Recently during a seminar, sensei inspected our bows. One of the topics discussed was rattan and maintenance of it. Since the piece above the grip is affected by shooting the most, it has to be taken care of. Any damages on this part of the bow will be the most visible for any audience. Yasurido above the grip should be at least 6 cm long, therefore, if it’s longer, it can be rewrapped. Same quality strip of bamboo can be difficult to find outside of Japan, reusing the current one is an advantage. Here’s a description on how to do it at home.

As you can see from the photo above, the bottom 3 coils are quite used. This would be the part to cut off. First, wrap a moist towel around rattan. This will help to loosen it up from the bow and prevent rattan from breaking when unwrapping.

When the wrapping seems to have absorbed some water (after about 30 minutes); start with fetching the end from underneath the top whirl. A knife or other flat tool can be used to carefully lift rattan up and release the top knot.

Unwrapping rattan

Once rattan is unwrapped, put it in a bowl of water to soak up a bit more. This will help with softening the edges that were created by previous wrapping.

Soaking rattan

Take the rattan out of water and dry it off with a paper towel. Carefully cut off the part that is damaged. Test-wrap it around the bow to make sure that the ends will be tucked in on the back side of the bow. Direction of wrapping is from right to left. After measuring, thin out the new ends to make them slim enough to tuck into the wrapping. 

Thinning out rattan

Clean the bow before you start wrapping. Put some white glue at the starting point, and start rolling the rattan around the bow very tightly. Make sure to push down rattan with the other hand while wrapping it around. Once reached the end of the strand, put some glue on the bow and tuck the end in. Wipe off the excess glue.

My bow also has a small decorative wrapping above yasurido. You can carefully push it down to compensate for the larger distance between those 2 wrappings. Let rattan dry.

Next, cover rattan with some linseed oil and leave it to soak overnight. Repeat the process once more, if the new wrapping still feels (and sounds) crusty. Rattan should be oiled 1-2 times a year. Excess oil is removed with a piece of cloth or paper towel.

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