Back Handle (TSUKA) Wrapping Service Home

Our handle (Tsuka) wrapping service has been satisfying customers for over 23 year.  Our continued success is a result of our skilled craftsmen who have been 'Japanese' trained in the subtle nuances that make a wrapped handle look 'Great' instead of merely acceptable.

Learn more about our exclusive TSUNAMI handle wrapping cord (Tsuka-ito).

A camera, a computer and lighting must be in sync to reproduce the same shades of colors and so, not all of the colors are accurate.. Samples are available. 

Starting at the top are Coal Black, Coral, Brown, Cranberry Red, Ivy Green and Navy Blue

Because of its similarity to genuine suede leather and the fact that is more easily cleaned, TSUNAMI is very popular with those who 'use' their swords for practice.  It is available in the standard 8mm (1/4 inch) width.


I was contacted some time ago by 'Greg' who identified himself as a prospective customer who wanted to know more about our 'exclusive' TSUNAMI handle wrapping cord (Tsukaito). Because Russ McCartney of Seattle has an established a GUINNESS World Record cutting GOZO (mat's) using his sword wrapped with TSUNAMI,  I suggested to Greg that he should contact Russ directly because he would receive an opinion from an very active 'user' who has a great deal of first hand experience with our TSUNAMI. The following is a copy of Greg's inquiry and a reply from Russ.


 GREG  inquired:     'Mr. McCartney, Fred Lohman suggested that it would be O.K. if I contacted you for information in regard to the TSUNAMI cord your working swords are wrapped with. I have a high-end Iaito which is my primary practice sword but the silk Tsuka ito is wearing out right where it sits in the crotch of my thumb. Obviously I want my handles rewrapped so it will last many years, and will not fall apart.   Has your experience with Fred's work been 100% satisfactory, and is the TSUNAMI good to practice with?     Thanks in advance, Greg'.

Russ replied:  "Greg, I would recommend Fred's TSUNAMI to everyone who is interested in a durable long lasting slip resistant Tsuka.  Its texture and feel is far superior to any of the materials that I have used in the past (I have tried them all) and consistently meets my requirements for durability and most importantly, reliability and longevity.  Of course various sorts of handle wrap material can do the job under light training conditions yet the TSUNAMI wrap holds up under the duress of hundreds of swings without gumming up like suede leather (either Cow or Deer) or become slick like silk. Additionally, with Fred's TSUNAMI, there is not the heat issues from friction that accompany heavy training schedules.  I have had over 15 swords wrapped in as many years and given the opportunity to do it again, I would have used Fred's TSUNAMI on them all. Fred's handle wrapping service is extra-ordinary both from the quality of the material to the symmetry of the diamonds to the tightness of the twists.  Fred had a winning combination."

 Domo Desu,   Russell McCartney  Founder and Chief Instructor   Shin Koryu, IshiYama Battojutsu and Peak Performance Sword Systems PH: 206.321.8878 Email:                   ( An unsolicited testimonial that tells it like it is !  )


Leather Wrap

Two of the hottest products are our LEATHER and our TSUNAMI handle wrapping materials.   Lying below on silk brocade is one of our black leather wrapped handles.  On display is the combination of our top grade non-stretch leather and the skill of a professional handle wrapper.

Our Leather (# 1 grade) is available in both Black and Brown.

Most leather will stretch like a rubber band but we solved that problem as ours is 100% 'non-stretch'. .which means that during the wrapping process, it can be cinched up tight and will not loosen even when under heavy use.

Although it was initially introduced at $5 per foot and competitively priced in Japan at $6 to $8 per foot, the popularity of our leather has made it possible for us to offer it at the same $4 per foot price as our TSUNAMI and our Silk.  The leather is available in the following widths: 8mm, 6.5mm and 4mm.

Psssss't.. Pass it around.... we also provide BLACK Stingray skin as an option (FREE) !


SILK handle wrapping material (Tsuka-ito)

The following is a 'PAY ATTENTION TEST'    WE recently discovered we have a roll of

genuine SUEDE LEATHER ITO, first come, first serve. still only $4 per foot ! 


220cm ( 7 foot ) long SAGEO .. 2 colored not available in Katana length

Katana SAGEO  (5.5 foot)


(Tanto) String Wrap

Battle Wrap

Battle wrap ( below ).. cord wrapped over the top of Menuki

Tsunami cord (below)

Standard wrap

Tachi Wrap

Click here to view an illustrated breakdown of a sword handle (Tsuka)


A small display of a variety of wrapping styles.   

The above image (Fred Lohman original) is one of several that have been 'stolen' (Photo shopped) and can currently be found on other web sites.  (They talk the talk but can't walk the walk.)  Careful who you trust with your sword because anyone who steals images, .. well..!


Handle (Tsuka) replacement

We recommend that customers to give an eyeball inspection of the wood portion (the wooden 'core' or 'foundation') of older handles for cracks and/or other damage, especially in the area of the Mekugi-ana (peg hole) where many swords display damage.  Most WW-2 handles are at least 70 years old and in many cases, have not been well cared for. Wood deteriorates and if damage is obvious, safety becomes an issue and handle replacement is often recommended.

Be it a NATIONAL TREASURE or the handle of your favorite brush cutter, if it needs help, we can do it.

Our service costs are as follows:

  • Handle wrapping charge: Only $250 ( your choice of cord included in the price)


  • 'International' return postage is $35 & domestic is $10


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Our handle wrapping and sword restoration service is available to owners of ww-2 military Swords, old Japanese Swords, Chinese made copy Japanese Swords and domestically produced Japanese style replica Swords... just about anything but the $25 display swords.

Remember, If it's not 'Made in Japan', it's not a genuine, real honest to goodness Japanese sword. 

Most of 'Japanese Swords' displayed on EBAY that are in the under $500 price range are Chinese copies and some are nicely decorated to make them appear to be old and perhaps valuable in the eyes of the novice. The Chinese are super talented and have been making ww-2 swords that look really close to genuine Japanese swords, many with prices that range from $250 to whatever they think they can get.... one recently reported to be 'selling' for $3800 (three thousand eight hundred Dollars), obviously aimed at those who think that if the price is high, it must be a good sword. So, BEWARE... and in addition, there are more than a few 'locals' plus a few Australians and Europeans who also must have purchased Chinese swords thinking they were genuine and are trying to dump them at gun shows, flea markets, EBAY and elsewhere saying that they are Grandpa's 'take home' sword from Japan'. Again, be aware...and last but not least, I recently heard another 'story' that some sword sellers on EBAY are telling people that their blades were made in Japan . . and then sent to China to have handles & scabbards added....which is just another bit of creative storytelling. Be careful of what you buy.  Don't complain and expect sympathy... you have been warned!

Mailing Your Handle (Tsuka)

It is recommended that you use the U.S. Postal Service to mail your handles or swords and to make sure to send them "INSURED MAIL".   Unlike UPS, FED-EX or DHL, our Postman will not leave your property on our shop address without a signature.  Special shipping instructions are available for mailing blades that are not in regular mounts or Shirasaya.   When packaging for shipment, because they are a real mess to deal with, please do not use plastic 'peanuts'.


If you are unable to remove the handle from the sword, it is best to send the entire sword but return postage/insurance charges must be added.  Please, do not send your sword bag.


We try to maintain normal 'turn around time' for Tsuka (handle repair) to 3 and 4 weeks. Please do not send swords or handles without first calling:  (503) 282-4567 or sending an e-mail to confirm an appointment and to receive additional shipping instructions if needed.


Wrapping cord (Tsuka-ito) samples (if necessary) are available for $15 (postage included).  The sample pack consists of short strips of all materials and all available colors.


While it is not recommended that anyone who is untrained and does not possess the proper tools, we are occasionally contacted by those who jump at the chance (the challenge) of doing the cord wrapping themselves. To satisfy the needs, all cord is priced at $4 per foot and because our SILK, LEATHER, Suede and TSUNAMI are totally 100% 'NON-STRETCH', all are provided with the assurance that the cord { if properly wrapped & tied off } will not loosen after use.

The QUESTION:    "HOW MUCH CORD WILL I NEED to wrap my handle ?"

The ANSWER: Using this this simple FORMULA, the answer is easy:  Measure the 'inch length' of your handle and convert the 'inches' to 'feet' and add 4 more feet of cord.  In other words, an 8 inch handle will need 12 feet of cord and a 9 inch handle will need 13 feet, etc. 

Handle-wrapping Prices


 'Stingray skin'

We are the major supplier of SAMEGAWA (Stingray skin) to those of that are involved in sword handle {Tsuka} restoration. Please be assured that only high grade and reasonably priced skins are used in the construction of newly made handles. We recommend its replacement if the existing skin shows signs of wear (small cracks, separations or missing pieces),

IF you prefer to restore your own handle, Stingray skin is available and custom sizes can be made available to fit your individual needs.  The skin pieces (natural rawhide, 4 inches wide) are priced at $5 per running inch and for an 9 inch handle, the cost is only $45
IF you are already aware of how to get the skin to conform to the shape of the handle,  Great ! (if not, ask! )  The next step (if you want black colored skin) is for you to apply black lacquer to the skin. Use a 'Spray can' or even enamel applied with an artist brush. That's how it's done, not a mystery...Simple and easy !

Chemically 'Tanned' skins are available from other sources but because the rough nodes were ground off, the skin is smooth and not functional enough to be used on Japanese sword handles.

The Japanese used the natural rough Stingray skin under the cord to prevent sliding and loosening.  Additionally, the skin is also directional in that it is rougher when 'petted' (rubbed) in one direction and less so the other direction. Therefore, care should be taken to insure that the skin is oriented properly so that it is rougher when rubbed in the direction toward the end of the handle.


Call for details:    503-282-4567


-or- write to:

FRED LOHMAN - 3405 N.E. Broadway -

Portland, OR  97232-1818   U.S.A.