Saturday, May 21, 2011

Homemade Naginata Case (and how I made it)

(click to view larger)
After I bought my naginata, I wanted to get something to carry it in.  In Japan, people use naginata bags, which are basically flat pieces of fabric with some ties attached that you roll around the naginata.  However, I wanted something that would also get my naginata back to the U.S. in one piece when I leave Japan -- a rigid case.  In the Kendo World Naginata Forum[1] I read about someone using a fishing rod case, and elsewhere on the web I read about how to make your own inexpensive fishing rod case, so I put two and two together and made my own naginata case.

Although one can disassemble a wood-and-bamboo naginata to make it slightly shorter, I made the case large enough to accommodate a fully-assembled one because one day I might also have an entirely-wood naginata and I'd want to use the case for that too!  Since I only have one naginata, I'm not sure how many can fit into the case at the same time.  I think I'll have no problem fitting at least two, which is as many as I'm likely to ever carry around at a given time.

The rigid part of the case is made from PVC pipe.  It's really easy to cut; I used the saw on my Leatherman.  The pipe I have is labelled '75'; its inner diameter is about 3.25 inches to accommodate the curve of the ha (blade).  I put a plain (closed) end-cap on one end and on the other a sleeve connecting the pipe to a threaded end-cap (i.e. you can screw off the cap to open the case).  I cleaned the joining areas with nail polish remover and then used PVC cement to bond them together.  Voila!  A sturdy waterproof case.

Next I made it pretty and easy to carry by sewing a cover for the case.  I couldn't find the fabric that naginata bags are traditionally made from, so I opted for some pretty men's yukata fabric.[2]  I interfaced it with a heavier fabric in the center section to support the straps.  A sturdy stain-resistant fabric covers the ends.  I put a 1-foot-long zipper around the top that allows one to access the screw-off cap.

The most expensive part of the whole project were the straps, because I bought nice pre-made ones.  I could've made my own or torn some off an existing bag, but I don't have many tools or an old bag here in Japan.  When walking outside I like to carry the case on my back by slinging the shoulder strap diagonally across my body; once I get indoors I use the handle.


[1] Which is a great resource, by the way!
[2] Or at least that's what I think it is.  I opted for men's because the coloration is more subdued and I didn't want my case to stand out as any more different than it already is.


  1. You know I have a bo staff that I've wanted to make a case for. I bet I could use this same idea!

  2. Same here: I've got a boken and some shinai that I want to transport in a water proof case. So I'm definitely going to make a copy of your design :)

  3. And there we go! I thought you might be interested in seeing our project in progress. Phase one is complete and we now have water tight carriers. The next phase will be to cover the tubing in some nicer looking fabrics.

    See here ->

  4. And the finished carrier!

    See here ->

  5. yay callin! this is where i wish blogger had a "like" button.