This series of photo essays will document the preparation, construction, and set up of a simple swordsmith style kajiba (鍛冶場, forge building) from the ground up. The main inspiration for aesthetic, form, and technique is the humble Japanese inaka naya (納屋) style of a century ago.
The centerpiece of the kajiba is the forge and associated tools. From a central location the fuigo, forge, anvil, and water bucket are all within reach. In addition to these main items there is also a clay slurry bucket and an aku tray for tanren or forge welding as well as a straightening stump, cut off hardy tool, and water quench tank. Learn more about specific tools on the workshop tour page.
A step away is the western anvil set for standing height without leaving the forging pit. From floor level, the Japanese anvil is low enough for sakite style striking with the mukozuchi and the London pattern anvil is low enough for western style striking.
Views of the Kajiba
Racks and storage for tongs, hammers, kata (historical patterns), projects, and reclaimed steel surround the forging area. Elsewhere are stumps for working on, a post drill, a workbench and vise, a sen dai, screens for charcoal, windows for controlling light and air, and the charcoal storage bin.
The next steps will be to chop some charcoal and light the forge!
Gathering materials began in Fall 2018, site preparation in December 2018, the lumber was milled in the first week of January 2019, the frame assembled February 5th, and roofed February 7th. Yakisugi siding and tsuchikabe walls installed during March, and interior wall finishing in April. The goal is to have it operational by Summer 2019 minus a few finishing details.
Thanks to all who were involved in one way or another in helping facilitate this project, providing space, time, materials, assistance, advice, and encouragement.