Ito – Wrapping of a Samurai Sword
Ito is commonly referred to as Tsuka-Ito which means handle wrapping or handle cord. Its main purpose is both aesthetic and functional, it reinforces the tsuka and prevents techanical failure when using the sword. This plays a good role by lifting towards the turns and makes it even. This will tighten the entire sword making process. We offer two styles of wrapping your ito, battle wrap (Katate Maki) and traditional wrap (Tsumami Maki) you can use whether you prefer rayon, leather or synthetic leather. Leather cords are considered to be the finest because it is non-stretch. This means there will be no stretching. each selection have different variation of colors and style.
The ito wrap is more than a decorative feature in a Katana. Here are some of its features and the materials use for the cords:
- Cotton – This Katana Ito material is affordable. It is both absorbent and durable.
- Leather – Leather is pretty durable and have a tight holding of the handle
- Silk or Rayon – has a smooth feel and is highly durable. using real silk is expensive and rayon is a great alternative.
- Suede – Has a positive grip and is as durable as leather
- Synthetic Leather – lower cost then real leather and the feels smooth. It is not slippery and is pretty durable
Cotton has the disadvantage of being easily discolored and grubby due to regular wear and tear. Use clean hands because any dirt from sweat, blood and grime can get imbedded in the Ito over time. This means it will lose its patina. A smart looking sword with great parts will not look the same way in the future without proper maintenance. In the long run, a simple problem like this can destroy even a highly treasured sword. Leather made wraps rarely needs cleaning. A simply wiping using a damp cloth or cleaner can get the job done. Using warm water with mild detergent and a toothbrush will clean leather made ito.
Swords without Ito
Shirasaya Swords are popular among sword enthusiasts. It is the goal for those who love Japanese swords to own one of these swords. Shirasaya when translated means plain scabbard. This is in reference to the clean design and it does not have an tsuka wrap, normally Shirasaya swords have a natural wood handle and saya and do not feature the other fitting traditional Katana and Wakizashi feature.