Together with the Shitodome, the Kurigata (sometimes also spelled, Kurikata) is a protrusion about 1/3 down from the saya opening used to secure the sageo cord to the scabbard, which is in turn untied and attached to a Japanese Sword Art Practitioners belt (obi).
WHAT IT IS MADE FROM: The cheapest, most basic Japanese sword scabbards simply make this protrusion from the same wood as the scabbard itself. Better scabbards make it from Buffalo horn, but it can even be made from steel, silver or alloyed materials as pictured below.
HOW MUCH IT COSTS: A single Japanese made Kurigata made from silver or buffalo horn typically costs between $65 to $100 depending on the material. Wooden ones are the cheapest of course, and add a negligible amount to the total price and are typically made from the same wood as the saya itself.
COMMON PROBLEMS: The first and most common problem with Kurikata is that atmospheric conditions different to where the saya was made can cause the wood to expand or contract slightly, breaking the traditional rice or pine glue bonds to the saya and causing the Kurigata to pop off, often taking away some of the lacquer in the process. It is especially common on the more expensive buffalo horn versions as the horn does not expand at the same rate as the wood, causing it to detach a lot easier.
If it does come loose like the picture above, it is a relatively easy fix - simply allow the saya about a week to acclimatize so that it does not happen a second time, and them simply re-glue the knob using wood glue or even better, gorilla glue. Any damage to the lacquer can be repaired with a touch up of clear lacquer or, if it is black, black nail polish.
The second most common issue has to do with threading the sageo cord through the eye of the hole. Quite a few Sageo come with deliberatly frayed edges, making them hard to push through. However, it can be fed through the hole using a flat screwdriver, dipped in wax to temporarily make it solid enough to pass through, or even wrapped in a paper cone.
I hope this information on Kurigata has been helpful. To return to Samurai Sword Terminology from Kurigata, click here