I was born in London in 1965. During the 80’s my family relocated to the city of Milton Keynes. In the 2000’s after getting married with children, I moved to Towcester, near the Silverstone Grand Prix Racetrack where I work from my studio and workshops located next to my house.
I’ve always been fascinated by the samurai warriors of Japan. This interest has taken brought a wonderful journey where through the martial arts I have been able to gain a valuable insight into the warrior’s mindset. Since the age of eight, I began studying the budo Japanese arts of Jiu-Jitsu, Jodo, Kendo, Iai-do and Ken-Jitsu. As a young man, I would train every evening and weekend. Over the years I have been able to learn from many renowned masters, some of which who have taken me under their wing as a personal student, to whom I am gratefully indebted. I have won UK National and European championships in the sword arts and have been a member of the British squad for Iaido and Jiu-Jitsu. For me, I feel that the study of budo is very close to the art of restoration in terms of personal discipline and concentration. I also believe that there is honour in repairing armours that once were owned by warriors, and that it brings good kama.
I am also an avid collector of japanese arms and armour. My favourite armours are from the sengoku jidai, the age of war. I prefer the basic robust armours used through the Muromachi and Momoyama period to the arty armours of the edo period. Function over flamboyance is my choice.
Working as a restorer I have been able to handle thousands of items of armour, from the high ranking daimyo grades to the lowly ashigaru foot soldiers.
Life is good, and I’m living the dream.
A sunny afternoon in katchuland. 2017
If you have an item of armour that requires repair please feel free to contact me. I am happy to offer a free estimation and produce a detailed report of what work is required. The report will contain a step-by-step breakdown of each task together with a pricing option.
Pricing & Payments
My pricing is very fair and competitive compared to other restorers. My clients pay via two methods, either on completion of the task or in instalments as the project is ongoing. I’m flexible on terms and just want to make sure that everyone is satisfied.
Dave Thatcher is not just a merchandiser he is an enthusiast and craftsmen with regards to everything Katchu. I personally have purchased from Dave on several occasions, he goes the extra mile, he is not just in this for profit he gives great advice and is a dealer to be trusted in an area that is a potential minefield for the novice.
P. Curruthers UK
I had long wanted to add a vintage Kabuto and Menpo to my collection but had been fearful of fakes and bad restoration work and my general lack of knowledge in such a complicated area of collecting. When I contacted Dave he went above and beyond to introduce me to the world of Japanese armour with no obligation to purchase anything. Many hours were spent in his house going through his vast collection and eventually discussing a suitable purchase. Originality was very important to me, and also the desire to buy something that wouldn’t fall apart in a short space of time and he went to great pains to make sure that my requirements were met.
I’m extremely happy with my purchase which now has pride of place in my collection. When I came to collect them I brought my family along as they were also interested, Dave spent more time showing them his collection which enthused my 13-year-old son enough to save up and make his first purchase of a Hanpo.
Anyone who is interested in purchasing or having Katchu restored would be well served to talk to Dave as he is genuinely passionate about his work. It’s truly refreshing to meet someone who is more concerned about everything being right than making a “fast buck” at a customers expense.
Iain Eyres UK
Dave Thatcher has carried out the lacquering of a helmet for me and the result is superb. His knowledge of Japanese armour and the techniques used in their construction enables him to carry out restorations to a standard as good as that used by their original makers. I have therefore no hesitation in recommending him to anyone wanting armour restored.
formerly Senior Curator of Oriental Arms and Armour, The Royal Armouries, Leeds
I live in Sweden, here we do not have any conserver/restorer of Japanese armor.
During the years of collecting I have sent numerous items for conservation and restoration Complete armours, kabuto, masks and sangu alike. Dave does undertake the work with the utmost professionalism. He does not only excel regarding lacquer work but is also with metals and textiles.
I have always been happy with the quality of his work. He is also affordable and that makes my items retain and raise its value.
Dave also has the “artistic eye” being able to advise you what to do, how to do it, but not the least, what not to do, equally important.
I am a very content customer and will always return.
Dr Anthony de Vos
Dave Thatcher is a true artisan in the world of Katchu I have personally bought a few items this year from him that he has masterly restored and preserved with the same skill and spirit as the craftsmen who originally made these items. I would highly recommend him as a dealer in Katchu that you can trust and seek advice from at any time. He has helped me countless times with questions I have on the world of samurai armour and guided me on aftercare of the purchases I have made from him.
Robert Boyd U.K