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Thread: Chinese Handle Wrapping

  1. #1

    Chinese Handle Wrapping

    Following up from recently acquiring a training weapon, I also wish to cover the handle with a cord wrapping. I've done a quick job with a standard spiral wrap in cotton string, just to bulk out the handle so I can get training with it (I have pretty big hands and the handle was a little too wimpy)

    http://www.denyerec.co.uk/files/sword3_p.jpg

    I've punished the search function on this forum already (Unfortunately, it refuses one when trying to search for "dao"... Grrr...) and I've hammered google pretty hard, but I absolutely cannot find any decent guides or instructional sites that explain how to perform a "traditional" chinese wrapping for a dao handle.

    I've seen a few "Turks Head" instructions, but it's not quite the right thing. There are several examples of finished wraps on this forum, but sadly no instructions that I could find.

    Can anyone help?

    Kind regards,
    Denyer

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Oxtail Restoration

    Try that thread. Someone did an Oxtail restoration and managed to research out some information on traditional Chinese handle wrapping.

  3. #3
    I read that, but there was nothing much to be gleaned from it, bar that there were few diagrams available!

    Perhaps some kind soul on SFI could produce a detailled tutorial, as there must be someone here who's an expert... Certainly seems that way from reading around!

    I've been researching Turk Head knotting, but it's not QUITE right...

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Hi Ec,

    You are not alone, I'm ahead of you by 2-3 weeks, did the whole search/ask thing myself, with no joy. I noticed that there are others who want to know.

    I have figured it out now, and plan to take pics as I do it to post on here. I've got 2 to do in the next week (I'm waiting for the tape to turn up, I decided 6mm ito would be about right) so hang on...

    If you need to get started sooner, have a good look at some close up pics - it's not as hard as it looks.

  5. #5
    Hi Euan,

    (It's just Denyer by the way.... long story.)

    I can hold out for a couple of weeks I reckon, I've got a fair bit to get on with in the meantime so I shan't be idle.

    You say 6mm tape though, is it suade, leather or shoelace?

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    OK, this is a serious response as I would really like to help you folks out, but I don't want to catch any flack from the traditionalists, 'kay?

    Have any of you folks tried any resources on the US Navy especially regarding rope and cord crafts?

    When my father was in the US Navy during WW II there were certain fellows who became familiar with cordwork and such and were often detailed to do this sort of work on official barges and whatnot. My mother once had a bathrobe which had a sash that was destroyed by a pet and my father made a fantastic replacement. It was sorta like macarame'. When I asked him about it he told me about how on the Admirals' barge he and some other guys tricked-out all the railings in this sort of cordwork. I figure if a person can do this for a railing one would think they could do it for a sword handle. BTW: I have a Ssang Soo Do replica that I want to wrap a handle on so I too am interested in this discussion. Right now I am not THAT heavily invested because I simply don't have the time. But truthfully this is where "I" would start when the time comes--- something in the nautical area. FWIW.

    Best Wishes,

    Bruce
    Bruce W Sims
    Midwest Hapkido, Inc.

  7. #7
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    Sorry Denyer, (in my neck of the woods Ec is not an uncommon first name )

    I'm using 6mm ito from here http://www.shadowofleaves.com/cotton_ito.htm

    It's for wrapping Tanto handles but I thought with the crossing over pattern I wouldn't have enough crosses with standard Katana sized 10mm ito (12 as opposed to 7 if my memory serves me right).

    I'm using cotton but they do silk, suede, leather and also nubuck. I've seen lots of other things used well, including cord and paracord (left whole for round or with the central core pulled out for a flatter tape).

    I did practice with shoelace though

  8. #8
    I did stumble across a few "tactical" type tutorials, namely the method used on Stalker knives and the traditional "spiral" wrapping, methods which can be found here:

    http://www.northcoastknives.com/nort...s_CordWrap.htm

    http://runningdogknife.homestead.com/cordwrap.html

    (Note the northcoast one (Bottom photo) has a VERY similar weave to the traditional chinese method, but given that they melt the ends of their cord to stop them unravelling some finishing knots would need playing with!)

    The photo is, traditionally, rather unclear, maybe someone with more experience would be able to identify crucial elements such as "where to start" and "how many leads" to use etc...

    The search continues.

  9. #9
    I've been meaning to "borrow" a scanner for a while to get the wrapping information posted

    If someone in the states has a scanner, I have a diagram courtesy of Grace Evans which gives a good overview on how the wrap is done.

    Contact me at alex@swordforum.com with a mailing address. I just need to locate the original and make a copy.

    FYI, using flat tape is good, but round cord is easier to find and just as authentic. The original cords appear to be silk/silk blend/hemp/cotton and naturally gripped the wooden core.

    The modern synthetics seem to rotate/slide a bit more and would work best with a coat of penetrating epoxy for adhesion and durability.

  10. #10
    Thanks to all who offered the use of scanners.

    In my zeal to offer useful information, I almost forgot one very important thing. I am waiting for permission from Grace Evans to distribute the information. While the wrapping isn't rocket science, it would be disrespectful of me to offer it without first asking.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    Portland, OR
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    2,545
    Hey Alex,

    I've been want to get a copy of that diagram from you forever!

    If you could, bring it to the gathering this weekend if you are going to make it, pretty please?

    josh
    The smith also sitteth by the anvil,
    And fighteth with the heat of the furnace,
    And the noise of the hammer and the anvil is ever in his ears,
    And his eyes look still upon the pattern of the thing that he maketh.
    He setteth his mind to finish his work,
    And waiteth to polish it perfectly.

  12. #12
    I found a few more detailled photographs over here:

    http://www.huanuosword.com/e/cs/CDFZ.htm

    http://www.huanuosword.com/e/cs/CDLY.htm

    http://www.huanuosword.com/e/cs/CDYM.htm

    Still not much wiser as to how to start and finish the binding though.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Trelleborg,Sweden
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    Originally posted by Ec Denyer
    Still not much wiser as to how to start and finish the binding though.
    Start at the mid-point of your wrapping material (start with 4 or 5 meters) and begin the wrap both directions at the same time, creating the crossing double-helix wrap all the way down. Weave the ends up each side of the grip, loop it over and head back down the same side, then secure the ends under the existing wrap in a way that it looks like it continues the double-helix.

    There's a series of photos of how I did mine here:

    Wrapping

    To do the weave I used a tool called a "latch hook." For those old enough to remember the 70's, this is the tool used to make latch-hook rugs, and might still be found at yard sales and maybe crafts shops. It's a handle with a hook on it. There is a little hinged gate that closes over the hook. This is useful to hold the cord while pulling it under a wrap without getting the wrap itself tangled in the hook.

    If that doesn't make sense, I'll try t o remember to snap a picture of mine and edit it into this post later.

    I've also told a few of you that I'd do a little .mpg of a wrap, which I still intend to do, once I get some better colors that contrast nicely. It's on my to-do list. In fact, I'm running into town in a little bit. I'll try to get some colorful cord then.
    Share your knowledge. Itís a way to achieve immortality.
    -- Author Unknown

  14. #14
    I'm going to make an attempt at wrapping our broom's handle later tonight using those photo's as a guide (Beutiful restoration job by the way, SOOO envious!)

    I look forward to seeing that mpeg or perhaps some step-by step photos... I'm usually quite good at this kind of visualisation thing but it seems as if I have taken leave of my senses on this one!!

  15. #15
    Hey William,

    Great work there. I look forward to your video too.

    From the link provided, I am kind of glad you clarified what was going on with those jeans because I almost was going to ask, "Is that a sword in your pants, or are you just..." Never mind me!

    Doug M

  16. #16
    It ocurred to me that I hadn't asked what material would be most suitable for binding the handle!!
    I see in a lot of the "traditional" wraps the cord is flat, approx 4-5mm wide.

    What is the best material to use for this? Suede or cotton cord seem to be the obvious choices, though I'd like to hear from someone with experience.

    Also if anyone could point me to a suitable supplier in the UK that would be awesome, as craft-wares don't seem to be as readily available on the internet in the UK and shipping from the US is usually extortionate .

    Kindest regards,
    Denyer

  17. #17
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    Originally posted by Ec Denyer
    What is the best material to use for this? Suede or cotton cord seem to be the obvious choices, though I'd like to hear from someone with experience.
    From what I've been able to dig up, the cord was flat silk cord about 4mm wide, of a dark green/blue color, or yellow (we know what that means ).

    I mentioned earlier the pic of the latch hook. I got it fixed and attached. Also below will be two pictures of a grip I've wrapped in two colors. This is a demo wrap, done this way so you can see the wrap a little more clearly. It gets king of obscure when all the wrap is the same color.

    I filmed the wrapping of this! It's done! But it's huge. It's about 9 mins long (doing the actual wrap, then the woven longitudinal on one side only). The darned thing is huge, though. I've got it down to 18MB, but still need to trim the end of it a little. Have some runover. I'm not having luck with (free) video editing software for trimming and shrinking. Any tips? As soon as I get it ready, I'll post a link so you all can see it.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Share your knowledge. Itís a way to achieve immortality.
    -- Author Unknown

  18. #18
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    It's not a candy cane, Doug. Don't lick it.
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    Share your knowledge. Itís a way to achieve immortality.
    -- Author Unknown

  19. #19
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    second pic. Video will be linked as soon as I can get it fixed. Any volunteers? PM me.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Share your knowledge. Itís a way to achieve immortality.
    -- Author Unknown

  20. #20
    Well humored, old man! Well humored!

    Now, you know you need to post a picture of that waster in the background with the yin/yang symbol at the end in another thread. You can't just let us guess what that is.

    Doug M

  21. #21
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    The Video is Available!

    Hi all,

    I finally got the video worked out. Thanks Denyer for your help and testing the file. I will warn you all now that I just barely know which end of the camera to look in. The end result is a 9 minute video clip about 14MB. I removed audio for the sake of size. You don't want to hear me babbling away anyway.

    Okay, some clarifications about the vid:
    • I used two pieces of cord tied together. This is not how I normally do it, it's just to make it easier to see the way the wrap is going.
    • I used round cord because it is easier to show without worrying about laying flat and flush.
    • The stock I used is just a roughly formed piece of wood. You can start at either the pommel or guard end. I've seen both. I think starting at the pommel is nicer, because it leaves the loop-over up at the pommel and the tuck-unders down by the ferrule.
    • I have heard that one can do this with three pieces (the wrap, plus one for each longitudinal weave), but this method is with one continuous piece.
    • I worked fast, and not quite as cleanly as I might, but I was worried about the length of the clip. So normally one would go slower, and more careful.

    The clip...

    Disclaimer: This is how I puzzled out how to do the wrap. There may be other ways and they may well be better. I've found this method works well for me, and I'm sharing it in the hopes that it will work well for you. Good luck, and happy viewing!
    Share your knowledge. Itís a way to achieve immortality.
    -- Author Unknown

  22. #22
    I've already thanked you in a private message, but it would appear plain rude not to do it in here too...

    Thank you!!

    I'm sat here with a long strip of rawhide and a crudely made wire hook ready to get started!

    Now I'm simply curious to see what's in the diagram Alexander Chin has ready to scan for us. Can't see it being much different TBH, but you never know.

    Kindest regards once again,
    Denyer

  23. #23
    Join Date
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    I can't see the clip , I must be doing something wrong.

    You beat me to it William, I took the pics on Sat night ... but they aren't very good ( too dark)

    Still it came out ok

    Attached Images Attached Images  

  24. #24
    May I ask what material you used on your handle Euan?
    I'm having a hell of a tiem finding cotton tape in the UK, I found some "Corset lacing" from a US supplier which looked to be the perfect material, but finding it in the UK is next to impossible.

    http://www.createforless.com/product...roductID=58428

    That's the link for the material I was looking at. 4mm, flat cord, cotton, very very strong so can be pulled very tight if required.

    Any opinions or UK suppliers gratefully received!!

    Kind regards,
    Denyer

  25. #25
    Join Date
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    It's the 6mm ito (japanese wrap) I mentioned earlier on in the thread, I got it from the US though. See that post for a link, they only do 6mm in black but they have got a lot of colours in 8 and 10mm. You can always ask how much postage would be(it might not be to bad for a small amount) they're quite helpful

    There is a UK company that does Japanese sword supplies but they still haven't replied to an email I sent nearly 2wks ago

    Failing that I can pass you on some of mine at cost (I bought a 30m reel, I plan on doing several!)

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