is included in the cost of tsukamaki. Please note that in order to ensure your end knots come out on the correct sides, I may need to shorten your tsuka by approximately 1/4″. If this is the case, I will let you know before I begin.
IMPORTANT: I have little to no control over whether your existing mekugi-ana will be partially or fully covered by the new wrap. If you don’t think you will be able to reinsert your mekugi because of this, please consider sending your whole sword and I will be happy to do it for you.
I always do my best to make sure you will have a functional and reliable finished product and sometimes, I will need to make repairs before your tsuka will be safe enough and durable enough to use.
One of the most common issues found with reproduction tsuka is a cracked core. Most of the time this happens at the factory where many tsuka cores are made to fit a general nakago profile instead of the individual sword it will be mounted on and are then often too loose or too tight. When they are too tight, forcing them on the nakago can split or crack the wood. Other reasons for cracks are poor quality wood and or swelling or shrinkage due to climate change.
Prior to sending in your tsuka, I encourage you to remove it and check under the fuchi for any obvious cracks or splits. It may be difficult to tell so when in doubt, I’ll be happy to check. I give a lot of consideration to the condition of your tsuka core before I begin wrapping it. I will fully examine your tsuka (it will need to be unwrapped) before beginning any work and will inform you of the situation, possible solutions and or possible extra fees for labor or materials, if needed.
If your core is cracked and it is clean and there isn’t persisting pressure from the nakago fit, I may be able to safely glue it. If the crack isn’t able to be glued or if the structural integrity of the core is compromised beyond a safe point, you may need to have a new core made.
Other types of small repairs may also include shimming the fuchi or kashira end for a better fit, shimming the profile to make up for gaps or filing the interior for a better fit on the nakago.