Ukebari 浮張 is the name given to the cloth liner that sits inside the hachi of a kabuto. The liner had a number of functions namely acting as a shock absorber by creating a gap between the top plates of the hachi and the wearers head. It also provided comfort to the wearer and absorbed sweat.

Ukebari were regularly changed during the life of a kabuto as they become soiled and rotten. Many antique liners have been destroyed by signature hunters who rip through them to inspect the rear of the hachi rather than unpick the stitching, which is an ignorant and careless act. If the hachi is without the ukebari it can cause damage to the interior of the helmet bowl. This is the ofter the case with suji bachi where the underside prongs of the tehen kanamono break off from making repeated contact with a display stand.

Reproduction ukebari need to be avoided as the quality is very poor and the shape tends to be too round. Making your own replacement is a more rewarding undertaking and the helmet will benefit greatly from a well fitted bespoke liner.

Making your own is a very time consuming process, depending on the stitching it can be as long as a weeks work. Please note that this photo guide that I have prepared is self taught, I have never stumbled upon a “how-to” guide, or received instruction by a katchushi sensei.  Therefore all errors are my own. The manufacture and fitting took me 12 hours to complete.

The first step I take it to make sure that the hachi sits comfortably within the cut. You will need two layers of material to make the liner, for this I have used old authentic asa for the top layer and cotton for the backer. You have to remove the shikoro.

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Ukebari 浮張 is the name given to the cloth liner that sits inside the hachi of a kabuto. The liner had a number of functions namely acting as a shock absorber by creating a gap between the top plates of the hachi. It also provided comfort to the wearer and absorbed sweat.

Ukebari were regularly changed during the life of a kabuto as they become soiled. Many antique liners have been destroyed by signature hunters who rip through them to inspect the rear of the hachi rather than unpick the stitching, an ignorant and careless act. If the hachi is without the ukebari it can cause damage to the interior of the helmet bowl. This is the ofter the case with suji bachi where the underside prongs of the tehen kanamono break off from making repeated contact with a display stand.

Reproduction ukebari need to be avoided as the quality is very poor and the shape tends to be too round. Making your own replacement is a more rewarding undertaking and the helmet will benefit greatly from a well fitted bespoke liner.

 


1. Material – Use vintage if possible

Over the years I’ve spent time collecting remnants of old and vintage Japanese cloth for sangu and ukibari projects.
Japanese hemp asa is the most common cloth used to make ukebari.  Some high end helmets have a silk chairman outer. You can hunt these materials down on eBay under the vintage kimono section.  If you are stuck for vintage material use a cotton sheet.

Samurai Armour Restoration tip1

1.  Use some fabric PVA glue. Stroke the glue into the strands of the odoshi until an excess is removed.

odoshi-ito-braid-samurai

2. Cut the end of the odoshi off with a sharp craft knife or scissors. Twist the end between your fingers, add a little more PVA if required.

odoshi-ito-braid-samurai

3. Wipe the glue off your fingers with a damp rag. Sometimes you need to make around thirty tips, so making a finger bath is useful. Now you can leave the point to dry for a few hours. If you require the point to be less flexible (kebiki-odoshi) add some superglue to the PVA coated area.


Anchoring The Ends

If you are lacing in the kebiki style you will need to make an anchor to secure the odoshi in place. Also this rule applies to finishing a end once cut, even when lacing in sugake oddity you will need to cut an edging braid such as a mimi ito. Making a tidy anchor is easy to do.

odoshi-ito-braid-samurai

1. Leave about 5mm of the odoshi free. Add some fabric PVA to the end and allow it to start to cure.

odoshi-ito-braid-samurai

2. Trim the odoshi down to a few mm. The PVA will prevent it from fraying. Fold the braid fibres in on itself and compress them. After the stick form the fibres into a small ball. The anchor should look neat with no stray stands.


odoshi-ito-braid-samuraiPaper Plugs

Odoshi is never pulled tight, each strand should be able to sit comfortably in place. However the weight of the plates sometimes pulls the odoshi resulting in the undesired stretching of the braid. This is most common to the sugake style. To prevent this plug each hole with some washi paper. Cut a small square, damp it and swirl it into the hole using a dental tool. Once dry the paper should fill the hole and stop the odoshi from moving in either direction.

Suspension Stand

I have a special armour stand that acts as a frame. I can suspend items such as gessansode and shikoro for it allowing me to access both sides of the armour plates. Originally I used a wire adjustable shelving system like you see for office use. making the investment in a good stand will pay off, you can work faster, and most importantly you can hang each plate to ensure a level and correctly space distance is achieved.

odoshi-ito-braid-samurai