Konron custom project – or how to make a leather ito yourself.

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Article was written by Loke Emil Petersen

This Konron custom project included a green high quality cotton Japanese kaku-sageo. The fuchi/kashira are standard Konron-stuff. It’s actually quite nice, but needed some bling-bling to it. Abrasive paper took some shiny brass into the floral design. The tsuba has had a treatment with iron chloride, heat treatment and wax coating.

The saya is black gloss with horn fittings. Unfortunately I did not take any pics of the tsukamaki process (My hands were fully occupied).

Why even bother some of you might ask? It is expensive and demanding to do tsukamaki yourself. Yes, but that really isn’t why I chose to make my own ito. The main reason is that leather ito typically is made from three or more pieces glued together.

The result is somewhat so-so because the gluing leaves ugly joints – which are often left visible in the maki. I asked several suppliers if they could make a better solution. But that would either be too expensive (usd 200+) or just more or less impossible. Next thing, I found a nice longish piece of dark green ox hide, thickness 1mm. The hide is large enough for 20 leather itos. Cost: 26 euro.

From this hide I cut the ito by using a roller scissor. (Set pics in here). I Doubled the hide and with one cut I made two identical straps 10mm wide. The straps were glued together accordingly and voila one leather ito:10mm-460cm. When stretched rock hard over the tsuka and the small pieces of hishigami the ito narrows down to a perfect 7mm.

However the really neat trick here is that I folded the ito in such a way that the one joint was completely covered. To put it simple I just folded the joint itself underneath the overlapping fold by the first “diamond”. Got it?

Anyway, this is how my Japanese Swords project turned out.

how to make leather ito

Enjoy and hope you found this article useful and if you have any questions, just reply right here under this post