Marudai Height: Most braiders like to sit in a chair so they choose the 26" height. Some people like the Japanese style (16") so that they can set the marudai on a box or low table to stand while they braid, or, of course, sit in a chair. 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: Most people also start with either 8 or 16, which is the number of tama that most authors offer in their books.
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.
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/
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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=id4M0v_FBWM&t=47s
Basic Marudai Technique 1: Tama Handling will help get you starting right on how to move the tama correctly.
Basic Ayatakedai: Kamakura-gumi twist. Occasionally a marudai braid needs to have the tama twisted and this video shows how to do that.
Organizations to join:
The American Kumihimo Society. Members get a lot of instruction for their membership and a yearly journal. https://amksoc.org/
The Braid Society in the UK is for other narrow textiles, they have a yearly journal that is excellent but not focused just on kumihimo. 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/