About my question regarding lacing beneath the hishinui: I just remembered that I also plan to have uname garami on the hishinui no ita. This means that I'd have another opportunity to hide structural lacing under ornamental lacing if I felt that it was necessary
Dave, in my other thread you suggested book binding leather for wrapping the iyo zane before lacquering. Do you know how thick it should be? By looking for it online, I found suppliers that offer 0.5-.6 mm skins, but also parchment that's only 0.1-.2 mm thick. Which made me wonder: how thin is thin enough...?
All, after looking at the photos of the front part of my dou, which I posted in my photo diary thread, Dave and Ian pointed out that on tosei gusoku, the lowest lame in the nakagawa dou ineeds to be shaped to enable it to sit on the hip bones. While I have seen patterns for tosei dou with that feature that consist of massive lames, I have no clue how Japanese armourers shaped lames made of hon ko- or iyozane.
This is where I ask for help from you: if you own a tosei dou of scales, I'd be forver grateful if you could take a photo or two of the lowest lame and post it here so that we can discuss how the shaping was done. When I get home I'll consult the photos in Ian's book to see if I can learn something there. Another point to consider here is the lower edge that is angled out to make wearing the dou more comfortable. I'm interested in the proportions of the angle and if the shita garami was affected by this or not.
It seems to me that these are aspects that had not received too much attention before. It would be awesome if we could figure them out!
Dave, that was really quick, thanks a ton! I recognize the way the lower edge is bent outwards from patterns (for plate lames) on Anthony Bryant's site. To be honest, when I saw them, I thought "Nope, can't do that with scales anyway" and just forgot about them. Boy, was I wrong... Looking at your photos, it seems to me that if I want to bend out the lower edge on my armour, I need to come up with another lacing pattern, otherwise the shita garami will be in the way. Edit: by the way, those are some unusual watagami! Are they riveted to the lames?
Regarding the shaping of the lowest lame so that the dou sits on the hip bones, I did a little research myself last night and found some photos in Ian's book as well as an interesting thread on this forum. They lead me to the theory that the height of the lowest scales has to decrease towards the sides. But let's look at what I've found first:
In Ian's "Arms and Armour of the Samurai" on page 107, top left, there's a photo of a byo toji okegawa dou with orange odoshi. I can't tell if it's kiritsuke or hon iyozane, but what's remarkable about it is that the holes for the yurugi ito seem to rise towards the side - at least on the visible side of the front half of the dou. This implies that the lower edge of the lame rises as well, but is hidden behind the yurugi ito.
On p.113, two dou are shown. While the yurugi ito no ana seem to rise on the left one (the distance between them and the sugake odoshi cross laces looks like it decreases), they seem to form a level line on the right dou, which is described as a hon iyozane nuinobe dou. It is kinda hard to say though, as both dou are only depicted in front view. This "comparison" brought up the idea in my head that, instead of having the yurugi ito no ana rise to the sides, one could also place them higher in general so that the shape of the lower edge of the dou would not influence them to begin with. Again, I'm speculating here as the yurugi ito is too dense to tell what's going on underneath it.
On p.142, there's a go mai dou gusoku. The dou itself could be of hon kozane (the description does not tell), and it seems like the lowest lame in the front section is taller in the middle than on the sides. But as before, hands on would be the only way to make sure.
Two years ago, Ian posted photos of an unusual dou in the thread A novel dou. Judging from the photos of the naked inside of the dou, I'd say that the scales get shorter not only towards the side, but even more as they reach the backside:
Ian, can you confirm this? Now, this dou is not constructed with shita garami, the scales in one row are held together by the sugake odoshi's cross laces on the top and (originally) leather thongs on the bottom. That's why the lower half of the lowest lame is not occupied by shita garami no ana and can thus be cut shorter.
Considering all this, I arrived at the theory that tosei dou of hon ko-/iyozane were shaped to sit on the hip bones by decreasing the height of the scales in the lowest lame towards the side - maybe even farther around. I deem it possible that those lames incorporated lacing patterns that differed from shita garami, in order to be able to shorten the scales and/or bent them outwards for a better fit. I'd love to hear/read what you gentlemen think about this idea. I'd not even mind being proven wrong by photographic evidence
David, You are right in assuming the scales in the haramaki are shorter over the hips. The same will be true of hon kozane and iyozane. Do not worry too much about the lower row of shita garami for the iyozane as long as you have the upper row lacing the scales to the kawa shiki. Once the row is wrapped in leather it will be stable enough. As for the yurugi ito holes, on some dou they run in a straight line irrespective of the shape of the lower edge of the dou - on others they echo the shape of the lower edge. Ian B
Dave, can I read your post as an invitation to come to the UK and gain some experience with real armour?
Ian, thanks for confirming my assumptions about the scales! I'm not sure yet if I want my yurugi ito to emerge from an even or an uneven row of holes... but as long as it is a matter of taste, I don't see it as a problem.
Thus, my plan is as follows: seperate the lowest row from my dou and reuse one part of it as the first row in the right backside of the nakagawa dou. The remaining part may end up as one of the rear tateage. Next, I'll have to decide how short the shortest scales on the sides are going to be and mark both the cutting and bending lines on them. The rest is obvious