“The Kaku-dai has a square mirror, and is a tool used for braiding upwards. In some cases, the braided part is hung from a lintel or pole, but others are equipped with a hanging arm with a pulley attached to the top or a scale rod for hanging a string. In the old days, craftsmen would make their own equipment, so there is no fixed size for square mirrors, but today there are small square mirrors that are about 8 to 12 cm square, and large square mirrors that are about 20 cm square. 4 tama and 8 tama are mainly used as a small square stand, and those with a large number of tama are used as a large square stand depending on the number of tama used. There is a hole in the center of the mirror, and a core is placed here to hold the braiding point. There are three types of core: needle core, square core, and flat core. A needle core is a needle as thick as a tatami needle held up on a shaft at a height of 1 to 1.5 cm, and is used for setting thread on Kaku-dai and for braiding up to eight tama. A square core is a metal rod with a square cross section that stand about 3.5 to 5 cm from the core part, and is used when the number of tama is 8 or more. A flat core is a metal rod with a rectangular cross section that stands about 3.5 to 5 cm above the core part, and is used when tying together flat braids. The flat core may be set horizontally or vertically. Generally, in Kakudai, the braided threads are twisted, so cloth is wrapped around the legs as shown in the diagram. This cloth prevents the tama from rotating and prevents them from untwisting.” (1)

“How the Kakudai differs from the Marudai

  1. The mirror is square
  2. The braid develops upward from the stand
  3. The braid is always within view, so you will notice any mistakes
  4. Most of the threads are twisted
  5. You move the threads by sliding them around the corners instead of picking them up
  6. The Kakudai enables you to use special techniques (for instance, those used to make kamogawa-gumi, chirimen-gumi and ajiro-gumi)” (2)

(1). Tada, Makiko. “KAKU-DAI Questions”. Received by Beth Hardy, 17Feb. 2024.

(2). Saikai, Aiko, Tada, Makiko. “KUMIHIMO The Essence of Japanese Braiding”. Lacis. 2004.

(3). Mitsuko, Harano. Material tools. 1981.“Kumihimo on the Corner Stand”. Nippon Vogue Company Ltd. 1981, p (26,30,38)

  Braids made on a Kaku-dai (3)

 

 

 

 

 

Kaku-dai Corner Stand (3)

 

 

 

 

 

The three types of Kaku-dai cores (3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cotton cloth wrapped around the legs of the Kaku-dai minimizes the spin of the tama while braiding. This helps keep the twist in the threads. (3)

 

 

 

A print from the Iga Museum of a braider using a Kaku-dai.