Red Silk Flat Braid

Time to try it with nicer material.

Shige Uchi in Red Silk Thread

Finally, we get to the heart of the matter. My experiments to find a wide and flat braid were centered around the lacing used to make Japanese armor. Not that I'm likely to make armor any time soon, but the question does come up occasionally of "what's the best braid to use for armor?" In my opinion, it's this one.

This shige uchi braid is fast to braid, and is the widest 8-strand braid I've been able to find. I did this braid all in red silk thread that I bought from a mail-order place in Japan. The thread came in a big skein like yarn does, and I measured it out on traditional-style bodai warping posts. This meant wrapping the thread back and forth between vertical rods to build up a bundle wide enough for braiding. Each strand of the braid has 40 threads in it! Yet, the completed braid is only about a quarter inch wide.

Based on the rough estimate of 100 yards of braid in a typical suit of armor, I'd need to get eight or nine more skeins of thread to make enough braid for armor. I'd also need to spend about a year braiding it since all the braids I've made in the past year of braiding add up to about 316 feet of braid. Like I said, not very likely to be done soon.

2009.09.23 at 12:00am EDT