Marudai Height: Most braiders like to sit in a chair so they choose the 26" high Western style. Some people like the Japanese style (16") so that they can kneel when braiding. They can also use a box, a stack of books or a low table in order to stand or get just the right height. Many braiders buy both sets of legs so they can be ready for anything!
Mirror Size: Braiders usually choose the 10" mirror as it will hold up to 24 tama. Those people who want more room as they use more tama and those who know that they will want to use as many as 32 tama opt for the 12" mirror. More tama mean more detail in the braid.
Tama: Our customers find that 70g tama are the most versatile and they start with either 8 or 16 of them. More tama allow the braider to have more complex braids in patterns and interlacement.
Books: For new marudai braiders we suggest the following:
Jacqui Carey's book Beginner’s Guide to Japanese Braiding: The Art of Kumihimo is great for new braiders, she offers several 8 tama braids with excellent photos throughout. https://braidershand.com/japanese-braiding-the-art-of-kumihimo/
Catherine Martin was the first non-Japanese person to graduate from the Domyo School in Japan. Her book is Kumihimo: Japanese Silk Braiding Techniques and offers braider’s excellent instruction. https://braidershand.com/kumihimo-japanese-silk-braiding-techniques-by-catherine-martin/
Rodrick Owen's book Braids: 250 Patterns from Japan, Peru, and Beyond is out of print but it is an excellent book that you can find on online used bookstores, usually for less than $30. We keep this information on our website to make it easier for our customers to learn about the book. https://braidershand.com/braids-250-patterns-from-japan-peru-and-beyond/
This book is now being offered as a PDF at Taproot Video. https://www.taprootvideo.com/preview_class.jsf?iid=13&cid=1
We carry Rodrick's DVD on using the marudai, it is very good when you have no instructor nearby. https://braidershand.com/dvd-japanese-braiding-marudai/
Michael Hattori has made some very helpful videos for marudai braiders:
How to tie on a leader, which you could use on the disk if you want to be able to braid almost to the end of the threads. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3WNx7EB4oU&t=62s
Ito Sabaki, how you prepare the traditional threads for braiding. He is demonstrating using a marudai but if you are using the disk simply put it on a table with a heavy book to keep it in place as you work.
Basic Marudai Technique 1: Tama Handling will help get you starting right on how to move the tama correctly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usECDjndJ9k&t=5s
Basic Ayatakedai: Kamakura-gumi twist. Occasionally a marudai braid needs to have the tama twisted and this video shows how to do that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IjeYUux88Q&t=9s
Organizations to join:
The American Kumihimo Society https://amksoc.org/
The Braid Society in the UK celebrates all narrow textiles. https://thebraidsociety.wildapricot.org/
If you haven't read our Shipping Conundrum, before you place your order, please do so you won't be alarmed by the high shipping estimate. https://braidershand.com/ordering-shipping/