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Tsuba Q&A

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  • Tsuba Q&A

    Hey fellas - what do you use (and how) to make the hole in your tsuba wider so it fits thicker shinai?

    Also, I've noticed that leather tsuba come in a whole range of thicknesses, anything from 4mm to 10mm. Is THICKER better? Or is a high thickness just a sign of crude workmanship? Some consist of single "layers", others have multiple. Is MORE layers better?

  • #2
    As for widening the hole in your tsuba, there is a tool that I've seen in bogu shops that is used specifically for this. If, like most of us, you don't have access to a local bogu shop, then a circular file and a bit of patience should do the trick.

    As for thicknesses, it largely depends on what the tsuba is made of, and personal preference. My favourite tsuba is a little less than a centimetre thick and is made of cow hide. It also has quite a large diameter, It has a leather tsuba-dome which brings the overall thickness to about 1.5cm.
    The workmanship, while not top of the range, is certainly in the upper echelon, quality-wise, so one would have to say that thickness has no particular bearing on quality.
    (Unless you are talking about plastic tsuba-dome, which are mass-produced and to which the word quality cannot be applied).


    • #3
      Ares2907, do you mean that all leather tsuba are hand-made?


      • #4
        A tsuba reamer is the first choice, they have a fancy table mounted model (probably the one Ares2907 is referring to) and a handheld style which is basically a tapered reamer with a T-handle.

        Also, a Dremel with a grinding attachment works pretty well and is quick.


        • #5
          Originally posted by olaf
          Ares2907, do you mean that all leather tsuba are hand-made?
          Not sure about all leather tsuba, but the good ones are.
          Kendo is generally one of those areas where if you buy cheap, you get cheap. There are exceptions of course, but not many.


          • #6
            I used a drill bit to widen the hole


            • #7
              I have a rawhide tsube, and used a knife to get the bulk off, then a file. I recomend drawing a guide line first.


              • #8
                I do the same as Kendoboy (using a pocket knife to get the opening bigger). A broom handle wrapped with sand paper is a good way to smooth the bore down and for the fine adjustments to the diameter of the opening.