David Thatcher Katchushi

Katchushi Studio UK – List of Services

I am very pleased to be able to offer restoration services on all aspects of Japanese Armour. My workshops are divided into different areas that are solely devoted to Lacquer, Metal Work, Textiles and custom machinery for the production of Silk Braid. 

Before undertaking any commission I provide a written estimation of what I consider to be in need of repair together with options to ensure that your budgets are met in the most cost-effective way possible. 

All items in my care are insured for transit, storage, professional negligence and accidental damage. Not that this has ever been required, however, you have the security of knowing that your items are fully covered and in are in very safe hands.

Odoshi-ge – Lacing

Lacing is not as straightforward as one may imagine as there is something of an art to lacing an armour correctly.  There are special ways of twisting the braid into shapes, forming knots, finishing ends, plugging the braid holes with leather and creating a uniformed flat appearance. These skills require time to master and a badly laced armour is unforgivable as every error is clearly visible to the viewer.

I have studied lacing techniques in Japan and was complemented by the Master Katchushi Nishioka Sensei on my standard as being very good. I re-lace armours on a constant basis so you can be assured that my technique is equal to that of any Japanese Studio.

As I manufacture my own odoshi in the UK I can ensure that your armour braid is matched to exactly the right width and thickness. All dyes used are synthetic as natural dyes such as purple, orange and black cause damage to the silks molecular structure resulting in accelerated damage which leads to total destruction of the braid. Synthetics will preserve the braid for a longer duration.   

I can also offer custom made Shikagawa odoshi 鹿革威

Preparing Samurai Armour in the Lacing Room

The Restoration Path 修復の仕事

My study of urushi covered a wide spectrum of applications. From the artful Maki-e and shibu-nuri techniques to the robust finish required for smooth high gloss. Urushi is unlike any medium I have ever worked with and to date, I have never been able to find a suitable alliterative that can create the same finish with its hardened yet flexible composition.

Most of my work involves the use of urushi. I had to study for a number of years before I gained the confidence to work on armour as a katchushi. I like to divide the use of urushi in armour restoration into two sections, ground and shell. The ground is the foundation, I use a twenty step process where I apply difference grades of sabi-urushi, each grade is polished back to eventually create a smooth surface. Once the surface is prepared I can apply the outer shell, the pure urushi, this again has to be applied very carefully with a brush, each layer is polished back and eventually, a deep gloss is obtained.

One of my favourite areas of working with urushi is recreating the special lacquer effects found on armour. These include tataki-nuri which is a stipple effect, tetsu sabiji-nuri, a russet iron effect. I am now working more on the techniques that are common to kaga armours where flour, egg whites and tofu are used to create a wide variety of abstract patterns.