I am often asked if the patterns in What a Braid Kits, which are written with Foam Disk
braiders in mind, can also be done on the Marudai. Th answer is a simple "yes" with some qualifiers.
Both the Kumihimo Foam Disk and the Marudai are equally great tools. I often "design" on my disk. It is much easier, for me, to pick up my disk and load it with cord for a new project and test out new ideas. I always sample every kit on the foam disk. When I am making several color ways of the same design, I will braid the additional samples on my Marudai because the process is so much faster.
If you know how to braid on a Marudai and already have an understanding of tama weight and counterweight, you can adapt What a Braid kit patterns to the Marudai. The best What a Braid Kit patterns to adapt to the Marudai are any of the "all beaded" braids. When I say "all beaded" I am referring to those necklaces that have beads on every element, and a bead is dropped wth each move. These "all beaded" necklaces are typically 8/0 or 6/0 seed beads on C-Lon.
Tama & Counterweight: Generally speaking for many braids, the counterweight is half the tama weight. For example, if I am braiding an 8 strand Kongoh Gumi braid on the Marudai and my tama are each 70 grams, my total tama weight is 560 grams (70 grams x 8 = 560 grams). If the counterweight is half the tama weight, I would use 280 grams of counterweight (560 grams /2 = 280 grams). This a a good place to start. After I have started braiding, I always look at the point of braiding and the first couple of inches of my braid to "see and feel" the tension of my braid. I can adjust with more or less counter weight if I need to. When I am braiding on the Marudai with "all beads" (beads on all eight cords and dropping a bead every time) I start out with my counterweight being about 40% of my tama weight. I always check my braid as I am braiding. Too much counterweight will create a looser braid while less tama weight will result in a firmer braid. It is important, when you check your braid for firmness/tension, to lift up on the counter weight so the braid is not held under tension. You will get a more accurate read on your braid if you lift up on the counterweight tension!
Cord Lengths. If you have "leaders" on our tama you can cut your cord lengths per the instructions in the What a Braid patterns. The leaders allow you to make better use of the length of your cords. If you do not use leaders, and just loop the cord onto the tama, you may want to cut your cords longer to start with. The distance across the face of the disk is smaller than the distance on the mirror (top surface) of the Marudai.
Some kits are best done on the Foam Disk and these include Edge Bead Necklace, Cluster Bead Necklace, 12-Strand Ridge Spiral and any of the others that are basically Petite Satin Cord with 6/0 seed beads. I would rather make these necklaces on a Foam Disk.
Please feel free to email me if you have any questions or other thoughts on this!