Last month I ordered a new skin (takenogawa) from McClain's and set about re-covering my very fine Murasaki baren. Oops. I split the skin before I could even get half the baren wrapped. And I only had one skin! So there's lesson #1. If you've never done it before, buy more than one skin.
I found out that my friend Rick Finn was trying to learn to wrap a baren at the same time I was, so I checked out his new blog to see how it was going for him. He was smart enough to buy three skins to begin with, but even then he wasn't able to successfully wrap his baren. I felt better about myself (sorry Rick) after reading his account. Rick, by the way, makes beautiful grayscale reduction print portraits of petty criminals from old mug shots -- check them out. Anyhow, Rick finally got his baren covered and, this morning, so did I. It was nice to have online company getting through this first hurdle. So lesson #2 is, get as much help and moral support as you can.
Here are some great resources for help in re-covering your baren:
+ David Bull's online step-by-step
+ David Bull's e-book "Your First Print"
+ Ryusei Okamoto's step-by-step photo tutorial
All three are excellent. Dave Bull's e-book is especially great because it has a video of the entire process (plus there are chapters on every aspect of the craft). And the very awesome thing about Ryusei Okamoto's photos is that at the end he has a very clear demonstration of how to tie the finishing knot. Only after seeing his photos could I could figure that out.
However. What I'm about to show you is a very poor imitation of a proper baren re-covering project. I know that you might tease me, but I show you these photos in the spirit of showing my whole process, warts and all.
The lovely baren wrap by Matt Brown.
The ugly baren wrap by the blog author.
You can see here that in addition to having extra material along the baren edges, I also have fewer tight little tucks AND I obviously neglected to fold the raw edges under as I tucked. These edges will no doubt be annoying as I use the baren. The other glaring error is that I twisted one side of the "handle" clockwise and the opposite side counterclockwise. This means the two sides of the handle are fighting each other and so they don't sit up straight
However, I can say four positive things about the job I did.
1. I did it.
2. I learned what it feels like, what's hard, what's easy.
3. I'll never again have to do it for the first time.
4. Because my new cover is too loose and too uneven, I'll have the opportunity to try it again very soon!
Anyway, I show you the following photo in the spirit of cheering myself up:
Forced forsythia in my living room.