How to Fix Japanese Amido

Even though it has been quite cold the last few days, summer is swiftly approaching, and with it come open windows and plenty of critters to take advantage of them and invade houses. In an old house like mine, insects can come in through all kinds of nooks and crannies – not to mention badly closing windows. That doesn’t mean I have to invite them in, however. So, it is always a good idea to keep the amido fly screens in good working order. Luckily, the process is quite easy – here is how it’s done.

Start with taking the amido out of the window. On the top sides of the amido are usually little guides with screws; once they are loosened, the amido can be pushed upwards and removed.

Lay the amido on the floor, outside on top. The actual screen is fastened with rubber tube all around the amido. Remove the tube (just find one end and pull it loose) and the screen material. Now is the perfect time to clean the amido.

From spring onwards, you can buy rolls of fly screen that are enough for several amido. Put the roll down on the amido and cut off as much as you need, plus some 5 cm extra or so. It’s a good idea to secure the screen to the amido with clothes pins or something similar to prevent it from moving and make the next step easier.

Now, put a new rubber tube into the groove all around the amido. This can be a bit tricky because the tube has to be pushed all the way in so the screen is not only secured, but also as taut as possible. Special tools are available for this, but if you’re careful not to tear the screen material, this can be done with the handle of a spoon or something similar. Make sure the tube is fastened carefully at the corners.

Finally, cut the protruding screen with a box cutter and put the amido back into the window. Congratulations – all done!

To be honest, I was quite apprehensive the first time I had to do this, but it was much easier than I had expected. In fact, the most difficult part was to get the amido out of and back into the window. I’m not sure if this is normal, or just due to my old house and its crooked windows…

Cutting the screen is also a quite messy affair, with lots of little pieces of screen ending up everywhere. Doing this job outside or on a plastic tarp makes the final cleaning much easier.

As I mentioned, buying the supplies is easy come spring/early summer. Screens come in grey and black and in different quantities, depending on how many amido there are to repair. While this is a personal choice, you must be careful to buy the correct diameter rubber tube. Too thick and it won’t fit, too thin and the screen will not stay in place (ask me how I know that…) It’s best to cut off a few centimeters of the old tube and take it with you when shopping. It may be possible to reuse the old tube, but over time, rubber becomes brittle, so it’s probably not the best idea; and the savings are minimal.

The screen material itself is also getting brittle over time and will break eventually (even without a cat jumping through it.) Yet, fixing amido is not something that needs to be done every year. Shoji are a different animal, however, but that’s another story.