Our standard takadai (tah-cuh-dye) is made to use while sitting in a chair. It is constructed of hard maple with a hand rubbed shellac finish and is easily broken down for traveling. It is 26.5" (67.5cm) high and 33.5" (86cm) wide by 28.75" (73cm) deep. It comes with eighteen 6-pin koma (carriages with small dowels in them). If you want to increase the number of tama on your standard takadai in order to make wider braids you can get 9-pin koma instead of the usual 6-pin or consider an Extended Takadai.
The Extended takadai has been designed to allow the braider to make wider braids with twenty-two 9-pin koma. So if you have been thinking it would be nice to make a wide sash or scarf, this is the tool. It is 3.54" (90mm) deeper from front to back as the arms are 3.54" (90mm) longer and the torii is 13.38" (340mm) wide. The longer arms allow as many as 162 working tama and wider braids! See Options for price.
We use a fastener system that was originally developed for use in conference booths because they were reassembled so often. Our takadai can also be assembled and disassembled thousands of times without worry that there will be any failure of the bolt and dowel pin assembly.
The 85 gram tama are traditionally used with the takadai, however 70 gram tama and 35 gram tama may also be used. Softer more flexible braids need less weight than firm braids. Thirty tama are the minimum number to get started on the takadai; our regular takadai holds 84 however most patterns don't go over 68.
~History of the Takadai~
The Japanese takadai is a large piece of equipment where the braider kneels on a board or sits on a stool inside the stand. Obliquely interlaced braids can be made on two or on all four arms, they can be flat, shaped or tubes, one color or many, sporting images or patterns.
This version of the takadai was created in the Edo period (1603 -1867) to make the double cloth braid known as ayadashi; the characteristics of these strong stiff braids are a motif that can be repeated at will and are made using all four arms.
Our takadai are smaller allowing the braider to sit in front of the stand where she can weave her hand over and under the threads as needed for her pattern. The sword is entered into the resulting shed (space between the layers of threads) and holds it open so that the tama at the far end, away from the braider can be cast through and laid to rest on the opposite arm of the takadai nearest the braider. The sword then beats the threads into place and the braider repeats her movements on the other side of the braid. The moveable koma hold the threads and when empty at the far end of the takadai are removed and placed again in their groove nearest the braider to accept new threads as they are cast through the shed.