A chopstick is needed when braiding on a marudai either with fiber or beaded braids. The chopstick is placed at the point of braiding (POB) whenever you are not braiding and especially when you take a break and leave the marudai unattended.
Just about any type of chopstick can be used, bamboo, metal or even a free disposable one from an Asian restaurant.
The chopstick needs to be placed in position on top of the point of braiding under the marudai mirror. Gently pull the braid down from underneath and insert the chopstick through the cords on top of the POB. Try to center the chopstick so there are approximately the same number of cords on each side. Let go of braid and the chopstick will be held firmly in place. This insures that the warps do not move out of position if the marudai is accidentally knocked or bumped. Also, you can now remove the counter weight (CW) to check your braid.
IMPORTANT: Be sure to reattach the CW prior to removing the chopstick.
If you forget to place the chopstick at the POB to secure your braid while you are not braiding, it is very possible that the marudai may get moved and the tama will all fall to one side, the resulting mess will be a hard lesson, but you won’t forget again!
Chopstick hack: A smooth ball point pen or pencil, preferably with a retractable point so as not to mark up the braid or marudai.